Stop! Our Head is Spinning!As we write this, the whirling dervish known as Hurricane Wilma is bouncing around the Gulf Coast creating tremendous potential for new waterfront properties and low, low prices for Mexican vacations in about six months.
In preparation, Michael Brown (who's still on the government payroll as a consultant) and Michael Chertoff (who is still on the government payroll as an idiot) are making their dinner reservations early so they can get back to the "hard work" of hurricane cleanup, Lord and Lady Bush are saddling up Air Force One for a new round of Wilma photo ops, and Jeb is a beaming ray of sunshine, telling people everything is under control...sorta.
So with all the sterling success, it's little wonder that another Bush crony - Karen Hughes, Ministeress of Misinformation - is having some problems on her current Indonesian swing. On Friday, she told a group of Muslims that the overthrow of Saddam was a good thing because he had gassed 300,000 of his own people.
The problem was that the number was far, far smaller - like 295,000 smaller. Upon news of the gaffe, State Department spokespeople wound up the old "clarification" machine and began trying to explain what Karen really meant to say.
It's a familiar sight when one of the administration's top cronies opens their mouth.
When will they ever learn to actually say what they mean? For an administration supposedly renown for their "straight talking manner", the Chimp-in-Chief and his minions are apparently a very inarticulate bunch. The "clarifications" for their speeches often take longer than the speeches themselves.
Now we aren't pretending to defend Saddam here. No one disputes he's a bad guy and richly deserving of being overthrown. The question is whether the US should have been the one to do it and whether truth - rather than a long, inglorious record of Bush puffery - should carry the day.
This little incident is but one example of the administration's folly of image over style. You can't erase the criminally poor job of FEMA with a dozen photo ops. You can't dress like GI Joe and declare a war over just as the killing really gets rolling. You can't consistently lie about things to get your way forever, because lies always come home to roost.
If Karen's "mission" is improving the US's image abroad, we're guessing the lie didn't play so well in Muslim Jakarta - a place that already seethes about all the other lies we've told them. Are we the only one who thinks it's just a little embarrassing when our own PR Czarina has to have her own PR pawns "correct" her own PR? If incompetence is a hallmark of a crony, Karen Hughes is Exhibit A - well, maybe Exhibit B...Brownie was pretty bad, even by Bushonian standards.
We'd like to humbly suggest an alternative to El Presidente - tell the truth and act responsible. If you do, you could balance the budget by getting rid of all the PR flacks busily covering each other's asses. This should be easy if you are as enamored of personal responsibility as you say you are. Can the cronies, fess up to the fact that you muffed the war (on Saddam and on terror, take your pick), the economy, Harriet Miers, and an amazing plethora of other mistakes you so uncannily seek out at every opportunity. Say you're sorry. Don't do it again. And start doing the right (and we don't mean the political right) thing. If you want an example, look no farther than our own military.
Ironically, those we depend on to do the country's dirty work actually turn out to be doing most of the country's good work too. Despite the fact that Brownie couldn't seem to move a can of soup to Louisiana, the military has managed to bring tons of relief supplies to victims in Pakistan. They were the saviors when you and Brownie could find your asses in a New Orleans top hat. They are the ones who continue, without complaint, to go to work and die in that abortion you call a War on Terror. They are the ones who are overstretched, living in poverty, and still drive the unarmored Humvees you and Rummy promised to take care of months ago. They will still be there when your sorry ass has packed up to go build Dubya's Presidential Lie-Bary in Crawford.
See, that's the thing George. Tell the truth. Get out of the way of people who actually know how to do something other than clear brush back on the ranch. Don't explain the mistakes. Try not making them instead.
We know it's a novel approach, but it works and works well.
Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Saturday, October 22, 2005