It’s always summer to George W. Bush, our lazy, hazy, crazy commander in chief who puts in shorter presidential work weeks than Woodrow Wilson did after he was paralyzed by a stroke. Having stolen his way into the Oval Office what now seems to be several bad lifetimes ago, GW has treated us to a scorching five years that have inflicted on the world a pandemic of son burn. We have been continually baited and switched by an administration that promises sinsemilla and delivers oregano. As we sweat out the fifth summer of this affront to everything this nation could be, we all need a break.
AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH: The most sensational publicity campaign since The China Syndrome.
For those of us who have resisted television’s answer to the morphine patch and live Tivo-less lives, summer is still a time to catch up on reading. Reading books is increasingly quaint because, truth told, the average American reads about as often as Donald Rumsfeld peruses the Geneva Accords. Some of us now absorb the written word by ear, from books on tape or CD, as we drive from one job to the next in the struggle to survive what Bush touts as “economic expansion” — itself a fictional depiction of growth that’s really an insidious weed creeping from beneath the gates of mansions to strangle what’s left of middle-class American life.
But some of us still get time off and will be reading at vacation cottages — though this year, the shore line will probably be several feet closer to the veranda. On the bright side, after a stormy spring that left rivers overflowing like Halliburton’s vaults, many formerly landlocked properties have skyrocketed in value due to the addition of beach frontage.
Climactic shifts have become so obvious that Al Gore’s nonfiction An Inconvenient Truth, a Seurat-worthy mural of environmentally friendly fuel-injected power-points, was rolled out to the most sensational act-of-God publicity campaign since Three Mile Island provided jillowats of juice for The China Syndrome. Gore certainly provided a vigorous (by boneless Democratic Party standards) reminder of where our priorities could have been if it weren’t for the madmen warmongers who stole his rightful job. Talk about inconvenience …
But it’s almost August and, at least at the moment, the sun is shining and daisies and black-eyed Susans are swaying in a tender zephyr. It feels positively lyrical, so why ruin it with thoughts of madmen warmongers? It’s time to pursue a gentler agenda of lovely days spent lazing about and flipping through pages of mindless fiction.
But how can one think of mindless fiction without reflecting on madmen warmongers? Fiction creation and distribution is a year-round activity at the White House and, to borrow one of the most ubiquitous terms in our president’s tape loop of catch phrases, “It’s hard work.”
It’s such hard work that former White House press secretary Scott McClellan finally succumbed to fiction fatigue in April. After a few years of repeatedly avoiding obvious questions and telling us that “the American people aren’t interested” in the details of the Bush-Cheney crime spree, he had all the credibility of a greasy, sweaty John Wayne Gacy saying, “Smell? What smell?”
Eventually McClellan was given his outright release by the big club, which immediately restored its credibility by bringing in Rush Limbaugh’s former caddy Tony Snow to fill Scotty’s teensy shoes. By the end of Snow’s first briefing, McClellan appeared fortunate for having been thrown out of the Rose Garden and into the Briar.
Snow debuted with diplomatic aplomb while lying about the NSA-wiretapping/data-mining/“Big Brother on Inhuman Growth Hormones” scandal by citing a USA Today poll, explaining, “Part of it said 51 percent of the American people opposed [wiretapping], if you look at when people said, if there is a roster of phone numbers, do you feel comfortable with that — I’m paraphrasing and I apologize — but something like 64 percent of the polling was not troubled by it. Having said that, I don’t want to hug the tar baby of trying to comment on the program — the alleged program — the existence of which I can neither confirm nor deny.”
FAMILIAR WITH CULTURE?: Tony Snow didn't want to "hug the tar baby"
Say, this new press secretary sure does have a gift for speaking directly and clearly to the American people!
The next day, Snow slowed his rhetorical verve and thus stopped short of quoting Little Black Sambo chapter and verse. But he still came spinning at top speed at a smirking press corps.
“Well, apparently, what’s happened is, apparently some people are unfamiliar with the pathways of American culture, and don’t realize the old Uncle Remus story where somebody hugs a tar baby . . . ”
So it was his belief in his own cultural superiority that caused Snow to fall in May. Of course, the same line of thinking did in the Third Reich and the Confederacy. Coincidence?