Frank Rich: The Press Finds a New Way Forward
The Bush administration has always relied on the kindness of reporters. Lately, however, there are signs that the 4th Estate has had enough. I refer you to Sunday's column by Frank Rich, entitled "Lying Like It's 2003." The piece breaks down the Bush administration's monumental mendacity, distinguishing between the latest lies and the same old pile of bullshit they've been shoveling for years. Sounds like we're finally getting past the overly polite stage and onto something with a little more edge.
The existence of the column is a positive sign, and I wish I could link to it, but it's a paid service of the New York Times. Here's some choice sentences from the piece: "This White House gang is so practiced in lying with a straight face that it never thinks twice about recycling its greatest hits." "This time we must do what too few did the first time: call the White House on its lies." "The most important lies to watch for now are the new ones being reiterated daily by the administration’s top brass, from Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney on down."
At some point, America is really going to wake up on this. We lost over 20 soldiers yesterday and we're a couple of days away from the State of the Union speech. The cynical part of floating this new plan in Iraq is that it's not really a new plan. It's just classic Bush - spin your way through with arrogance and deception and then go on the road to market it. Switch from the phony Washington teleprompter voice to the phony "just folks" voice on the road, but keep shoveling.
To be fair, there are some minor changes involving working with an Iraqi general, but that only screws up the command structure and puts our people in worse danger. It's still important to note that sometimes bad spin is also accompanied by bad military planning. This is not all just words, but the changes are primarily an illusion. Yes, more troops will be going - and it's all too real for them - but the plan afterwards is pretty much the same. To call it a surge is a marketing ploy like "Now with added brighteners" on your laundry detergent.
The New Way Forward is primarily just a surge in the amount of bullshit coming from the President's lips - that's all. The retired generals have used phrases like "a fool's errand." Gee, I wonder what they meant by that? Who are they calling a fool here? Hint: It's not the soldiers who have to die trying to enact this.
No, in this case, the fool in question is our esteemed leader - but not to worry: President Bush still believes deeply in his power to charm his way out of trouble. It's a false conceit fueled in childhood by a well-connected Dad who bailed young George out repeatedly. Most kids would understand that, but George somehow felt it was a power he possessed himself. He still goes on "60 Minutes" grinning like he's on a date, and tries to sweet-talk the public into buying the sincerity of his jive. It is an act that is wearing out, and I saw one recent poll where he is now more unpopular than Cheney, himself.
Watching this latest "plan" come apart could be the final stage when the American People say "Enough!" I heard Imus ask Joe Lieberman what comes next after this doesn't work and all Joe would say is, "Let's hope and pray that it does." Of course, as Jon Stewart pointed out, this surge in troops is a return to numbers that we already had there in the past, so the plan is not new, and has already not worked once before.
Here's another Frank Rich line: "The latest lies are custom-made to prop up the new “way forward” that is anything but." Clearly we're past the Judith Miller stage at the Times. Of course, there are places where most White House spin still goes unchallenged. When asked by the Bush accomplices at FOX news why the generals on the ground were overruled on this, Cheney got his little phony macho swerve on and said, "“I don’t think we’ve overruled the commanders.” Of course, the network accepted the answer.
It's easy to predict FOX - easier everyday - but reporters in general are still being way too kind when they address the White House. It's tragic and disgraceful - the news services are supposed to protect the public from our leaders, and it's not happening. Otherwise, President Bush would lose his job. In reality, this stiuation is so far out of control that we'd be doing President Bush an immense favor to impeach him and send him back to Crawford, Texas for good. There he can live out the rest of his days, clearing brush, and lying gently to any prairie dogs that will listen.