By Ed Naha
To paraphrase the great American humorist Fred Allen: You can take all the sincerity in Congress, place it in the navel of a firefly and still have enough room for three caraway seeds and Tom DeLay's heart.
Ah, the Republican-led Congress. How noble an institution and, now, it is wracked with grief. The passing of Terri Schiavo has sent tremors through the largest base of the Republican Party…the severely brain-damaged. Oh, sure, there are a lot of them still holding office but, somehow, the cable-news orgy covering Terri's fade-out, replete with daily news conferences ("She's fine! She's talking! She's playing the accordion! And she's taken up juggling!"), will be missed. Especially by Republicans who were counting on this Carny show to last a little while longer in order to mask what they've really been doing the past couple of weeks.
Let's start with Tom (Achy-Breaky Heart) DeLay, the ethically challenged (with the rebukes to prove it) second-ranking House GOP lawmaker, before moving up to Dubya. Saint Thomas railed at the heavens following Schiavo's demise! "This loss happened because our legal system did not protect the people who need protection most, and that will change. The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today. Today we grieve, we pray, and we hope to God this fate never befalls another." (Unless cable news ratings or floundering political careers demand it.)
DeLay, who allowed his daughter to hot-tub with lobbyists, took the high (for him) road. "Congress for many years his shirked its responsibility to hold the judiciary accountable. No longer." He raised the prospect of impeaching some of the "arrogant and out of control judiciary that thumbs its nose at Congress and the president" and, basically, obeyed Florida’s state laws as well as Federal law. Please note: the House isn't very involved in judicial impeachment (it’s the Senate), most of the judges involved were members of DeLay’s own party, and the harshest criticisms leveled against Dubya's so-called government came from a conservative Republican judge Stanley F. Birch Jr.. Birch went out of his way to castigate Bush and congressional Republicans for acting “in a manner demonstrably at odds with our Founding Fathers’ blueprint for governance of a free people - our Constitution.”
Ooops. Now, unless DeLay can do some sort of grave-robbing trick or find himself a new tube-feeder, he's going to have to face his various ethical probes.
And, with Ms. Schiavo's demise, Dubya is going to have to try running the country (for a change). Missed by the media during the "great debate" over Terri (kind of hard since an overwhelming majority of Americans thought the removal of the feeding tube was right - some debate, huh?), were several classic Bushit moments. His flogging of his privatization accounts (which, by the way, have NOTHING to do with Social Security's problems) has been taking enough heat to make him wish he'd signed the Kyoto Treaty.
NOBODY IS BUYING INTO THIS. NOBODY. Despite his live info-mercials with Republican shills, this thing is flying like a Dodo. But does that stop the bubble-boy? Nope. In Iowa, Bush warned politicians who haven't been playing ball his way.
"To answer the question of the skeptics, we do have a serious problem. Now is the time to fix it, and I think there is a political price for not getting involved in the process. I think there is a political price for saying, 'It's not a problem, I'm going to stay away from the table.' I believe there will be a bad political consequence for people who are unwilling to sit down and talk about the issue."
Reverting to Jersey boy status, may I suggest he go sit at his precious table, grab some pretzels and stuff 'em in his pie-hole for the next four long years?
Oh, but there's more. With his poll numbers falling (he's slightly ahead of Typhoid Mary), the American people turning their backs on him and grumbling within his own party about his Don Quixote charging into a wood chipper routine, Dubya stands aloof and proud. "Shouldn't we give people the option of making the decision themselves? That seems like a reasonable approach for government."
Nope. That's a reasonable approach for a Self-Help group.
"The issue is beginning to permeate," he said, using a Big Word. "People, whether they're sitting on a tractor or anywhere else in society (Holy Mashed Metaphors, ChimpMan!) , are beginning to hear the message: We have a problem."
That's why folks are staying away, Junior. You're the problem. And the only tractor you've ever sat on had the name "Tonka" on the side.
Summing up his bubble deflating around him, he declared: "I'm going to be stubborn. And we're gong to keep WORKING this." (Wanking might have been a better verb, there.)
