Doublespeak And Yackity-Yack
by Susan Sigandres
You know what I like about George W. Bush? Nothing. Not that
I've tried very hard to find something positive about the
guy, mind you. I'm fed up with futile activities, like voting
and looking to our corporate-owned right wing "press" for
real information. Finding any redeeming quality whatsoever
in W is doomed before I even start the search.
Let me tell you who I think does have redeeming qualities,
though. Ari Fleischer. Now, before anyone starts to argue,
let me state my reasons. To start with, you've just got to
love the fact that he wore a Yankee hat in Midland, Texas.
That's a ballsy move. Of course it would be even ballsier
if he wore his Yankee hat in New York City because he might
just get throttled. Well, at least Ari shows some signs that
he's got spunk, if not guts. It makes me wonder if he would
actually have gone off to fight for this country if there
had been a war when he came of age. Then at least the junta
would have a veteran to call its own.
Next, you have to admit that at least Fleischer brings some
personality to W's otherwise dull-as-dishwater crew. Relatively
speaking, he's a veritable spark of life that leaves those
of us who watch his news conferences on C-Span absolutely
riveted. This is especially true if you turn off the volume
and watch his facial expressions closely - sometimes they
I foresee a great future for Ari in front of the camera.
He just might be the only one worthy of stepping into the
host role of one of the liveliest shows ever on television
- Firing Line. Here's something that will send chills up your
spine: Imagine William F. Buckley interviewing Ari Fleischer
for an entire hour. Now imagine that the only alternative
channels on TV for you to watch are corporate-owned right-wing
propaganda outlets. Now that would truly be a sign of big
trouble for our nation.
Another thing about Fleischer: You cannot deny that he is
a man who totally believes in his principles. He comes from
a family of middle class Democrats. Try to imagine just how
inspiring Ari finds W to have abandoned his own family's values
to take up W's. But there's more: Ari comes from a Jewish
family and now he's a minion of a family that found the road
to riches by financing Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich. Wow!
Despite the beliefs his parents tried to teach him and the
fact that he's alive only because his recent ancestors were
lucky to escape the gas chambers is undeniable proof that
Ari really does believe in W.
Now consider another potentially redeeming quality: His acting
ability. While the GOP can claim success in turning such bastions
of the thespian craft as Ronald Reagan and Fred Thompson into
semi-functional politicos, never before has the GOP attempted
to turn a political operative into an actor. This is ambitious
indeed. Anyone who truly appreciates the difficulty of making
fiction believable will certainly appreciate the challenge
confronting Ari. Goodness knows, the White House Office of
Damage Control (ODC) has given him a very diverse array of
scripts from which to read at his news conferences.
First there was innuendo - convince people that there was
damage done by departing White House staffers. Then, when
you get caught in the lie, get indignant and say that you'll
compile a list of transgressions by asking unnamed members
of your own staff to recall the "damage" five months after
it didn't happen. That's a tough one, to be fair. And Ari
failed miserably. But give him a break, he's been under a
lot of stress lately.
All in a matter of days, poor Ari had to express shock, then
disappointment, then outrage at Jim Jeffords' "sudden" abandonment
of the party. It's not so easy to convince everyone that the
ODC is on top of things when a respected Senate veteran bolts
from your party for the express purpose of disassociating
himself from your boss and the rest of the rabid right now
at the GOP's helm and who are your boss's only friends.
Also, Ari had to pretend that his master, W, was simply delighted
to invite Senate Majority Leader Daschle to the White House
for a frank, "bipartisan" discussion of how the government's
agenda will be reshuffled. As if that wasn't enough, Ari also
had to threaten the press outright in an effort to discourage
stories about the ongoing struggle W's kids are having with
alcohol and pot.
This is truly a broad range of content for Ari to deliver.
And then of course, he?s got an almost insurmountable credibility
challenge to overcome, thanks to Jake Tapper. In a now frequently
quoted line from the book Down and Dirty: The Plot to Steal
the Presidency, Tapper noted that Fleischer has "an on again,
off again relationship with the truth."