Potemkin on the Potomac
The president sure has given me a lot of free time lately. I used to spend endless hours poring over newspapers and newsmagazines or sit scrunch-eyed in front of the television trying desperately to make sense of his mangled syntax while futilely attempting to decipher what in the hell he thought his policies were supposed to be. After a while, it became a brain-teaser game, a sort of Sudoku with paragraphs instead of numbers -- Let’s see, lie, lie, conflation, wrong info, nonsense, more lies.
From day one when I watched Colin Powell at the UN pulling carefully weaseled words out of his hat, I knew the Iraq war was a ginned-up deal, and everything I have read since only confirms that conclusion. From there, the administration’s lies and conflations were only outpaced by blind ideology and/or embarrassing incompetence. Now, cronyism has joined bungling to produce what some pundits are calling An Administration of Hacks.
And not only hacks, but Hacks on the Take. While our soldiers continue to die on a grim, false-premised fool’s errand, we get to watch the Tom DeLays and Bill Frists and the President’s Rovian Brains, scampering one step ahead of the grand juries and SEC examiners, covering their tracks as they go, money and golf junkets flying from their pockets, sleazy deal-makers-for-cash and king-makers-for-power, tumbling from office like rats from a basket, while victims of Katrina who go to file for bankruptcy will soon find, to their dismay, that these paragons of governmental virtue have rewritten the bankruptcy laws in the back room with the credit industry boys, so they’ll soon be getting a financial hosing in additiona to the Biblical floods they’ve already survived.
And (caught on tape) with a rehearsed, staged, scripted “spontaneous” press conference with the troops, it’s Gregori Potemkin, Redux. Only instead of building whole gussied-up, false-fronted phony villages to fool and mislead Catherine the Great on her tour of Ukraine and Crimea, this time the Phony George spectacle is intended to fool the American people.
And now comes Harriet Miers. President Bush nominated her for the Supreme Court because he thinks she’s the most qualified person in the country. She in turn, thinks he’s the most brilliant man she’s ever met. It’s a marriage made in heaven – low expectations, shameless cronyism, blind loyalty, insultingly slim qualifications, and the Peter Principle all rolled into one -- Our Hackocracy at work. Teapot Dome, anyone?
Which is why I’m able to save so much time now. The war in Iraq? Turn the page. Story on some new Bush program? Blah-blah-blah, sure, right, whatever, more lies, turn the page. Even the heartwarming thought of Tom DeLay doing the perp-walk holds little interest because the American People have curiously elected the “Moral Accountability Crowd” then somewhere along the way discarded the very notion of accountability altogether. Lie to them and they’ll re-elect you. Sell them out to the highest corporate bidder and they’ll also re-elect you. Even name a street in your hometown in your honor.
The Sept 25th Nation had a cover story called: “After the Flood: The Reckoning,” which prompted my letter to the editor: “Bwa-hahah. What reckoning? Bush and all his cronies will all leave office and head for highly lucrative jobs working for their masters on K-street, not a single member of the “Moral Values/Accountability Crowd” will be held responsible for war crimes, war profiteering, theft, mismanagement, grotesque incompetence, looting the public treasury, criminal negligence. The right-wing spin machine will declare a smiley-faced “Mission Accomplished” and the electorate will re-elect any politician who promises to stop gay marriage and to reinstate prayer in the schools. Reckoning, indeed.”
And so we get what we deserve, the Karmic wheel’s tumbling weight grinding down on the heads of the just and unjust alike. It's never a pretty sight, but Karmic wheels do have one benefit: Once started, you don’t have to waste time watching them. Which is why I now have time to leave everyone to heaven and get on to the important stuff, like taking The Mighty Finn MacCool for a walk on these lovely crisp October mornings.
That, and speculating on just how long it will be before We The People wake up to what we have allowed ourselves to become and begin the hard work of setting things right.
Blog note: The day after this column ran in the Bay News, Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination. So, was this whole deal some kind of political ploy? A Wag the Dog distraction? A Bushie/Rovian joke? What kind of man would deliberately put an unqualified “loyal friend” in a meat grinder knowing, in advance, they’d get publicly humiliated, then eaten alive? (The only twist here is Miers was eaten alive by her own party.) If Roberts said a Supreme should be “humble” before the law, what allowed Miers to step into the meat grinder – delusional ego, inflated self-worth, complete ignorance of the job qualifications, masochistic devotion? Is the White House now running a new version of The Gong Show? Ah, just when I think these boys can't get any more silly, they launch into one more off-key chorus -- farce to the back rows.