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Hey Mr. Turkey, That's a Fancy Way to Walk

Daniel Patrick Welch claims physical pain at watching the second face-off between George Bush and challenger John Kerry. It is some compensation -- though not as much as it should be -- that the incumbent shows himself to be every bit the scary puppet that he is. He reports here on Going to the candidates' debate...

Hey Mr. Turkey, That's a Fancy Way to Walk:

The "President" struts his way onto the ash heap of history
Daniel Patrick Welch

As painful as it was, I did manage to sit through a good portion of the second presidential candidates' debate. My mind, naturally, drifted to Simon & Garfunkel: "laugh about it shout about it/ when you've got to choose/ every way you look at it you lose." Coo coo ca-choo.

In the race horse analogy that has completely taken over US politics, the bets were down for George Bush to physically injure himself, poke an eye out or drool uncontrollably. If he didn't, conventional "wisdom" goes, he would have transcended the eye-rolling, stammering, pouty performance in his first outing.

But pundits weren't prepared for The Blinking Game. Have you ever been at a ball game when the jumbotron is roving your section and you want to cough, pick your nose or discipline your child really badly? You just can't, and so you sit there stock still, like a deer in the headlights, until the danger passes. President Imbecile did just that, a tazer-trained monkey-in-chief responding to his handlers' insistence that he not repeat the embarrassment of his prior sad showing. Blinking, eyes darting, Bush had the uncomfortable combined look of a trapped animal and a toddler trying to be good in church.

Gary Trudeau, through dialogue in Doonesbury years ago when a less compliant press actually dared to challenge the president, said of Nixon what no one will say about Bush: "Most reporters present agreed the President was being his usual asinine self."

Unapolagetic and extreme in the extreme, Bush laid out his scary agenda without blushing. He thus managed to guarantee 30-40% of the vote: his fundamentalist base will make all the necessary phone calls, lit drops and door knocks to try to keep the rest of us from living our sex-crazed and hedonist lives with the welcome help of - gasp! - Big Government.

Never mind that this little man with his enormous ego seems to have parted ways with reality. Never mind that the lady in black almost fell asleep as he droned on about narrowing the scope of the federal government, while he presides over the greatest deficits in human history.

Teflon for these criminals is apparently a matter of will: the facts don't matter, the questions don't matter, reality doesn't matter, and anyone who dares question their mandate to lead is either mentally unstable or due for an untimely plane crash. This must be the theory that underlines the hubris of saying that the CIA report, a bombshell by any modern standard released on the day of the debate, actually strengthens the case for war. Huh?

The Bush Junta seems to subscribe to a sort of situational arrogance, where each forum demands a new and enhanced form of dismissive body language to play King of the Hill. The juvenile reactions caught on camera last week didn't play well, and Cheney's grim Uncle-Dick-Knows-Best channeling of Monty Burns was even worse. The solution, responding to the ludicrously labeled "town hall" motif with its broad stage and matador-red carpeting, was to strut.

And strut he did: Ol' George looked every bit like the turkey he is, trying to show " command of facts" by roaming around, thrusting his neck forward at every opportunity.

It was a repulsive show, which will undoubtedly fool pundits as it has all along, if preliminary Talking Head gas is any indication. Still, anyone who wasn't embarrassed to have the world see that this jackass is our President just wasn't paying attention. A hollow shell of an intellect, spouting the same platitudes that could have been draped over any "conservative" candidacy of the last half century, Bush hit at the safest of targets:

Teddy Kennedy, who is apparently central to the campaign, along with other imminent threats, like dangerous drugs leaking in from Canada - that may have come from the Third World!

It was a great relief - seriously - to hear that our Fearless Leader, in his modern, enlightened worldview, vigorously opposes slavery. He would never appoint judges who would support the Dred Scott decision. This may seem crazy, but it actually makes sense: after an hour or so of pandering to his Neanderthal proclivities, it was a wise move for our faith-based National Uniter to make sure viewers knew that he knew what century we are in.

Last we heard, Karl Rove was rushing to produce post-debate spin to convince the world that the president indeed agrees that the earth is round and that the theory of evolution "may have some merit."

Of course, those who realize that actual change is necessary will undoubtedly be dismayed by the mutual obsession with cops, welfare reform, faith-based initiatives and who will bomb Iran first and hardest. Much of the "debate" seemed a scary preview of planning the next war. And Kerry didn't help by tripping over himself to quote Republicans: Reagan, Eisenhower, former Governor Roswell, Lugar - the good Senator left no conservative stone unturned in his quest to prove that he was fit to lead the (new) free world (order).

The real question may be why anyone would be so hot on winning an election that gives them the keys to the burning kingdom that Bush leaves behind.

But the Bush cabal and its front men just don't get it: they seem to have forgotten one fundamental truth. They worked hard to hoodwink the people in the last go around. They knew damn well that their crazy, dated ideas wouldn't fly, and deliberately lied to sneak into power.

Then, they assumed, like children cheating to get their turn at dodgeball, that everyone would respect their authority once they grabbed the ball. Now the bluff is to puff themselves up to imply that no one can challenge that authority. Americans waking from their slumber - some of them, at least - are aghast at notions that Newt and crew kept under wraps for good reason: voted against Meals on Wheels? Opposed Head Start? The MLK holiday! WTF?

Talking about god's law at every opportunity to pry their way into our homes and bedrooms? Who are these people? The mask is beginning to come off, and the face underneath is not pretty. Most of all, you've got to hide it from the kids.


© 2004 Daniel Patrick Welch.

Reprint permission granted with credit and link to . Writer, singer, linguist and activist Daniel Patrick Welch lives and writes in Salem, Massachusetts, with his wife, Julia Nambalirwa-Lugudde. Together they run The Greenhouse School ( Some of his articles have been broadcast on radio, and translations are available in up to 20 languages. Links to the website are appreciated at

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