B.S. Away! Cuts Through the Political Spin & Slime
''B.S. Away!'' Cuts Through the Political Spin & Slime
By Bernard Weiner
The Crisis Papers
So much campaign slime, so many lies told and retold -- my head was spinning from listening to the sludge that passes for political discourse these days. So I headed down to Silicon Valley, to get another cannister of ''B.S. Away!'' from my ingenious inventor-friend. [*]
I saw Rove on TV talking about the GOP's "winning" campaign strategy -- what amounted to terror and fright. A quick spritz on the monitor and here's what he said:
"Damn, I can't see how we're going to get out of this mess. Even with Kerry floundering around, not quite knowing how to respond to our attacks, Bush is slowly losing support all around the country, especially in the toss-up states. It's not that our former supporters really want to vote for Kerry, it's that they've given up on our boy. Like his father, one term and out. They don't trust him, they think him reckless, they believe he's beholden to the rich and doesn't really care about them, they think he's wrecking the economy, they even think he's stupid. They're right on all counts, of course, so what I am supposed to do?
"Our attack dogs are out there, using the farmer's manure-spreading technique of flinging the lie patties this way and that -- mainly so that the war-issue will amount to a wash, given that it's true Bush went AWOL in the early-'70s -- but I don't know how many are buying our spin anymore.
"Plus, the economy is back in the doldrums, we can't create any jobs, Iraq is a near-total disaster and may not last until November, and all the scandals we've kept under control for so long are about to bust wide open. Even the Boy Genius might not be able to pull this one out. Thank goodness, Kerry is taking the 'high road,' and not coming at our most vulnerable spots with a full-frontal attack. And thank goodness there just might be a major terrorist attack -- though I'm not really sure if that will help or hurt us -- and the computer-voting machines, for the most part, are still unprotected, if you get my drift."
SWIFT BOAT VETERANS FOR BUSH
Then I spotted John O'Neill and his Swift Boat Veterans for Bush, and did a quick spray.
"I hope the senator knows deep down it's nothing personal. This is politics. Nixon hired me to trash Kerry, and now the supporters of Bush the Younger are paying our way. What can I say? It's a job.
"Those of us on the right have to do what we have to do to take this guy down. He'd be a disaster for our cause if he got into the White House. It took us decades to achieve total power in this country and we're not giving it up without a fight. So what if I, and my fellow vets --who also never served with Kerry -- tell a few fibs and stretch the truth?
"We're not trying to get people necessarily to believe everything we say. As Rove says, it's the Big Lie technique: smear it around often and loudly enough and people begin to think, 'Well, maybe there is some fire behind all that smoke.' Just punch a few holes in the Kerry-as-war-hero myth, and push some doubt in there.
"Then when the truth comes out about Bush in Alabama -- the drunkenness, his not taking the drug physical, where he was when he was supposed to be on the base finishing his Air National Guard commitment -- people will say 'well, a plague on both their houses.' And we'll have four more years to lock things down and take what we want. Out of our way!"
PIMPIN' FOR THE PREZ: JOHN McCAIN
Next, I spritzed some "B.S. Away!" on recent "re-elect-our-President" comments by Senator John McCain, traveling with Bush on the campaign trail:
"Jeez, can't believe I'm actually doing this, shilling for this dumbass dork. These guys shafted my presidential bid with atrocious lies in 2002 (my wife's an addict, I fathered a black baby, maybe I was a little bit crazy, that sort of slanderous stuff). And now Rove's doing it to Kerry, a nice guy who, like Gore, doesn't know what hit him and how to respond effectively.
"I want to be president. I can't do it as a Democrat: I'm much too conservative for those guys, they just like my moxie. I suspected early that the vice-presidential discussion wasn't to be taken too seriously; I shoulda told Kerry I'd be his veep, just to see his face when I accepted!
"I must confess that I did think seriously about the Kerry idea, but though John and I probably could have worked together well on foreign and military policy, I wouldn't have been able to keep my mouth shut about all his liberal social and domestic policies, and he knew that.
"No, the only way I'm going to get into the White House is by sticking with the GOP. They keep dangling the possibility of Cheney having to resign 'for health reasons,' which would open the door for me. Or maybe having Rummy take the Torture Scandal fall, with me moving in as Secretary of Defense. And so, here I am, pimpin' for the prez, while my insides churn. God, this guy is one moronic puppet, and he's screaming at people, slurring his words, bumping into things, falling off his bike a whole lot more these days. Maybe the rumors are true about him being on anti-depressants or back on the sauce."
COLIN POWELL ON HIS MISSING MORALITY
Colin Powell came next. I gave him a big blast of "B.S. Away!"
