You Get Trust the Old Fashioned Way...You Earn It

The President as He Waits for the Next Shoe to Drop

It's another day and there's another charm offensive from the Ba-Bush-Ka. Today's topic, wiretapping.

It seems he's a near-permanent fixture on television these days as he offers up literally dozens of defenses for things he has already done or appears to be looking to do in the future. He is constantly on, talking to his citizens as if they were school children fresh off the short bus. His explanations are often rambling, confused, or downright wrong and a surprising number require repair by a crack team of PR spinners who dutifully explain, repeatedly, that the President really didn't mean to say what he said, but something totally different.

When watching the actions of his supporters, it's hard to tell just why they put up with it. They dote on his every word and find themselves joining the spinners on the PR tilt-a-whirl. For them, no mistake is ever quite a mistake, no gaffe quite gaffey enough to be heeded. The issues, mistakes, and miscues are always labeled vicious twistings of the mainstream media. They're mudslinging smears. The transcript of the press conference lied and the (insert name of the topic du jour here) is really a win instead of a colossal fiasco.

Their advice, drink the Kool-Aid - politics is a hot and sweaty business and you need to cool off.

Giving the Prez the benefit of the doubt - and we admit that's pretty damned hard sometimes - why are the constant justifications necessary? It seems impossible to us that a single person could come up with so many unpopular or inept ideas and proposals. The law of averages would suggest that at least some of the time he would be able to pick something we could all, as a nation, get behind. Yet he has the uncanny ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and anger roughly half of the country on any given day. We can think of no other President in recent memory who was so good as pissing off people so often.

Does it not dawn on him and his loyal followers that if half - or in some cases more - of the country is questioning him, that the questioners are not going to be satisfied with a little speechifying, some mud slinging, or a rapidly spinning Ferris wheel of PR?

His mantra is "trust me". Yet he seems to have no clue as to why people don't. Here are some examples:

One moment he says the US does not engage in wiretapping its citizens. Period. A few weeks later the story is that not only do we wiretap them, but we've been doing it for a long time, the Patriot Act that was supposed to address this issue is an inadequate yet must-have tool, and the legal system set up to deal with wiretaps is OK to bypass whenever he deems it necessary - contrary to what a significant number of legal scholars, Senators and Congressmen, and more the than half the population thinks.

But warrantless wiretapping is a complex issue. Let's take something like coal mine safety. Coal mine safety is one of those things we should all be able to get behind, right?

When the two sets of miners died in West Virginia, Dub was all over it. We'll investigate! We'll get to the bottom of this and fix the problem! I am the man of action!

On Monday, two of the administration's mine safety experts testified before in a Senate hearing for one hour. When asked by the Republican Chairman, Arlen Specter, to stay a few minutes for followup questions the experts said they had "pressing business" and left the hearing. Ineptitude or imperial hubris - we report, you decide.

Dub, we know you want us to "trust" you - and we want to, really - but here's the thing, with a track record like yours NOBODY should trust you, opponents and supporters alike. To do so would be the height of irresponsibility and we know how you hold personal responsibility in such high esteem. Your feet must be held against the fire because you seem incapable of doing anything without a scorched sole.

So we'll make you a deal. When you start to make solid proposals that don't require so much spin that we feel like a cow caught in a hurricane, we'll trust you. When you develop a track record of carrying through without screwing up, we'll trust you. When we have some reason to suspect you will succeed where you so often have failed before, we'll trust you. Until then, we won't trust you any farther than we can throw the White House.


Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Wednesday, January 25, 2006

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