January 24, 2007
Why I Still Don't Trust George Bush
By Mary Lyon
See how they gush.
The spinners on both sides of George W. Bush's seventh State of the Union speech were at it ferociously within moments of his closing remarks. Many of them did what he tried to do - accentuate the positive. How graciously he tried to reach out to the Democrats by meeting them up front on so many of their pet domestic issues. How much more humble he was. How the smirk was gone. How he didn't seem so cocky anymore when he finally got around to discussing the matter that meant most to him (and the 1,000-pound gorilla in the room) - the failed war in Iraq . How adorable and disarming it was to single out those exemplary guests seated up in the gallery toward the end of the evening. How generous and charming it was to acknowledge the historic first two words that would start his remarks: "Madame Speaker." Two words that set a whole new tone and showed us a whole new George.
Well, I've got another two words for all of that: "yeah. SURE." Because it was the two LETTERS that glared out from his podium within a few sentences of the magnanimous tribute to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that betrayed the true Dubya and signaled clearly to me how shriekingly insincere he was: the missing two words - "I-C." "The Democrat Majority." "I-C." Yes. George. You got that one straight, straighter than you know. I see. Indeed.
Mr. Bush, if you REALLY want to prove to America and all those politicians that you're new and improved and ready to concede to the adverse new realities surrounding you since November's midterm elections, don't try pulling a fast one like that. Particularly one that snarky. If you genuinely wanted to reach out to the party and the voters who sent you and your cohorts a shellacking last fall, the way most of your seemingly soothing words and "kinder, gentler" demeanor would suggest, you wouldn't have tried so blatantly to slap us in the face with that allegedly unarmed hand. If I were Nancy Pelosi, once I'd gotten past the "aw, wasn't he nice?" schtick and the showy handshake, and the blush had cleared from my cheeks, I'd have been looking for the crossed fingers behind Junior's back. And the snake in the grass that revealed itself so early in the evening's game.
I'll say one thing for George, at least he didn't try that hard to bury this little subterfuge, the way he attempted to crowd out the glaring reality of his failing war in Iraq . He threw up almost 15 minutes of economic policy smokescreen before the word "terr'ists" ever broke the surface. As the clock ticked in the lower-right corner of the TV screen, it was 28 minutes past the hour when he finally slid that one in. The main event that hung over his speech with a greater pallor than the Democratic dominance all over the room - Iraq - was shoved to the back. The very word "Iraqi" didn't appear until 42 minutes after the hour, and the root " Iraq " a minute later. The word " Iran " actually beat them both to the punch at 39 minutes past. We didn't get to "victory" until 44 minutes after the hour, and the ever-popular standard references to September 11 th stole their way in only ten minutes earlier (and at that, they were disguised, at first, under such cosmetic adjustment devices as "that September morning").
But before this, he'd been all over priorities he's far more accustomed to ignoring while kicking them to the side: immigration reform, health care, alternative energy, earmarks, and responsible over-spending. Democratic priorities, that is. And, GASP! An actual sentence or two on the heretofore unmentionable "global climate change." I guess that was as close as he could get to speaking of the concept of global warming without actually paying homage to its most widely-recognized title: "global warming." God forbid he call it what that morning's Oscar nominee and one-time foe, Al Gore, would call it. What is it with this guy and his Texas Two-Step around proper terminology, anyway? If you don't call it what it is, maybe it'll just go away?
I suspect our boy George was probably trying to "kitchen sink" Iraq with all of the above. If you have to feed the kid lima beans, sneak them in under the macaroni and cheese, down at the bottom of the bowl and slathered with cream sauce, and push a big fat piece of layer cake under his nose before he's even finished swallowing the yucky stuff. And be sure to give him lots of the damned soda pop you wouldn't ordinarily let him drink, to wash it down with, before he can realize what he just ate. The dessert in this case, of course, was the darling set of references to the select group of invited VIPs: the inspirational NFL star, the "Baby Einstein" mom, the decorated Iraq war veteran, and the New York subway hero. Ordinarily, these man-on-the-street guests and their stand-out stories of courage and ingenuity are offered near the top of the State of the Union speech. Stirring examples of the best of us are used to soften up the audience there in the chamber and those watching on TV and get them all in a good mood before the president gets down to the tougher and more serious business at hand. Not this time. Here again, Junior pulled a sneaky. He left them til the end, so the last thing you remember him shilling was the feel-good malarky, and - he hopes- you've forgotten how he again hyped his bloody, incomprehensible, and utterly disastrous "stay the course" nightmare plan for our troops in Iraq . All you'll remember is the warm-fuzzy part. You'll be absorbed by the nice big bear hug you weren't expecting to get, and won't notice the trickle of blood easing down your back from the spot in which he stealthily plunged the knife.
