THE OUTRAGEOUS SILENCE OF
DUMB AND DUMBER!
BUSH AND CHENEY PLAY MUTE
AS THE NATION BLEEDS!
A TvNewsLIES Analysis - November, 2005
It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable: Moliere
Let’s get our terms straight here. We’re not talking “Dumb” as in lacking intellectual acuity or understanding. We’re talking “Dumb” as in lacking the power or ability of speech. We’re talking about a stunt in which the President and Vice President have turned themselves into non communicative mutes. We’re talking about George Bush and Dick Cheney, the silent duo who will not answer to the people of this nation. We’re talking about two men who scoff at any attempt to hold them accountable for their crimes.
We’re talking about an untenable and unacceptable moment in our history, when silence has become a blight on the presidency and a slap in the face to the nation.
We’re talking about a nefarious President and his cohort who have chosen to play Dumb and Dumber in a very dangerous game.
It is absolutely astounding that, despite all the scandals and failures that surround their administration, the two men at the top simply refuse to utter a word of explanation. No matter who asks the questions, they refuse to answer. Our nation is bleeding from the wounds that these men consciously conspired to inflict, but they have nothing at all to say to us. At this crucial moment when the country is in free fall, George Bush and Dick Cheney have conveniently lost their tongues. The leaders of the free world are playing mute, and it is high time to call their bluff.
Not surprisingly, their ruse is being treated by the press as ordinary as inconsequential. Only days ago in Argentina, the President “batted away questions,” about Karl Rove. He “declined to answer,” they wrote; he “sidestepped the question.” No one talked of a “cover up” or a “conspiracy,” - no one at all.
Despite the apparent evasiveness of the President, the reporters who asked about a major scandal seemed unperturbed that he simply ‘wouldn’t comment.” They showed no overt frustration or disappointment. They asked no follow up questions and raised no additional voices. Instead, when the man in the limelight waved them off, the members of the press simply folded their tents and meekly crept away.
The moral of the story is pretty clear: playing Dumb isn’t really a dumb move at all. In fact, it works so well that it reeks of Karl Rove cunning.
A fairly reliable political tactic warns that if something ain’t broken, don’t fix it. To prove the validity of that statement, consider the way in which the Bush administration positioned itself from day one. From the start, their message was clear and unmistakable:
We are above the people and we are above the law. We are accountable to no one. We are responsible to no one. We will tolerate no questions, no criticism, and no investigations. We are the power, and we will destroy anyone who gets in our way.
That strategy has been eminently successful for nearly five years. During that time it was never broken and there was absolutely no need to fix it, because much of the nation cheered it on. But as the poet knew, even the best laid plans of mice, men, and neocons can go astray. And so they did.
Somehow, in the past few weeks, the roof has caved in on the Bush White House. Somehow, despite the arrogant belief that they could get away with anything, the Bush team is up against the proverbial wall. And somehow, for the first time in all these years, people are asking questions.
But questions are not enough, as Special Counsel Fitzgerald discovered in the Plame case. They are worthless without the answers, and a measured silence can assure that they remain little more than enigmas. And so, we see the efficacy of the Dumb and Dumber routine by our leaders. They refuse to speak to us. They refuse to answer our questions. They remain mute about the most important issues that this nation has faced in generations. And they get away with it.
But, in reality, that silence is totally and abjectly unacceptable. As elected officials, our leaders are accountable to every single one of us. Their actions must be consistent with the provisions of the Constitution they swore to uphold, and they must answer any and all questions about the decisions they make. That’s not a choice they have. It’s an obligation of their office.
President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have failed miserably in that obligation. They cannot go on doing so. It is time that they are forced to come before this nation to explain the failures of their policies and to clarify their roles in the crimes that have been committed on their watch.
Among a very long list of misdeeds, these two men MUST, at the very least, clearly and fully explain the following:
Don’t hold your breath. It’s not going to happen, at least not now. George Bush and Dick Cheney are not clamoring for air time to answer questions about their dismal policies. But don’t despair either. There is hope just over the horizon, in – of all places - the White House Rose Garden.
THE GOOD NEWS
The good news is that the time is right. Actually, it’s perfect. If we are to believe every major poll in the nation, the American people are slowly awakening from a long and painful sleep. The Bush Administration has lost its grip on the mind set of the nation for the very first time.
Granted, the media are not about to launch into any dramatic investigations of the high crimes that could bring George Bush and his cartel to their trembling knees. There will be no Watergate revelations by inspired journalists and no there is no Linda Tripp out there, taping incriminating evidence. But for the first time in all these years there truly is hope.
The President’s poll numbers are plummeting to unknown depths. Cheney’s numbers have disappeared into the abyss. The veneer has rubbed off the façade of great leadership that George Bush and company enjoyed for so long. The swaggering cowboy created by Karl Rove is struggling to walk without his puppet strings for the first time in his presidency. And he’s tripping over his own feet.
Dick Cheney is nowhere to be seen, and is certainly not on the talk show circuit right now. Dumb’s the word for Cheney, at least for now. George Bush is repeating the same old phrases over and over: “You’re trying to get me to comment on the investigation,” he told reporters the other day, “which I'm not going to do," Dumb’s the word for him as well, but not for long. Dumb and Dumber must be stopped. They cannot be allowed to continue playing their deadly game. They simply cannot.
The Congress at large won’t do it. The few voices of opposition that have been raised will get nowhere. They cannot get the President to put an end to the game of silence. But the White House Press Corps can. They now have an unprecedented chance to redeem themselves for sins past. In recent weeks they have actually confronted an unnerved and pathetic Scott McClellan about the Plame case. They asked the tough questions and followed up with more and more challenges. What a refreshing change. It wasn’t much, but it was a start.
So now it’s time for act two. It’s the perfect time for the White House Press Corps to take on the President!
Right now, only 40% of Americans believe that George W. Bush is "honest and trustworthy," and 58% do not. The WH Press Corps owes it to the nation to speak for that majority in a legitimate series of unstaged press conferences. If they act in unison, if they stand together, if they refuse to be manipulated and directed by the WH, it can be done. If they refuse to hand in questions beforehand and insist that there be random selection of reporters, it can be done.
In another time, George Bush and Dick Cheney would have been forced to publicly explain their roles in every scandal that has touched this White House. In this time, with it extraordinary policy of secrecy and subterfuge, that is unlikely to happen.
Still, Dumb and Dumber can remain unresponsive for only so long. Earlier voices of protest against their crimes are being vindicated by the high degree of disillusion coming from every corner of the country. But remember - as we wait for something new to happen - the nation is bleeding profusely and can no longer wait for a transfusion. People are dying. National security has been compromised. There are too many holes than need to be filled.
The President and Vice President must not be allowed the choice of remaining mute. They must explain themselves and their policies. That process can be put into high gear with the introduction of unrestricted, open, no-holds-barred press conferences with the President. It will not solve all the problems we face, but it can stanch the bleeding considerably.
If the process does not begin, and if the present momentum ends, we may very well hemorrhage as a nation and die. If the White House Press Corps does not make an honest effort to round open the door to the truth, and if the silence continues, we may not be a nation worth saving at all.