The Coastal Post - January 2000

None Dare Call It Idiocy
George W. Founders As A Stunned Press Watches

By Tamara Baker

St. Paul, Minnesota, Monday, Oct. 11, 1999-How long can it last? Really, I'd like to know. How long can the Beltway Boys go on pretending that there's any there where the Governor of Texas is concerned?

They did their level best to ignore Tucker Carlson's brutally (and unintentionally) revealing piece in Talk magazine, even as they were actively putting words in Hillary Clinton's mouth concerning what she didn't say in an article on her in that very same issue.

They have blown off, at the behest of the RNC, Shrub's past drug usage, to the extent that, joining the other two self-confessed GOP druggie governors, several of the conservative TV tabloid talkers have outed themselves as either druggies themselves, or as being willing to lie to the FBI about the drug usage of their druggie friends. (Now remember: These are the same folks who got all bent out of shape over Bill Clinton's alleged failure to inhale. Talk about the death of outrage!)

And now the celebrity press corps is confronted on Duhbya's part with a series of 180-degree back-pedaling worthy of Jesse Ventura himself.

Shrub's Iron Triangle puppetmasters have had the GOP's front-runner doing the following:

a) Court his conservative base by begging Pat Buchanan to stay in the Republican Party, even as every other GOPer was belatedly bashing Pitchfork for the anti-Semitism, which they have known about for the past three decades;

b) Kneel in front of the Rev. Pat Robertson to swear his religio-conservative fealty and opposition to abortion, gay rights and all else the Rev. hates;

c) Do a fast 180 by bashing Congressional Republicans over their plans for the Earned Income Tax Credit (a pure example of grandstanding, considering that even if Clinton doesn't veto the GOP's EITC scheme, it's so blatantly in violation of the law that it would collapse at the first court challenge, and even its sponsors know it)

d) Keep up the good cop/bad cop act far longer and far clumsier than was good for him, considering that he managed to raise the ire of not only Tom DeLay and Rush Limbaugh, but also of the Rev. Mr. Robertson himself, whose hands were still covered with the oil he used to anoint Shrub as the right wing's man. (Bear in mind that Ralph Reed, Robertson's brain, is a Bush buddy from way back. Robertson will quietly re-endorse Shrub as soon as it's safe again to do so.)

e) Do an even clumsier 180 of his 180, wherein he denied ever dissing the rest of the Republican Party-a move that, as Jake Tapper noted in the October 6th issue of Salon, stunned the reporters witnessing it: To a completely incredulous press corps-which not only had been in attendance the day before but had both written and audio copies of his speech-Bush insisted that all he had been saying the day before was that the GOP is too often "mischaracterized." It wasn't that Republicans are "speaking a sterile language of rates and numbers, of CBO and GNP"-as he had said Tuesday-but rather that "oftentimes people only hear the sterile numbers of economic news that we talk about," as he said on Wednesday. It wasn't that "too often, on social issues, my party has painted an image of America slouching toward Gomorrah," as he'd said Tuesday-but rather that "oftentimes people only hear the gloom-and-doom scenario." As of press time, it wasn't clear if the governor's staff would be providing a Bush-to-English/English-to-Bush dictionary for future speeches. All of this in the space of less than two weeks.

This isn't triangulation, this is stupidity. How long, oh Lord, how long?

Reporters and commentators in the rest of the nation-even comedians like David Letterman, who called Duhbya a "colossal boob" last week-are willing to say out loud that the man's a twit. Why not the Beltway CelebCorps?

Why, instead, do we have Maureen Dowd regularly doing for Duhbya the print equivalent of what Anne Manning did for Newt Gingrich?

Why do we have Howell Raines' New York Times patting the Bushlet on the head for standing up to the Big Bad GOP?

Why is the celebrity press corps determined to prop up this buffoon at all costs?

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