"Those guys hung me out to dry with all that bullshit 'intelligence' I was forced to deliver to the United Nations. I had some moral credentials before that; after that performance, when it all turned out to be lies sent over by Rumsfeld's boys at his Office of Special Plans, nobody looked up to me any more. I was regarded as the 'house negro,' getting all the goodies while yassuh-ing my massah.
"I've thought about resigning and spilling the beans on Rummy and Cheney and Wolfowitz and Feith and that whole crew, but I'd be regarded as a snitch and a turncoat and just another rat leaving a sinking ship. Besides, my hands aren't exactly squeaky-clean either.
"But also, I can be more effective in some ways by fighting them from the inside, where at least I still have some leverage, and by engineering occasional leaks to the press as to where the neo-con bodies are buried. Besides, my book sales among conservatives will be better if I resign after the election.
"But I don't know if I can last until November. These guys are so desperate, so Machiavellian, so steeped in filth and dirty tricks that the whole enterprise may come flying apart any time now. Do I really want to still be here when the grand implosion happens? I'm a basket case."
NADER GETS MISTED
Heard Ralph Nader on NPR. Quickly misted the radio with the truth-spray. Here's what he said:
"Why is everyone so angry at me for accepting Republican help in getting on the ballot? What do they expect me to do -- go quietly into the night? Yeah, sure, it's a mutual 'using' relationship. They can't stand me, I can't stand them, but we both want to destroy the Democratic Party.
"Yeah, of course I realize that I helped send Gore onto the unemployment roles in 2000, though I'll never admit that in public. And yes, Bush would be a disaster for the country if he got four more years. All of which makes inoperative my 2000 comment about there not being a dime's worth of difference between the Democrats and Republicans.
"But the only way we're going to reform the corrupt two-party system is for the Democrats to get thoroughly crushed again in 2004. Bush will be even more terrible in his second term -- Bush is a reverse-King Midas: everything he touches turns to shit -- and the public will clamor for a more pure party to confront the Republican thugs. It's then that the country finally will turn to me.
"Thank God the young college kids who support me don't know jack about history, about my role in the 2000 vote, or what the implications are if Bush wins. Their idealism is all, and I'll ride it, and the GOP assistance, all the way to the White House in 2008 or 2012 or 2016 or..."
KERRY ON HIS IRAQ VOTE
Then I thought, why am I using the truth-spray only on Republicans and Nader? I spritzed some on Senator Kerry's recent utterances about his Iraq-war vote.
"I don't know how long I can keep finessing my Iraq-war vote. I guess I could say, like Sen. Rockefeller and others, that I was duped into voting for the authorization bill by all the lies and phony 'intelligence' the Administration supplied the Congress. But I'm gambling that I can still seem to be a gung-ho warrior against the 'terrorists' without having to join the anti-war Democratic wing, whose rhetoric tends to alienate the Middle-Americans whose every vote I need.
"Yes, I'm pissing off parts of my own base, who see me as a sell-out on the war -- but where else are they going to go? They don't want Bush, at virtually any price, and they certainly aren't moving to Nader. And yes, I'm leaving myself open for the Bush campaign to attack me as 'wishy-washy' and 'waffling' and 'overly nuanced' on the war.
"But so far, the plan is working. More and more Republicans are peeling away from Bush -- not just the elite guys, the ex-generals and diplomats and Reagan/Bush1 officials, who see Bush and his group endangering their financial and power interests. No, it's the ordinary rank-and-file who are deserting in droves, even in the red states, appalled that the Bush crowd has moved their party so far to the extreme right, and are such incompetent boobs in running the economy, the war, indeed anything they touch.
"So, if Edwards and I can just hang in there for another three months in this dangerous middle-ground, sidestepping the campaign-issue landmines such as our Iraq vote -- although I admit I've got to be more clear on what that vote to authorize really meant for me -- I think maybe we can make it to the finish line successfully.
"Of course, I'm hoping and counting on some of the BushCheney scandals exploding in their faces in the next three months -- I'm guessing Plame and AWOL will burst first -- but there's no guarantee of that. It's possible to drag things out in the legal arena until after the danger-point, which here is November 2.
"Maybe we'll have to kick up our campaign's attack-mode, and get some better quick-responder surrogates out there on my behalf. Maybe I can convince Carville and Begala to come on board, to kick some ass. Something's gotta happen, or Teresa's gonna kick mine."
Bernard Weiner, Ph.D., is a poet and playwright, former college teacher of government & international relations, ex-writer/editor with the San Francisco Chronicle, and currently co-editor of The Crisis Papers ( www.crisispapers.org). He is a contributing author to "Big Bush Lies," available at bookstores.