11 January 2006

Burying the needle on the "shameless-o-meter"

In Louisville, Bush hosted a casual, town hall-type event reminiscent of his campaign stops. Bush paced, with microphone in hand, like a talk show host in front of signs that left no doubt about the administration's message of the day: "Winning the War on Terror."

After his opening remarks, Bush fielded about 10 questions from the audience of invited groups. White House press secretary Scott McClellan said the questions were not prescreened. Bush said no topics were off-limits, and even invited a question about Iran, but nobody asked one...

A 7-year-old boy's question — "How can people help on the war on terror?" — gave Bush an opening to score some political points against his critics and try to keep Democrats from using Iraq as an issue in this year's midterm elections.

"It's one thing to have a philosophical difference — and I can understand people being abhorrent about war. War is terrible," Bush said. "But one way people can help as we're coming down the pike in the 2006 elections is remember the effect that rhetoric can have on our troops in harm's way, and the effect that rhetoric can have in emboldening or weakening an enemy."

Let's do the rundown, shall we?

Delusionally upbeat signage? Check.

Guaranteed friendly audience? Check.

"Man of the people" routine? Check.

Servicemen/women windowdressing? Nowhere to be seen. Damn...but what's this?

Small patriotic child? Aww, yeah...Check.

Dissent hurts troops/aids enemy? Check and check.

I'll give him this, El Presidente was on his game, today. The confluence of propagana elements is quite impressive if you think about it; a veritable "perfect storm" of bullshit. Just yesterday, Bush assailed the "partisan critics who claim that we acted in Iraq because of oil, or because of Israel, or because we misled the American people," seamlessly equating Big Oil/Zionist conspiracies with the legitimate questions about intelligence (and the increasing mountains of evidence they're based upon). He scolded opponents for being "irresponsible," and "bringing comfort to our enemies." And now we just happen to have a wide-eyed, apple-cheeked youngster asking him (imploringly), "Please, Mr. Preznit, what can all of us do to help win the war on terror?"

Absolutely nauseous.

But nothing, nothing was prescreened, according to Spinnin' Scottie. Sorry, but going back well before the election, the next detail to be left to chance at a public presidential appearance will be the first. Despite that, the press tries to validate McClellan's empty assurances by pointing out that the president elicited comments about Iran.


How, exactly, is his willingness to address a situation that's (for once) proving itself worthy of his sabre-rattling, a sign of Bush working without a net? For all one has to do with the other, they could've just as easily said, "no topics were off-limits, Bush was even wearing his blue tie." If anything, referencing Iran was soliciting a line of questioning that's just begging for the sort of simple-minded, talking-point sloganeering that El Presidente both adores and, worse, considers to be indistiguishable from "policy."

A cardboard photo-op for a cardboard president.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...