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Sherman Yellen Headshot

Bush and Gonzales: Dancing "The Liars' Two Step"

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There they were on the nightly news in their blue suits, white shirts, red ties, that inseparable pair - Bush and Gonzales - appearing together in solidarity on the White House lawn. The shorter Gonzales could barely keep up with the Bush strut - an intricate step mastered by our president over the years to show how resolved he is to stay on course when caught in a web of lies. It might be called "The Liars' Two Step" on Dancing with the Stars. Their appearance also brought to mind those Austin Powers films with the absurd Dr. Evil and his smaller clone Mini-Me. So different in background, so different in manner, yet what made Bush and Gonzales so alike was their infinite capacity for telling lies. It can be said of this president and his Attorney General what the acerbic writer Mary McCarthy said of Lillian Hellman, the playwright-fabulist on the Dick Cavitt Show in '79. "Every word is a lie, including and and the." Of course a lawsuit for defamation of character resulted from this comment of Miss McCarthy's. The contentious Lillian Hellman, a fine playwright but a Stalinist apologist who made claims for a wartime heroism that wasn't hers, was not one to take an insult in her stride. She died before the matter ever reached court, and the issue ended as a great quote rather than a great judgment. We may not have a lawsuit from the Bush Gonzalez lies but with any luck we may have an impeachment of Gonzales if the Democrats show some guts and the Attorney General does not step down beforehand.

If I didn't know better - and I do - I would feel sorry for Gonzales, a man so out of his depth he doesn't even lie with the impunity and assertiveness of a Bush or a Rove, men who were born to lie, whereas in Gonzales it seems an acquired characteristic, not really natural, just the desire to join the power class and get ahead. His story as a poor Hispanic rising in the world of the law to its highest office should have been a great one; it should have been a new, bright chapter in the American dream. Now it's a nightmare. Was he so inept that he could not master the playbook of lying after serving Bush and Rove for so long? Why hadn't he studied their expert manner more thoroughly? Perhaps I am too hard on him. It takes a special lying genius to be like Bush who believes his own lies as soon as they issue from his lips. Those of us who are students of this President can categorize them as code red lies, code blue lies, and code yellow lies. Sadly, Gonzales has even failed to grasp the art of targeted deflection - he is all over the place, tossing blame on his underlings and then on his busy schedule - and we get that now tired classic, the Libby lie, "I had so much to do and think about, how can you ask me to tell the truth?" Since his own underlings are either taking the fifth or trying to save themselves by telling the truth - in so far as they are capable of doing so - he must look to those above him for salvation. Poor man! For all his deep loyalty to his boss, rather than to his country - he is just another guy who lies, lies, lies with his ands and his thes in the service of this administration. The Bushies will certainly toss him overboard as soon as the night is dark enough and the seas are high enough. Alas, if you choose to serve cut-throats and pirates you may end by walking the plank.