liberal ["liberalis" L - suitable for a freeman, generous; "eleutheros" Gk - free] (adj) generous, open-minded, not subjugated to authoritarian domination; (n) one who believes in liberty, universal suffrage and the free exchange of ideas. elite ["eslire" Fr -- to choose fr.L "eligere" -- choose] (n) the choice part; best of a class; the socially superior part of society.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Mugging Us Some More

A lot of the problem I have with accepting proposals from President George W. Bush has always had to do with his character. He's never been a man of the people or a hardworking success of any kind, especially in financial matters. Then, there are his family, friends and associates, namely, his brother Neal, the Saudi royal family, and Ken Lay, to name the most conspicuous birds in the flock.

Would you trust them with your money? So what makes Bush the credible spokesperson for the largest legislative reform proposal of the most successful social program in American history?

Nothing. He's got nothing behind him. That is precisely why the "Presidential Roadshow" has become nothing but a sales pitch.

As Jim VandeHel and Peter Baker wrote,
These meticulously staged "conversations on Social Security," as they are called, replicate a strategy that Bush used to great effect on the campaign trail.
There's a strategy to this sale, and the closing is still a long way off. This is the "set up." Meanwhile the "President" is all about making "the pitch."
The White House follows a practiced formula for each of the meetings. First it picks a state in which generally it can pressure a lawmaker or two, and then it lines up panelists who will sing the praises of the president's plan. Finally, it loads the audience with Republicans and other supporters.
So, there is never a dissenting voice in the crowd, only a group think monologue that does not approach a public discussion. The "finalists" on the town hall meeting panels insist they are not told what they have to say:
"It was just a matter of learning," [one citizen-speaker] said. "We just really talked about what was going on, what the president was proposing and what did we think about it. . . . They didn't prompt me what to say or how to say it."
But they don't have to.
The few dissenting voices ... [are] quickly silenced or escorted out by security.

The carefully screened panelists spoke admiringly about Bush, his ideas, his "bold" leadership on Social Security.

If the presentations sound well rehearsed, it's because they often are. The guests at these "Oprah"-style conversations trumpet the very points Bush wants to make.
Anybody who the White House screening team is unsure of gets dropped. Each "candidate" is examined and re-examined numerous times before they are allowed to speak with the President, to ensure that their words and ideas support his position.

If we are insulted by the unanswered questions of the 9/11 attacks that implicate -- passively or otherwise -- Bush administration complicity, if we are bruised by the recurring newsleaks about the human rights violations in GTMO and through the rendition programs, if we're horrified by the devastation of Iraqi cities like Ramadi and Fallujah and the scores of thousands of women and children who have been killed and maimed for "freedom," hold on to your seats, folks!

The Presidential roadshow is coming to a town near you. In it you will see and hear President Bush and his sidekicks regurgitate the most prepackaged, freeze dried serving of bullshit that ever flew in the face of democratic dialogue in the public interest.

As horror movies go, though, this has been pretty boring for us so far. But as the mugging of the American mind goes on, Bush and his advisors tell us to wait, there's much much more to come. And if you know anything about George Bush and his crowd, you know the ending is going to be very very bad -- worse than you could have imagined.


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