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Unclear on the Concept
April 14, 2004
By punpirate

I didn't think that the Bushies could get much dumber, but Condoleezza Rice's testimony last Thursday, and its Saturday aftermath, have proved that these people are simply orbiting way farther out than beyond the planet Clueless.

These are the adults? These are the people who were to bring responsibility back to Washington, DC? Not only does the best and the brightest of the White House (and does that moniker ever reflect on Bush) blurt out the name of a classified memo refuting everything she's said about 9/11 heretofore, but the daily briefing memo is released on Saturday night, only to name the plotters, the means by which they intend to attack U.S. interests and which cities are in their targets.

The White House has become famous for releasing news on weekend nights which distracts from its main goal - re-election of Cheney, er, Bush. They outdid themselves this time, timing the release of the memo for fifteen minutes before the nightly news on a Saturday before Easter Sunday, when both Bush and Blair are out of town on vacation, and then shooting a copy to Fox News a bit before they got it to everyone else. Reagan had jellybeans on his desk. These guys must have jars of Prozac and gel-coated pond scum on theirs.

Now, who's unclear on the concept? Not the White House. They have dissembling by press conference, prevarication through misinformation, subterfuge by photo-op and purely partisan lying down to a fine science. They think that works - and it does, on the part of the population that simply won't think for themselves.

The Bush administration counts on both the press and their ardent supporters to spread the word for them. They have lots of help from a menagerie of think tanks, PR agencies and sympathetic pundits.

When the hated liberals complain of the destruction of the environment, the right haw-haws about the idiocy of protecting the spotted owl and laughs. When the analysts say that 43% of Bush's 2001 tax cut will go to the top 1% of the population and progressives decry this inequity, the minions of the right shout, "Don't vote for Kerry - he'll raise your taxes by $800 billion." When the left marches in the streets against an unjustified and thoroughly stupid war, the media declaims them as "unpatriotic."

When the evidence is near-overwhelming that the Bushies dropped the ball on the worst domestic terrorist attack in the nation's history, the right dredges up everyone they can to sit in front of the television cameras and repeat the White House line. When the administration outs a CIA agent to strike back at a former ambassador perceived as disloyal to their goal (re-electing Cheney, er, Bush), the White House political affairs officer, Karl Rove, says, "his wife is fair game." As if it were a game.

And a certain portion of the public listens to this and thinks of it all as right and proper. Who's unclear on the concept?

Not since the days of Tailgunner Joe McCarthy has the epithet, "communist," been bandied about so freely. Not since the right wing has gotten their butts in the saddle of the media hobby horse has the term, "liberal," been conceived of as an epithet. Even the very notion of conservatism has been perverted by years of Republican pandering to the worst in society.

Not since the days of Nixon has a group of people so consistently lied to obtain the goal of re-election, so twisted the government to its own ends, in this case, to further the aims of wealthy contributors of all stripes. And roughly half the people, if the polls are any indication, still think Bush is doing a good job. They are demonstrably hurt by his practices - they drink the water in this country, they breathe the air, they often go without affordable health care, they live in communities where young men and women who have left for Iraq, intact, have not come back that way, where gas prices are going up and their salaries are not, where their jobs have dissolved or departed for shores known and unknown, where they, often unbeknownst to them, support organizations which have only the interests of the rich at heart.

Unclear on the concept? Yes. But they are, often, because they've been deluded by the wealthy right's onslaught on common sense, decency and the country's ingrained sense of fair play. The country is divided, now, because this administration and its right-wing funders have understood a basic principle of politics - divide and conquer. Shout that dissent is unpatriotic, environmentalism is stupid and frivolous, that failure to support Bush in time of war is traitorous, and the timid and the unthinking will agree. But, it's not entirely their fault. They may be sheep, but, their shepherd is the wolf.

The Bush administration had a choice. They could have led this nation honestly and honorably. They did not. They chose to use government for private interests - their own and those of their wealthy friends and constituents. Condoleezza Rice proved that this past Thursday. BBC cameras were in the hearing room on Thursday, and when they zoomed in, her hands shook continuously as she testified. Her voice quavered, possibly in anger, possibly with guilt. Nevertheless, she seems to be not a particularly accomplished liar.

Condoleeza Rice, perhaps more definitively than any other official appearing publicly in the last three years, had the opportunity to defend the Constitution and the welfare of all the people of the country whom she was obligated by oath to serve, by telling the unreserved truth. She chose not to. She chose instead to defend the people who have brought us to this sad state - her bosses. Who's unclear on the concept?

punpirate is a New Mexico writer who believes it's one thing to have your head up your ass, but that it's quite another to admire the view.

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