Let me get this straight: a decade and half ago the Evil Empire, the odds-on favorite to be the idiots who pushed The Button, just packed up the Volga, took a chunk of The Berlin Wall for a souvenir, and got teaching jobs at the Kennedy School of Government?

I don’t think so.

They didn’t disappear; they hunkered down, they went underground, like the ants in THEM. They waited, read People, watched Oprah, they understood times change and they’d have to change with them — no more bad suits and shoe pounding.

When the time was right, at the close of the millennium when the world was worried about Y2K and ending up like characters in a Dickens novel, they came back — with a brand neo-look.

They call themselves Conservatives, neo-Cons, but they’re not Conservatives, not even close.

They are the new Communists.

Today’s ‘Conservatives’ — Commservatives — may occasionally talk the talk, but Jesus, Javitz, and Buckley, they look like the Politburo to me.

I realize most of our Commisars think the French suck and want nothing to do with them, what with their fried potatoes and their fancy language, but come on, laissez-faire doesn’t mean eminent domain, even to a C student like our glorious leader.

As for limited government, the only limit this government has is FEMA.

Yes, we have lower taxes … well, I don’t, but Minister for Halliburton Cheney sure caught a break.

Our army is certainly strong, in spite of underfunding and underecruitment, and rumor has it we’re going to defend our interests in Iran next … then it’s on to France. (It’s not foreign intervention, if the Premier says it’s not.)

Every time I read the paper or turn on the TV, I see apparatchiks (Soviet nostalgia for ‘corrupt bureaucrat’) doing the ‘perp’ walk, (except on Fox, where the lead is “Jack Abramoff Saves the American Fedora Industry”). There are stories about domestic spying, wars of choice, torture of prisoners, Caribbean gulags, regulation of TV and radio content, insulated leadership … I’m getting dizzy.

My brother, a paranoid old lefty, is certain Uncle George didn’t win the first election and stole the second one. He once compared the sittin’ Premier to Stalin, which, at the time, I thought a bit much, but — and any of you conspiracy theorists jump in — why make Condoleezza Rice, an expert in Soviet Affairs, head of the KGB (NSA, sorry) then Secretary of State, a good decade after the Soviet Union fell? The only person she knows who speaks Russian is the guy who gets her sable coats at cost.

I’m old, not Strom Thurmond old (I haven’t sold my soul to the devil yet — but I’m a writer, so I’m keeping the option open), but old enough to remember the Soviet Union forcing its will on its own citizens and anyone else who happened to be in the neighborhood. The idea of “the loyal opposition” was unheard of back in the U.S.S.R. — you’re either against the terrorists or you’re for them. It’s much easier to rule when you ignore everyone who disagrees with you, and you can’t get things done listening to crackpots and Democrats.

During the Cold War the threat of thermo-nuclear annihilation got the big play, but what still resonates today are the faces of a people, of nations of peoples, who weren’t heard, weren’t considered, weren’t asked — who were told.

Comrades, it isn’t time to get in line for shoes or toilet paper, but you may want to have a bottle of home-brewed vodka nearby, because in the NeoCom version of America, Right is always right, even when it’s wrong.

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