Bill Grigsby: Rekindling the BushCo magic...
Rekindling the BushCo magic …
By Bill Grigsby
The BushCo ship may not be sinking yet. But it’s listing. Or maybe run aground. It’s hard to tell. The only thing worth betting on is that public utterances from this White House—intentional leaks, press conferences, interviews—are at best coincidentally related to the truth. The only nibbles of interest come from mainstream media news outlets. The republicans are leaving. The military is divided. Even religious fundamentalists feel betrayed, since White House dishonesty no longer furthers their aspirations. That leaves Fox News, John McCain, and a handful of hard right pundits who don’t want to see their roller coaster ride end. The problem, besides all the empty cars, is that they’ve run out of track. And, of course, the Democratic Congress has subpoena power. Some in the BushCo crew will start jumping ship. What is the promise of a pardon worth from this White House? Watching the jumpers fight for lifeboats may be in poor taste, but if the ratings are good you can be sure some commercial news outlets will cover the spectacle.
So many questions. How long can Karl
keep a lid on the ever-increasing backflow (always make sure
your memory hole is an incinerator, not a sewer)? How long
can the document shredders operate without overheating? Or
is Karl looking to buy property in the Haitian countryside?
How long before even Henry Waxman can’t bear to hear more
of the sordid truths behind the White House’s neocon,
before even the cathartic value of knowing begins to
border on national self-flagellation? And if you’re
wondering whether the president—never one to concern
himself with the actual job description—is thinking
of walking away, remember—he doesn’t read the papers. He
may think he’s makin’ good progress. But what, if
anything, can be done to re-ignite—no wait, wrong
metaphor—to save the BushCo presidency? A few ideas
1. Declare martial law. The president declares that the last few years have proven that democracy doesn’t work. Of course, he also tried to blame the Katrina disaster on government bureaucracy. One advantage of declaring martial law would be dispensing with the ritual BushCo pretense that the Constitution poses limits to executive power. The problem with the above logic parallels one Yiddish definition of chutzpah—a boy who just killed his parents begs the court for leniency because he’s an orphan. Not to mention the risky assumption that the military has any interest in inheriting the domestic sector of this political tar pit.
2. Resign. This saves the personal humiliation and international embarrassment of impeachment, the temporary disgrace of the neoconservative ideology (it will be back; it always comes back, like the paddle ball from hell), and earns Bush the grudging gratitude of current republican officeholders, the military, and most of the non Fox-viewing American public. But it’s somewhat complicated—Cheney would have to resign first, paving the way for a new VP who would pardon Bush (circumventing a Pelosi presidency …). Chances are Bush would screw it up and choose a conciliatory statesman like John Bolton or Elliot Abrams, who would let the nukes fly on Teheran. And anyway, how to spin a Bush resignation as victorious (unless we’re talking about the Constitution)? On the other hand, look what resignation did for Nixon! A pledge by the president that no one from the Bush family will ever run again for the highest office would help. But who would believe him?
3. Rendon Group plot no. 1: Odor of the Intelfix. From the PR people who gave you the Jessica Lynch docudrama, a Harry Potter plot package. President Bush is actually an imposter, who used the Polyjuice potion to assume Bush’s identity. Bush, imprisoned by his captors, manages to escape during a daring nighttime raid, complete with multiple camera angles, from a dungeon deep within the bowels of the Democratic National Committee headquarters, and makes a triumphant return to Ground Zero, delivering an impassioned plea to passing lunch hour pedestrians on the merits of privatizing social security. This plot has the advantage of a ready-made market and merchandising opportunities, plus the open-ended underwriting of the financial services industry. The film rights could be worth millions (and maybe Fox News gets a non-competitive contract). And the George Bush impersonator? Osama bin Laden (who barely beat out Nancy Pelosi for the role when Paul’a Abdul switched her vote at the last minute).
4. Rendon Group plot no. 2: The Crawfordian Candidate. Here’s the plot: Dubya actually went undercover in 1972-73, giving nuclear technology to the Shah of Iran, which would be used 30+ years later as a pretext to attack in a botched effort to misdirect blame for the military, political and humanitarian disaster in Iraq. Project name: OIF (Operation Islamo-fascist). But Dubya was brainwashed with early, primitive neoconservative rhetoric, causing him to launch attacks on rogue nuclear states every time he says ‘nucular.’ When he broke free of the mind control—just in time—the U.S. was next in line for attack. This explains the AWOL year in the Alabama National Guard, and Bush’s butchered logic and syntax when not on script. All in a day’s work for a geopolitical pawn-turned-war hero, though.
5. The US—I mean Iran—Menace. Iran claims that the U.S. possesses weapons of mass destruction, and poses an imminent threat to Iran’s national security. The president refuses to allow UN weapons inspectors into the country (unless they’re willing to work off the books for minimum wage), and radical, tyranny lovin’ extremists in Iran ‘render’ Bush to Egypt for ‘enhanced interrogation.’ Bush is sprung by—you guessed it—a daring nighttime raid. Ratings soar as the TV news drama eclipses coverage of ‘Survivor: Anbar Province.’ The White House spends its accumulated political capital on yet another ‘troop surge’ (but insists the press call this one a ‘strategic backwash’). Bush, while in the captivity of freedom-hatin’ brutalizers, apparently confessed to stealing after dinner mints during cabinet meetings.
6. Bad apples done it. Why not? The press dutifully reported this after Enron, Tyco, Global Crossing, Abu Ghraib, Haditha, the lost billions from Iraqi ‘reconstruction,’ etc. Just say some low-level political hacks got into some sensitive positions and nearly brought down the government through sheer incompetence. Any other explanation for the ineptitude witnessed in the last six years sounds almost too fantastical to entertain. So just follow David Brooks’ advice—have one of those Reagan-style housecleanings. Just don’t forget to pay the think tank historians to write articles about how successful it was.
7. The publishing conspiracy. Military and political historians from around the world chip in to offer Cheney and Bush a modest ‘ex-dictator package,’ which includes third world real estate holdings, a small private military force (made up of Blackwater rejects), and extradition waivers. Bush, Cheney and Condi (in her stiletto-heeled boots) actually escape in a futuristic 007-style villain getaway vehicle. Package includes Club Med membership at the Tora Bora Resort (Condi ejects over Switzerland; Bush and Cheney apparently thought they were destined for an island in the South Pacific), and summer residence upgrade in the (curiously) recently-vacated Maldives. History textbook authors get generous contracts to revise their books, including chapters that generally begin with ‘The worst,’ include something like ‘president’ or ‘military strategy,’ and end with ‘in history.’ Also spawns a new James Bond movie “License to Drill.” Okay, this may not be a total rehabilition of the BushCo presidency, but short of a 1984-style purge of all libraries, websites, and newspaper archives, this may be at least a partial face-saver.
The best bet for salvaging the last two years of the BushCo presidency may be to merely allow commercial news outlets to do their job. Like they’ve been doing the last six years. Whatever that turns out to be. However, like the presidency, the commercial press could use some saving. Perhaps a new master narrative, reality-based, with mass appeal, to dramatize the demise of the BushCo White House, a suitable bookend to the ‘Countdown to War’ and ‘Showdown with Saddam’ campaigns of 2003.
‘Survivor: White House.’