Through A Funhouse Mirror Darkly
Like me, I’m sure you remember going to the funhouse as a child and walking through the various obstacles, finally arriving at the place where they had those mirrors that distorted your reflection into something hideously tall or fat or Picasso-like. I was never very impressed with that portion of the funhouse, so I was not impressed by this week’s distorted reflections on the past, present and future presented by all those Republicans who flooded onto the airwaves in an attempt to drown out the Mouth of the South, Rush Limbaugh. Unfortunately, they might as well have left it to Rush, because they didn’t say anything different than what he’s been emitting from his foaming mouth.
To me the parade hit its stride on Thursday when Ari Fleischer opened up Hardball, triggering a tug-of-war with the usually unflappable Chris Matthews over the truth about how the Bush Administration led us into the war in Iraq. Unbelievably, Fleischer sat there denying that anything but the absolute truth was doled out by Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld in the lead-up to the invasion. In the face of clip after clip showing Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Bush himself referring to the threat of a “mushroom cloud” or nuclear attack on the US, Fleischer denied it had ever happened. The whole thing deteriorated into a shout-down match between Fleischer and Matthews that lasted until the very end of the segment with neither man actually listening to what the other had to say. The next day, Chris Matthews, clued in by viewers like me, homed in on one of the last salvos thrown by the clever Fleischer. He tossed out one of the old favorite lines from the Bushies: “We needed to bring Saddam Hussein down so that he didn’t attack us again,” implying, of course, that Hussein was behind the events of 9-11.
By bringing on Bush’s old Communications Director, Chris Matthews gave the revisers of history in favor of George W. Bush a chance to once again cloud the judgment of the American People with the same old lies that they used to get us into Iraq. While it is my new-found belief that we should let the Republicans be Republicans and say what they have to say, I was dismayed to see that they were being allowed to come back into the discussion at this late date and try to push the same old agenda. Fleischer justified the whole thing by asserting that the Obama Administration was “better off” for not having Saddam Hussein in the world. That’s an easy thing to say, and I’m sure that it plays well with the Republican base who still believes the lies told by Mr. Fleischer on behalf of his boss about Hussein’s involvement in 9-11. But I fail to see the logic in this position, seeing that an unchecked Iran now may be on the verge of developing or acquiring nuclear weaponry. The truly evil Saddam Hussein wouldn’t have allowed such a thing, and we could be sitting back watching from Washington as two Muslim nations wrangled over the issue. Instead, we have troops sitting in the sights of any such weaponry. That doesn’t make us safer. Indeed, it raises the risks to our security.
As if that weren’t enough revisionism, I was joined for my morning coffee this morning by The Dark Prince, Dick Cheney, courtesy of John King on “State of the Union” on CNN. Michelle Obama’s so-called “charm offensive” holds no candle to that embarked upon today by the former Vice President. This wasn’t the Dr. Strangelove of old. This was a genial, at times reasonable-sounding, gentleman who never once stooped to that sinister demeanor he used so effectively when talking about the dangers we faced from Iraq. Instead, he coolly disagreed with President Obama most of the time and agreed with him occasionally. Even when stating that he felt that Obama’s policies would make us unsafe in the days ahead, he did it with warmth and good humor. Call me a cynic, but I detected a little bit of the Norman Bates entreaty at the end of Psycho. “I wouldn’t even hurt a fly,” he seemed to whisper underneath. He knows there’s a sizable call for an investigation into his “activities” while in office. He closed with an assessment of the War in Iraq positing that, “We have accomplished the things we went there to do.” Isn’t it nice to know that the whole thing was not only “the right thing to do,” but has “turned out just fine”? It just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, doesn’t it?
And what Sunday would be complete without the always-smiling face of Representative Eric Cantor (R-VA) to tell us that Obama and the Democrats are making a mess of things when all we really need is lots and lots of bigger tax breaks for the big guys and investor class? “Come back,” he says through his toothy smile. “Come back, to the wonderful days of George W. Bush.” In other words, Rep. Cantor and his Republican colleagues in the Congress are telling us that if we’ll just “stay the course” that the Bush Administration set us on, all will be well for the economy. That’s some crust, isn’t it? Where have I heard that phrase “stay the course” before? Oh, that’s right. It was the entire policy position of George W. Bush on the war in Iraq. I can see why the Republicans would want to return to all those happy days when they wielded all the power in Washington, before that nasty November day when the American People “just said no.”
[Ed. In case you missed it, here’s the largest part of the Stewart-Cramer confrontation. Click here]
But the Chutzpah Award for the day goes to Tucker Carlson. You remember him, the uber-conservative commentator on MSNBC who lost his show about the same time he was the first to stumble over his two left feet out of the competition on Dancing with the Stars. I cannot tell a lie. I have long held Mr. Carlson in great contempt, so please consider that as I launch at him as many torpedoes as I can find in my arsenal. Today he was “outraged” that Jon Stewart dared to call Jim Cramer and CNBC on their malfeasance in the face of the growing then popping bubble of Wall Street. “Who does Stewart think he is,” the yuppified pundit railed. “He’s just a comedian, not a journalist,” he sniffed. “How dare he take on Jim Cramer and CNBC.” It went on and on ad nauseam, and thankfully I can’t remember it all so I won’t bore you with it here. But he was forced to admit by Howie Kurtz that he had an axe of his own to grind with Mr. Stewart, because Stewart called him a “Republican hack” some years ago when they were both on CNN’s Crossfire one day. And here it comes: how Tucker Carlson won the Chutzpah Award. After denying that he was a Republican hack and has anything whatsoever to do with the “silly Republican Party,” (his words, not mine) he said, “I’m the least partisan guy you know.” TA DA!!!!!!!! And the winner is: Noted Conservative Commentator, TUCKER CARLSON!
I admit it. I laughed so hard that I almost choked on my bacon and eggs. The day was complete. From Thursday afternoon until Sunday morning there had been a steady parade on television of Republicans asserting that the Bush Administration hadn’t done anything wrong in the lead-up to Iraq, that Cheney is a “nice guy,” the Bush Economic Policy is the solution to our financial problems, and even that noted conservative commentators are the epitome of non-partisan spokespersons. It was so ugly that it was enough to break all those funhouse mirrors. It seems that in the face of a dwindling membership and non-existent support for their “agenda of NO!”, the Republicans have decided to take us on a trip to the funhouse with them as they “reflect” on themselves in the warped mirrors of their minds. If I weren’t such a wicked Democrat, I would call for an intervention. But I am a wicked Democrat and am quite content to see them as they dementedly squirm at the sight of their own distorted self-image.
Since they are “THE ONLY TRUE BELIEVERS” in the Republic, perhaps they should take out their Bibles and read that passage that says, “If thy eye deceive thee, pluck it out.”
KEEP FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT.