GOP Heavies Work the "O.J. Dodge"
September 13, 2005
Satire by Bernard Weiner, The
to readers: The following transcript of a conversation among political
leaders -- one imagines the room was bugged -- was placed through
our mail slot yesterday by a group calling itself the Bush-Liberation
Front. We can't verify the authenticity of the organization or the
document, but, in a curious sort of way, it passes the smell test.
See what you think.
I told you, it works like a charm every time. Of course, it requires
a fairly dumbed-down populace to help make it work. But having that
built-in base of die-hard conservatives, a good many of them fundamentalist
Christians who believe and do whatever we tell them, makes it fairly
I can vouch for that. I mean, look at the trouble I was in. Got
caught red-handed making sexual moves on a good many attractive
young ladies, and my Democrat opponents were calling for me to drop
out of the race as a sexual predator, insensitive to women. But
I used the ultimate spin moves I learned from you, Karl, as well
as how a good many televangelists wormed their way out of their
scandals. My base stayed with me, no problem.
You were always a quick learner, Arnold, I can tell you that. You
know the drill. First, you issue a vague, generic apology that admits
to nothing specific, but makes you seem like you're taking responsibility
for your actions. You know, something like: "If I have offended
anybody by my poor behavior, I sincerely apologize. It certainly
wasn't my intent....blah, blah, blah."
Then you bring out the stealth solution that hasn't failed us
yet: You say you're going to set up an investigatory panel to check
into all these allegations -- it's just a vague promise, with nobody
named to the probe, and always in the future tense. The usual result
of you promising to investigate yourself -- what we in the trade
call “the O.J. Dodge” -- is that somehow the air in the bad-press
balloon escapes and the issue disappears from the front pages and
TV newscasts. Later, after the election, your supposed investigation
simply disappears -- after all, the people elected you, scandal
or no scandal -- or a spokesman announces that you've been exonerated.
I have an additional way to take the pressure off me. I can always
get our GOP lapdogs in Congress to set up an “official investigation"
that will do nothing but clear me and shift the blame somewhere
else -- maybe to Bill Clinton or at least to Democrats in general,
or, if we're not that lucky, we throw a low-level flunky overboard
to take the rap. You're right: Doing any or all of these approaches
deflates the issue in the media, the public is fooled into believing
there really are going to be deep, serious investigations into what
went wrong, and meanwhile, we escape untouched. Is this a great
country, or what?
If things get too hot and you wind up being sued in court, you simply
follow Uncle Dick's Postpone Rulebook, as I like to call it. That's
what I did with my supposed "secret energy panel" brouhaha. You
work the issue all the way through the courts for years, delaying,
delaying until some appeals court or other, with judges you appointed,
finds in your favor. Go fuck yourself, you liberal pansies!-- I
love saying that. God, this country is wonderful!
It was a bit trickier with the Katrina fallout, I must admit. We
took some really nasty hits on that one, mainly because conservative
Republicans and rightwing media joined in to bash us on our lack
of timely compassion for the victims of the New Orleans flood. Once
we all returned from our vacations, we ratcheted up our team and
came up with solutions. Trouble was, we were fighting the TV images
the public had seen for nearly a week on how FEMA and the White
House were late and botched the situation royally. We found we had
to go from Plan B to Plan C really quickly.
For Plan B, first we sent the Prez to the area for photo ops --
of course, not in downtown New Orleans; couldn’t risk photos of
poor black people yelling at him. So we did the next best thing:
We got the Prez with some pickaninnies and their mommas -- put his
arm around them, got the girls laughing, expressing his compassion,
that sort of media stuff. Then, we made sure no major food items
got distributed until the Prez arrived, thus making him a man of
action who gets things done. When all that didn't really defuse
our bad image, we went to Plan C.
We dispersed the flood victims all over the country, thus guaranteeing
that they wouldn't be able to organize any protests anywhere en
masse. Then we announced that we were going to give those lazy welfare
bastards $2000 vouchers per family, to buy essentials -- booze or
crack, most likely. Expensive, but we looked generous, caring, warm
-- anything to counter those pictures of what happened while Brown
at FEMA, and we in the White House, were spinning our wheels trying
to figure out how to gear up. (Later, of course, we canceled the
Then we sent out the emergency spin points to our radio talk-show
friends, freepers and conservative pundits, blaming the New Orleans
Dem mayor and the Dem governor of Louisiana, and reminding our folks
to talk always about the anarchy and violence that ensued in the
neighborhoods of Those People. The son of Willie Horton, I like
to call the move. We also found a way to work Bill Clinton into
the equation: We blamed him for the faulty levees.
Worked like a charm, Karl. The visual images changed from floating
dead bodies in the Mississippi to U.S. soldiers distributing supplies.
