Actor and author Harry Shearer was in town last week promoting his upcoming documentary, The Big Uneasy, about Hurricane Katrina—less a natural disaster than one created by the Army Corps of Engineers. During an interview with the Washington Post's Dan Zak, Shearer talks about his obsession with Richard Nixon (the actor makes pilgrimages to the archives to listen to the tapes):

“[Nixon is] the ultimate American icon in a way, a totally self-made man who then takes care of the other half and destroys himself,” Shearer says. “I certainly think he set a high bar for conniving and inserting the political into every aspect of the government process, and I think that’s very much with us today.”

When Zak asks him to elaborate, Shearer "offers a depressing example":

Last year he was complaining publicly about the Obama administration’s lack of response to whistleblower allegations and to the Army Corps’s decision to opt for a technically inferior levee reconstruction plan (detailed in the film).

“I will tell you flat-out—without using the man’s name—that somebody who’s arguably quite knowledgeable about Washington said to me, ‘[David] Axelrod and [Rahm] Emanuel don’t want to do anything to help New Orleans,’ ” he says gravely, his voice lowering, about Obama’s senior adviser and former chief of staff. “ ‘That just makes [Louisiana Gov.] Bobby Jindal look good.’ ... You can’t get more Nixonian than that. ”

Indeed. But what I wonder is, when Shearer goes through airport security and if the metal detector goes off, well, do people still make zucchini jokes?

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