The Reality TV Presidency
"The Vice-President is especially proud of the fact that his lips didn't move once during the entire speech."
I was watching the State of the Union Address and I suddenly started getting it confused with the Bachelor. If I substituted “connection” for “Freedom” and “amazing” for “liberty” then squinted just a bit, I could easily confuse the President with Boob Guiney or a short version of Dr. Travis Stork, a young man who may soon be wishing they had rosegiving malpractice insurance. If you don’t watch reality tv, the Bachelor’s main job is to spout platitudes about cheesy dates with women they barely know. The President's main job appears to be to spout platitudes about events he barely seems familiar with.
In the meantime, Cindy Sheehan was being arrested for wearing a “protest” t-shirt to the event while we teach the world about democracy. At this point, I find the president embarrassingly vapid when he talks about Iraq. “We’re here, we’re going to stay here, because we’re not going to break our promise. The whole lie thing shouldn’t be second-guessed and just because I completely messed up the invasion and occupation well hindsight isn’t really a strategy.”
Oddly enough, he never articulated a strategy of his own other than we like them Iraqis, they even have a whole battalion that can operate independently now and half a dozen inflatable boats in their navy. My favorite line though was “if we leave now, Bin Laden gets control of Iraq.” Uh, no one in 2003 would have given Bin Laden any chance of getting control of Iraq, so what’s that say about the effectiveness of U.S. strategy in 2006? And why the heck is Bin Laden still running around making audition tapes for American Idolators? If you asked me what the real problem with the President’s speech is, it would be this. His rhetoric has about as much relation to reality as reality tv.
I did like some of what the President had to say about alternative fuels since it’s remarkably similar to what Jimmy Carter called for almost thirty years ago minus the shale oil conversion business. Fascinatingly, the president is big on ethanol which currently mostly comes from corn which is grown in red states. One of the keys to his energy policy appears to be let’s find ways to make more energy and different ways to power our cars. Can we talk about the paradigm a little bit?
Has it occurred to anyone that equating energy policy with every adult in America having a motor vehicle happens to be part of what’s getting us in trouble in the first place. Real long term plans talk about mass transit, conservation, and finding more efficient ways to lay out communities so that maybe oil becomes less necessary. What I see is that we have a country full of single drivers getting into huge traffic jams while navigating lives built around having house, school, and work as much as fifty miles apart. Of course, the last time W had a driver’s license, he hadn’t been governor yet. I also loved his reference to “safe” nuclear power which wasn’t that far removed from dangerous Iranian nuclear development that’s stemming from their not so “safe” nuclear power program.
Let this day be remembered as the day we gained a Justice Alito and lost Coretta Scott King. Sad to think that she died within months of Rosa Parks. I didn’t know it until I looked it up earlier today, but Mrs. King was in some cases ahead of her husband on issues, in particular his opposition to the war in Vietnam. She also took a broad view of civil rights and backed gay marriage and opposed the War in Iraq in recent years. I don’t think Justice Alito sees the world in quite the same way. I also wonder who was honoring Coretta Scott King's legacy more last night W or his Crawford erstwhile houseguest, Cindy Sheehan. How can you kick someone out for a t-shirt on a night when you give lip service to a famous dissenter?
In the meantime, I’m still wondering how anyone who worked in the oil business, invaded the second largest oil exporting country in the world, took money from Enron, presided over years when Exxon Mobil reported record profit, could tell America that he’s serious about stopping our addiction to oil or is it “awl”? Sometimes things just don’t add up like when Dr. Travis asked the lady who’d been married before to hang around just so he could embarrass her again at the rose ceremony or when Paula Abdul shakes her head and says thanks I enjoyed your audition, but you’re just not right for this competition. I hate to tell America this, but your president isn’t really planning to give any of us a rose. chancelucky