Schmucks unlimited

By BARRY CRIMMINS  |  April 5, 2006

Bush’s emboldened approach to the media doesn’t just involve press conferences. It also encompasses scapegoating reporters for not telling any of the “good stories” from Iraq. Get that pile of corpses out of the frame — I want a shot of the puppy!

You know who really pushes good news from Iraq? American soldiers. Because they want to spare their families the grim truth. So they send e-mails and make small talk on the phone that paints a positive picture for their loved ones.

Bush uses families of soldiers — people with a vested interest in believing the best possible story — as patsies at his events. They rise and testify, “My son is in Iraq and he says things are going fine over there.” But anyone who has known war or warriors knows that loved ones inevitably receive reassurances from their soldier sons and daughters no matter how dire the circumstances. Dear Mom, They are treating us well here at Andersonville . . .

There may be more such encouraging mail. According to British media reports, Bush and Tony Blair have all but signed off on an attack on Iran. Considering their abject failure in Iraq, this agreement is so tasteless it should be commemorated as the Carnaby Street Memo.

A shameless ploy
Bush has finally answered calls for fresh blood at the White House (always a dangerous gambit when Cheney’s around) by replacing his chief of staff Andrew Card (who lives on in infamy for his inability to truncate the reading of the aforementioned My Pet Goat saga) with his director of management and budget, Joshua Bolten, the political equivalent of rotating blown-out tires on a totaled car. The American people don’t want a new chief of staff; they want a new chief of state. Now calls for press secretary Scott McClellan’s job are circulating. Kill the messenger.

At the rotten core of Bush’s support is the Christian Right. As with any cult that cannot withstand scrutiny, it is quick to claim that it is being persecuted. So rather than debate inane beliefs concerning evolution, its members have declared pre-emptive war on themselves. Recently, a reactionary radio commentator convened a two-day fringe fest in Washington on the “War on Christians and the Values Voters in 2006.” Apparently, they are value voters because, due to the divine providence of Diebold and some miraculously talking moneybags, they get far more representation than they deserve. There will be a second collection today to refit the bell tower with turrets.

It’s high time to try something — anything — to stop this runaway Humvee of a nation. This may involve personal sacrifice, even my own. The hokiest, most obvious ploy a political satirist can make is to “run” for office. In my 30 or so years putting the needle in those who turn the screws, I’ve never resorted to such an obvious and predictable stunt.

But this is the era of the new low, and so for the good of this nation and world, I am considering forming a committee to look into the viability of a run for unitary executive of the United States.

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