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David B.

Livingstone

 

 

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December 21, 2005
Tricky Dick Would Feel Right At Home
 
What do you know? It turns out that George W. Bush has been making his enemies list and checking it twice, empowering his flying monkeys in the FBI and NSA to spy on members of the long-suffering American peasantry without going to all the bother of getting the pesky court-ordered warrants that the law mandates. Dangerous terra-ist threats such as Quaker peace groups, vegan organizations and llama fur protesters have been put on notice: Constitutional protections no longer apply to you, and Big Brother George is watching. And - irony of ironies - who should blow the whistle but the New York Times?
 
Yes, in a curious paroxysm of truth telling, Judy Miller's Times - Bush's old accomplice in launching a certain little Mideast war that has thus far resulted in roughly 130,000 dead - has had its Come-To-Jesus conversion to journalistic integrity, evidently attempting to atone for its WMD-touting sins. And right around the holiday season, when one might expect them to be sending check-stuffed Christmas cards to the likes of Armstrong Williams and Jayson Blair, were their past displays of "ethics" a reliable roadmap to their current behavior.
 
Whatever. The battered, tattered all-the-news-that-fits Times has dug itself a deep hole that it now has to claw its way out of, if it is to regain a whiff of its long-lost credibility. Nice that they're not lying for the moment, I suppose. But a good lie is so much more entertaining than the boring old truth.
 
Good thing we've still got Dear Leader pulling his best Pinocchios for us. The news cycle would be ever so drab without his belligerent, stammering defensive forays into the reality distortion field.
 
In a starkly comic reprise of the golden ages of Cointelpro, Nixon's enemies list and McCarthyism all at once, Bush has spent the final farthings of both his political capital and personal credibility by a) authorizing illegal spying on American citizens, then b) lying about it, then c) inventing whole-cloth constitutional and legal justifications for a transparently impeachable offense. Lies piled upon lies, all served up atop a heaping helping of Nixonian dirty tricks. And live on national television, too.
 
Alternating between a belligerent bellow and a wounded-goat bleat, Bush blundered through a juvenile display of denial, blame-shifting, hypocrisy and adolescent bellicosity that was mistakenly touted as a press conference. While Bush sycophants and handlers such as Condi Rice and Alberto Gonzales dispersed far and wide to preach the curious evangel that it was righteous, necessary and responsible for their boss to subvert the constitution in order to save it, a flustered and frequently visibly angry Bush not only refused to atone for his crime, but publicly resolved to repeat it. All that was missing were the words "I am not a crook."
 
The whole sickly ballet of denial, diversion and deception seems to have been plucked whole from the dark ages of the early 1970s and deposited square into December 2005 for an encore performance. Were it not for the fact that Bob Woodward has gone over to the Dark Side in the intervening years, it could be 1974 all over again. Here we have a president and an administration packed to the gills with imperial hubris, utterly convinced of their own divine rectitude even as they stumble through the wreckage wrought by five years of Republican lying, cronyism and corruption. Tom DeLay's heading for the docket; Duke Cunningham's heading for prison; administration acolytes such as Bill Frist and Conrad Burns are frantically swatting away swarms of investigators swirling about them like wasps.
 
Meanwhile, closer to home, Jack Abramoff's slipping beneath the waves, threatening to drag Karl Rove and an army of minor congressmen and bought-and-paid-for Bush-supporting pundits along with him. All this at the same time as the Iraq debacle emerges as the mother of all quagmires. Wouldn't Tricky Dick feel right at home?
 
The five years of fury, bluster and tales told by idiots that have marked the current presidency now seem to be winding towards an inevitable and bitter end. Whatever hope George W. Bush ever had of a viable second term has dissipated like a white phosphorous cloud, and the administration has taken to its battle stations, hurling bogus accusations, indignant denials and platitudes in the no-hoper's endgame of attempting to stave off inevitable collapse. If precedent holds true, the next phases should consist of resignations, indictments and a circular firing squad of blame-around-the-rosy wherein administration flunkies and congressional animals race each other do their best to distance themselves from Bush�s sinking ship.
 
It ought to be recalled that in the end, it wasn't his failed war or his cronies' - specifically, his vice president's - corruption that led to Nixon's unraveling; it was spying and lying. It's an outcome that George W. Bush seems determined to repeat.
 
Mr. Bush, what did you know, and when did you know it?

 

2005 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.

 

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