Oh, by the way, our Boy King has decided to take a new approach to flogging his dead privatization horse. Instead of inviting OLDER shills to his "supporters only" chats, he's going to invite YOUNGER shills. Can't argue logic.
Also, lost in the Carny of "the culture of life" blitz, Bush trotted out his wife Laura ("The Joker," dig that smile!) for an initiative that urges at-risk children to shun gangs and drugs and avoid making dead-end choices, like running on the Republican ticket.
“Children throughout America face a lot of problems,” the Joker grinned, telling the world about her initiative, Helping America’s Youth, which stresses that every child needs a caring adult -- a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, teacher, coach or mentor. (No priests or Boy Scout leaders, puleeeze.)
“In the fall, we’re hosting a White House conference on helping America’s youth, bringing together researchers, community leaders, educators and others who want to find solutions to the challenges young Americans face,” Mrs. Bush said. In other words: nothing's going to be done.
Junior also promoted his initiative to give religious groups equal footing with nonsectarian groups in competing for federal contracts. Civil libertarians fear the government will wind up paying for worship, eroding the constitutional separation between church and state, but the president says religious organizations often do a better job of serving the poor and meeting other social needs.
Unable to win passage of legislation to accomplish his goal, Bush has bypassed Congress and made more taxpayer money available to religious groups through executive orders and regulations.
Bush noted that religious charities received $2 billion last year in taxpayer money -- up from $1.17 billion in 2003.
“I think there’s a vital role for government to play,” Bush said. “But first we’ve got to understand the limitations of government. Government can do a lot of things, but one of the things government is not really good at is love."
No shit, Sherlock. Ask any maimed Iraqi child.
And, oh yeah, a committee asked to rate pre-Iraqi war intelligence that led us to invade that country, stated that the President and his underlings got everything "dead wrong," last Thursday. (Please note: no one needed a feeding tube for this report.) The panel, headed by senior federal appeals court Judge Laurence Silberman, a Republican, and former Virginia Democratic Senator Charles Robb said that Bush's take on global intelligence (key word: intelligence) was so lame that it could also complicate American efforts to mend fences with allies who opposed the Iraq war. U.S. officials might have a hard time persuading other nations to accept new American intelligence on the world's next hot spot after all the fantasy Bush has gushed over as fact in the past four year. Bush’s response? Something along the lines of “a-heh-heh-heh.”
Mark Silva of the "Chicago Tribune" wrote “Bush has long refused to assign specific blame for intelligence failures to himself or top aides. What is not clear is whether Americans will accept this in the face of this latest, unusually scathing report.”
But Silva pointed out, Bush has a tried and true way of dealing with these things.
“Confronting two large-scale intelligence failures during his tenure, the Sept. 11 attacks and the misreading of Saddam Hussein’s arsenal, President Bush has largely escaped voters’ wrath by convincing the public he is a man of action who is moving quickly to tackle any problems.
“Bush took this tack again Thursday.”
Walter Pincus and Peter Baker of "The Washington Post" summed it up thusly: “Leading up to the Iraq war, the panel found, the briefings were ‘disastrously one-sided’ and ‘more alarmist and less nuanced’ than longer studies, such as the National Intelligence Estimates. The daily briefings never cast doubt on prior information provided to Bush and thus ’seemed to be “selling” intelligence in order to keep its customers, or at least the First Customer, interested.’ ”
NBC News’s David Gregory reported: “The U.S. went to war in Iraq claiming Saddam Hussein threatened America with weapons of mass destruction. The president’s hand-picked commission concluded today, the intelligence behind that decision was quote, ‘worthless’, ‘misleading’, ‘dead wrong’. This morning, however, the president sidestepped any personal responsibility.”
When Gregory had Silberman and Robb to himself, he asked them again the question he tried to get them to answer during their public briefing: “Does the president of the United States bear ultimate responsibility for bad intelligence on his watch?”
Robb said: “The commander in chief is responsible for everything that happens on his or her watch.”
And, while Terri was still sleeping?
The government awarded Haliburton a bonus for all the great work they've done in Iraq. A-heh-heh-heh.
One last quote. It's from Aesop, the fella who wrote fables and who probably would recoil at this current fantasy land we're living in.
"We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. "