Playing Bush league politics

"May I please have some more arsenic in my water, Mommy?", asks a darling little blonde girl in a blue shirt, who's holding a glass up to the camera as she awaits its filling with poison by the monstrous, killer—of—children Bush Administration. "More salmonella in my cheeseburger, please?", queries a young boy anxious to ingest a gut—wrenching and possibly deadly dose of nasty, little bugs, compliments of those corrupt, evil cattle barons who are in cahoots with this Texas bumpkin of a prez.

This is political discourse as practiced by the DNC in April of 2001. If you are tempted to complain about negative ads during a campaign year, ask yourself if it's any worse than what was sight—and—sound bite—ed into your home within the first 100 days of the Bush Presidency. I don't now about you, but it doesn't seem to get any worse than this. Unless, of course, you want to include I—coulda—woulda—shoulda—been—President Al Gore's recent rant regarding Abu Ghraib, and his demand that nearly the entire Cabinet resign. Either way, what's going on here?

Hardball? Strawman Olympics? Fun with Hillary and Daschle? All of the above?

The practitioners of Politik Democratique have consistently proved themselves far superior to Karl Rove and the Bushies in wielding the propaganda sword. Goebbels would be proud. Conservatives tend to fault, blame or accuse the liberal media for this state of affairs. But the Dems do it because it's effective. It actually works. The LM — that's Liberal Media, in case you hadn't guessed — co—conspire with the disloyal opposition to drag down the approval ratings of the sitting President.

In the words of Stormin' Norman, that is bovine scatology! Gasp! How dare I utter such blasphemy?! Because it's true. Bush, outside of Karl Rove, has been his own worst political enemy. How often can he pull the trigger without ever taking the pistol out of the holster and not find himself without a leg to stand on?

Think about it using a military analogy. You come across a land mine that's not even hidden. It's out in plain view, left by the enemies in a previous administration. Further suppose that this is a new model mine that cannot be disarmed, could be timed for explosion or, if disturbed in any fashion, will detonate thereby warning the enemy hidden in the distance. Do you tip—toe around? Or do you alert your opponents and force an engagement by setting the thing off ?

When Clinton left office in January of 2001, he left the political landscape littered with these landmines. Knowing thy enemy is the basic precept of war and Commander Clinton is a master of the ins and outs of political combat. He knew with certainty that those docile Republican elephants would be stomping all over those landmines.

Kaboom! The arsenic—levels—in—drinking—water and salmonella—in—cheeseburgers mines go off. The DNC is plastering ads all over the tube. Daschle, who, by the way, in the Fall of 2000 had suggested delaying the change in arsenic levels until better science was available, expresses his 'outrage' over the decision to delay implementation of the new standard. Daschle's outrage has proven so constant and of such a fever pitch, that I'm convinced it's drug—induced and prevents his getting a good night's sleep. And...the heavy—hitters weigh in with Whoopi getting into the act! (And it is an act.) She philosophizes with Jay as to whether she should put her own arsenic in her own drinking water or just let 'them' do it. Kaboom! The keeping—the—Vieques—naval—gunnery—range—open trip wire is pulled. Rev Sharpton and his Empire State sidekick, the freshly minted junior Senator from New Yawk, rush into the breech to stand with all their poor, downtrodden Puerto Rican constituents. Who, by the way, without their photo—op—grabbing champions by their side, would be the unwitting victims of the Republican military—industrial, war—mongering complex.

Being short of ready cash, or wishing to so appear as to avoid the collection of legal judgments against him for prior transgressions, Big Al decides that he's a little too big after all and opts for the NYC Metropolitan Detention Center diet plan. With it being free of charge and serving food like that, who wants to eat anyway? No wonder he's called sharp.

Now, drive—the—point—home time. With regard — I like that phrase — to the President's response to these issues — he folded. Had a good hand and folded. Bluffed right out of his shoes. I didn't even see his index finger pointed skyward and mouth open ready to voice his defense of the positions taken. Barely a whimper.

Why? In both instances, the facts behind Bush's initial positions were rock solid. When these issues were du jur I made a point to seek out any reason why the Administration should concede the high ground to the Dems. I found none. If you doubt my word, just spend some time Googling these subjects. The trumpeting of these issues was a political ploy of the purest essence. The Democrats don't even need smoke and mirrors. They magically materialize issues out of thin air. It's a mesmerizing wonder to behold.

Problem is, Bush and Rove were themselves mesmerized. To take a position that is buttressed by fact, consistent with one's philosophy, and then abandon it by gratuitously caving to the opposition's media hammering, is to me the worst of all political faux pas. There is absolutely no advantage in so doing. How else does one simultaneously sour one's support, demonstrate to the uncertain that all along one was wrong, and confirm to one's enemies how easily one may be had?

If you know, please tell me. No, tell Karl and Bush — before it's too late.