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Ian Gurvitz Headshot

White House PTSD

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So, first the President goes in for a Colonoscopy. They scope him out and remove some polyps. To quote a friend: "It's the first time in his life that he wasn't full of shit." Then Cheney goes in for a heart tune up. Or perhaps a heart implant. At least they caught it in time. Luckily, he was in a meeting when someone heard him mutter "oil can." Meanwhile, Tony Snow is back, looking as white as, well, snow, but the debilitating Chemo hasn't kept him from doing his job, as long as he follows doctor's orders by avoiding alcohol, fatty foods and answering direct questions.

Now, perhaps this is all just part of the natural aging process? Or perhaps, looked at symptomatically, they're a signs of a deeper problem: White House PTSD, triggered by cumulative anxiety, the result of years of flagrant, boldfaced lying. Anyone who's told just a single lie -- white or otherwise -- knows the mental acrobatics required to keep the story straight, just in the face of a skeptical friend or inquisitive co-worker. Imagine having to run a 6-year string of bullshit past the eyes of the world. Day after day. Press conference after press conference. Not to mention keeping one's poker face under the searing, armor-piercing questions of Larry King. This kind of thing would have to take a physical toll on any person of normal strength and intelligence. Who knows the effect it's having on the President and Veep. One's old and mean. The other's selfish and stupid. Just imagine the mental and physical exhaustion involved in keeping up this level of mendacity for so many years...

Compassionate Conservativism. ("They both start with "C," which Karl says is good. Like a rhyme. It makes us sound like we give a crap about poor folks, but we really don't. Neat.")
No Child Left Behind. ("Education? Right. Just call me Veto Corleone.")
Restoring integrity to the White House.
We need to privatize Social Security.
Harriet Miers would make a terrific Supreme Court justice.
The jury's still out on Evolution.
The jury's still out on Global Warming. ("Wanna see some greenhouse gasses? Pull my finger.")
We're going to git Osama. We're gonna hunt him down. ("I look tough holding this megaphone. Gives me a boner.")
I really don't think much about Osama.
Pakistan? ("Musharraf says he's not there. He went down to them caves personally and yelled out "Marco." And no one said "Polo." I think that's pretty clear.")
Saddam attacked us on 9/11.
9/11 was perpetrated by "evil doers." ("Like that scary, bony-lookin' guy in Star Wars.")
Saddam has weapons of mass destruction. Chemical, biological, and nucular.
Saddam bought yellow cake uranium tubes from Niger. ("I like yellow cake. Especially when it's got that chocolate frostin' on it. I like to lick my finger and scoop it up when no one's lookin'.")
Don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud. (Sung with Cheney and Condy Rice in 3-part harmony.)
We'll be greeted as liberators.
We're fightin' a war on terror.
The war will pay for itself.
Mission Accomplished.
We didn't know about the levees.
Heck of a job, Brownie.
We're bringing Democracy to the Middle East.
Our brave fighting men and women will get the finest care in the world.
Walter Reed? ("I ain't got money to fix a hospital; I'm fightin' a war, dammit.")
I will await the findings of the 9/11 commission.
("Screw the 9/11 commission.") I don't care if everyone in the world except Laura and Barney disagree; I'm still not pulling out.
The Federal prosecutors were fired for poor job performance.
If anyone in my administration leaked a CIA agent's name, they're gone.
No one in my administration leaked the name.
Take a walk, Scooter.
Ok, someone in my administration leaked the name, but let's move on.
It's not the Congress' job to run the war.
It's not an escalation; it's a surge. ("Karl says 'surge,' is a good word. People will like it. Makes us sound tough. Like we got a boner. Everything with him lately is boners.")
I'm the decider.
General Petraeus is the decider.
I have full confidence in Alberto Gonzalez. He serves at the pleasure of me.
Harriet Miers is not testifying. (She's so short, I told her to crouch down real low so they can't find her. Can't serve her if they can't find her.)
Al Qaeda in Iraq is part of regular Al Qaeda. ("It's like a franchise. Like Dairy Queen. Don't you see? They even wear
those snow cones on their heads.")
We need Guantanemo. ("The evil doers have the secret battle plans and they ain't gonna give 'em up, voluntarily.
Waterboarding? Surfboarding? Hell, all sounds like a day at the beach to me. Still don't git how we got a base in Cuba. Maybe it's like some kind of Commie time share.")
I swear to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Exhausting. And I'm just working from memory. Imagine if the entire world had you on camera every step of the way and you're sitting there trying to remember which lie you told, when, and to whom. It would have to be exhausting. Now, maybe the President did just have a routine Colonoscopy. And maybe Cheney just took a trip to Replicant Jiffy Lube. Or maybe this is what happens when people have to juggle this many lies for so long. Eventually, it would have to grind you down, haunt your dreams, and plague your every waking moment-- like the Tell Tale Heart-- and that could manifest itself physically.

So, if the President should suddenly come down with a case of Shingles. Or if Cheney's power source should misfire and sparks start to fly out of his head, like Yul Brynner at the end of West World. Or if Karl Rove's ED should recur. Or if Alberto Gonzalez should become the victim of uncontrollable flatulence. Perhaps they're the cumulative signs of White House PTSD. As a nation at war, we can only watch...and wait...and hope.