Sorry, George. I wasn't fooled. You weren't quite slick enough, either, tipping your hand so surprisingly early in the evening's game. Perhaps you assumed most of us would be so distracted by your nice tribute to the first woman Speaker of the House in American history that we'd miss the diss. Or maybe you're just getting sloppy. "Democrat Majority." Even the thick-headed pretty-boy Brian Williams on MSNBC admitted he'd caught that, too, WHILE he was following along with his copy of the advance script distributed to the media, as you were talking. Evidently, as he noted on the air, his copy contained reference to "Democratic Majority," but that's not what came sliding off of Bush's forked tongue. Sir, it's "Democratic Majority." Get our name straight. If you really want us to work with you, let bygones be bygones, and help you stir the nice big soup pot filled with Bipartisan Bouillabaise, at least have the decency to address us by our proper party title. If you thought we didn't pick up on that widely-acknowledged GOP insult, you'd be wrong. I called Nancy Pelosi's office the morning after, and brought it to her staff's attention, and they assured me that the offense had not gone unnoticed. Hey, Mr. Bush, wanna play poker?
The fact that he'd come to a new-and-VASTLY-improved Congress, and the American people whose votes gave us that vast improvement, and try to stick us with "Democrat Majority" before trying to sweet-talk us back to sleep just proves how sneaky and dishonest George W. Bush is, at the core. Let's not forget amid all the let's-make-nice-nice shlock that this is the same guy who has done vast numbers on us - behind our backs - on literally hundreds of offenses. They range from torture and rendition, to illegal wiretapping, to hosing muckraking US attorneys and replacing them with friendly partisan hacks, to letting the corporate energy giants shape our energy policy behind Dick Cheney's closed doors, to the recess appointment of John Bolton to the UN, to the fact that the "surge" in Iraq is, in part, already underway, or ANY of the other sneak-attacks Bush and buddies have slipped under the door in a plain brown wrapper or buried under thousands of words in some obscure legislation packed into a now-typical Friday Night News Dump. Or the hundreds of intrinsically sneaky signing statements that are always completed under cover of darkness - and conveniently after the photo ops and camera crews and reporter gaggles and autograph-seekers have all gone home for the day. We have a LONG track record of solid proof that Little George is a double-dealer. That he doesn't care about decorum or rules. If he thinks it'll get him his way, he'll game the system 100-thousand ways from Sunday, especially if he thinks you're not paying attention.
George, just know this: We ARE paying attention. That's why we voted the Democratic Majority IN and your cronies OUT last November. That's why so many of us are awake now, and watching your every move. That's why I found myself telling Nancy Pelosi's office staff something that - what a pleasant surprise - they already knew and had remained vigilant enough to notice without any prompting from me. I wasn't surprised by your nice-guy act that night, and neither were they. And if they weren't, many, many more besides them weren't snookered, either. It's not just your war that's run out of gas. It's your sucker-punch game that's over, as well. You played that one long past its prime and its usefulness, too. You've played it so long that many more of us know to watch for it, and we can easily see it coming by now. You can't get away with that crap anymore.
Things really have changed around Dubya's Washington , and all over the country, for that matter. It's not just a Democratic Majority - including the "I-C" part. A LOT more people see. It's an Honesty-Appreciation Majority. It's a Truth-Squad Majority. It's an Accountability Majority and a Play-By-The-Rules Majority. The gullibles and sneakies have been demoted to minority status now. It's clear that I'm by NO means the only one who won't ever trust George Bush in whatever future he has remaining to him. And we've got a much bigger majority than he'll ever have, again. You may not see this, or want to see this, George. But we do.
Then go DO something about it.