The talk shifted from Bush and FEMA to frothing Democrats playing
the Blame Game. Didn't matter if it wasn't true or only half true
(with us owning the other half of the responsibility); the idea
was to get the Prez off the hot seat by pounding our version of
events a hundred times a day. As Rush reminds us, you keep doing
that long enough, hard enough, and sooner or later it becomes the
truth. I'm still governor, aren't I? It works, Karl, just like you
Need I remind you guys that your approval numbers are way low? Were
it not for our tech-savvy friends out there, we couldn't win an
election for dogcatcher right now, and neither could you, Arnold.
Somewhere between election day 2004 and now, the public seems to
have figured out something. Our job is to make them forget the facts,
and alter those negative feelings and images; we need to frighten
the hell out of them, make them dependent on us as the authority
figures who can make them feel better, and regain our old momentum.
If it takes cracking some heads, or rounding up critical types for
're-education' in summer camps, we'll do it.
Hey, your mention of "camps" just reminded me that you three guys
have something important in common. You all had relatives with ties
to the Third Reich. Karl, your grandfather, a high-up Party man,
helped plan the Birkenau death camp; your father, Arnold, volunteered
for the Nazi S.A. in Austria and worked his way fairly high up in
the officer corps; and your industrialist great-grandfather, Mr.
President, helped finance the Nazi Party from here in America, and
your grandfather carried on the tradition -- actually, to the point
where the U.S. government shut down his German money-laundering
operation in 1942. I’m really impressed with how you guys managed
to spin your way out of all that.
Those Nazis were cruel, inhuman butchers.
Yes, they were.
Still, despite all that, they were masters of societal manipulation,
propaganda and knew how to cleverly destroy their opponents politically.
I've done my research and my reading, and have found much that is
useful for my work. We got rid of the cruelty and anti-Semitism
(well, not quite: Arabs are Semites), and kept what was useful from
their effective methods. Madison Avenue has worked that side of
the street for years, why not us?
My two favorites always have been their use of the Big Lie Technique
and their aggressive policy of "preventive war" -- attacking a potential
enemy in advance of any real threat. Nothing like the old favorites.
I don't have your Third Reich connections, but we neo-conservatives
consider ourselves to be carrying out the muscular, aggressive theories
and policies of Leo Strauss -- also Ariel Sharon's favorite philosopher,
even if he was German.
I guess my dad was a Straussian, without knowing it: He always liked
confronting potential critics threateningly; he loved to watch them
cower in the face of overwhelming power. Who knows? Maybe that's
why I went into bodybuilding and adventure movies. It’s so American!
I love how you guys took the concept of "blitzkrieg" and morphed
it into "shock&awe," or "preventive" war into "pre-emptive" war.
And we're still in Iraq, as we speak. Works every time.
Did you like what I did with the huge "W" banners at the election-night
celebration? Nothing overt, but just enough borrowed from the '36
Nurenberg Rally to make a subliminal impact. Damn, but those guys
knew how to do ritual on a grand scale, how to build emotion-inducing
stage sets and flags and banners, and how hungry ordinary citizens
are to be part of something bigger and nastier and more successful
than themselves. Outright masters! Where’s Leni Riefenstahl now
that we need her?
Then you should love what we're doing in the post-Katrina Gulf
States, especially in New Orleans. It's like a grand rehearsal in
case, down the line, we need to use FEMA to round up our enemies,
disarm them of their guns, move them around the country to our own
free-housing compounds. I mean, there could be a rebellion in the
streets if and when we bomb or invade another Mideast country, or
if impeachment looks like a real possibility and we have to get
creative. We need to be prepared.
"Free-housing compounds." I love that one, Turd Blossom!
Glad someone appreciates my sense of humor; thank you, Mr. President.
On the other hand, I thought Michael Brown was the perfect patsy
to follow our future orders as head of FEMA; but the guy was so
clueless, he blew it big time in New Orleans and dug a huge political
hole for us to climb out of. But we'll do it. I just hope I have
enough time before that reckless Patrick Fitzgerald guy lowers the
indictment boom on us. That turncoat! But I think I can fix that
too; "national security" requires he back off. I think he's getting
the message. The Boy Genius rides again.
But we're going to have to do a lot of education and spinning
to conceal the true nature of FEMA. Most people think of it as the
nation's disaster agency. But as more and more attention gets focused
on it, there's the risk of its true nature getting out -- that its
more covert function is that of an invisible government, an enforcement
agency beholden to the President that is above and outside the law.
All the more reason to restrict press access to information in New
Orleans and environs. Time to move on, get our nominees onto the
Supreme Court, no looking backwards, no Blame Game -- mainly 'cause
we'd get blamed for sure.
What we need right now is for something happening in the world that
would focus the public's attention elsewhere. Are the Israelis about
to bomb the Iran nuke reactor yet? Any hints of an impending al-Qaida
attack in the U.S.? Golden Gate Bridge? Sears Tower? More anthrax
I think I'll go re-read the chapter on the Reichstag Fire.
Bernard Weiner, co-editor of Crisis
Papers.org, has written numerous satires
and fantasies about the Bush Administration. A Ph.D. in government
& international relations, he has taught at various universities
and was a writer-editor with the San Francisco Chronicle. To comment,
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