Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Genius of Sandalous Overkill

The New York Times has a big ol’ story about how the Pentagon has been using retired military men to carry its hogwash out to the Media. The Pentagon—courtesy of Uncle Sam—trots the retirees off to Iraq, to Guantanamo, to insider briefings, and then the Generals and Admirals trot themselves over to Fox and elsewhere to share their “expertise.”

The 7500 word article gives lots of specifics, views with alarm, lists examples of media deceptions, and carries denials from military men who are shocked, shocked I say, that they are accused of such shenanigans.

This is hardly the first or only Bush scandal. Keith Olbermann runs a segment every night called “Bushed,” whereby he comments and updates three out of the current 50 (he claims) scandals gurgling up that night in the Bush administration. The list changes daily and as anyone scoring at home knows, fifty scandals is likely a serious misunderestimation of the damage Dubya has done to the country.

The Propagandized Generals Scandal has now joined the crowd of other darkening the political landscape and will in turn be superceded by the next scandal or outrage.

If there is a genius to the Bush Presidency, it is that it has mastered the art of Scandalous Overkill. Clinton and Nixon were pikers compared to this bunch. In Watergate, Nixon had a single overall scandal—which was admittedly a doozy and it got him booted out of office. Clinton had Monicagate, and it got him impeached.

Bush has more scandals than he could begin to count, even using all his digits and with his shoes and socks off. But he doesn’t get impeached, he gets a second term, a library full of Bushisms, and a Christmas fruit basket from every political satirist alive today.

Why is that? Thank you for asking. I have a theory.

The NYT article was sent to me by email and included links to the paper’s top five forwarded stories. These are the stories that have so fascinated and involved readers that they were stirred to action.

When I opened the email this morning, the Pentagon General Scandal story was number four on the list. Number four? How could that be?

Had a new scandal already erupted to supercede it? Nope.

Had the Pennsylvania Primary blanketed the list with three more vital stories? No.

Was the Surge upstaged by an upsurge in non-surge violence? Uh-uh

Okay, I give up, what was the #1 story?

The Pope likes kitties--a story about his Holiness and his affection for felines. Had the Pope announced he’d boo-booed on stem cell research and it was now okay, I’d understand. If the Pontiff said he was trading his pointy Mitre for a Sam Jackson Kangol, I’d dig it. But kitties?

Which leads to my reluctant conclusion:

The key to political survival today is to so overwhelm the Media and the Electorate with bad behavior, they tune it out. It worked for Bush, and as Hillary continues to do Republican Swiftboaters' dirty work and is rewarded for it, it shows she and Bill have learned an important lesson. Times change. A back-office Hummer just won’t git ‘er done anymore.

The Pope’s Kitties can’t save us from ourselves. The slippery slope of Decline and Fall has been regreased.

1 comment:

Norm Mark said...

slippery slope? Or the precipitous endgame? Question: is it too late? References: "Are We Rome?" (short answer: yes). And" Collapse", a study of the collapse of civilizations, most of which didn't have the political guts to change course.
The good news: towards the end in Rome, some folks had a great time.