Huffpost Homepage
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Tom Gilroy Headshot

W Places Apple On Head, Dares Nation To Shoot it Off

Posted: Updated:

If you missed the President's address to the nation last night, here's all you really need to know: he dared us to impeach him.

W basically got up there and said, 'I'm the same incompetent buffoon I was 6 years ago, and I'm staying the course. What're you gonna do about it?' He stared the country down and dared us to acknowledge the miles-long list of crimes and failures trailing behind him like a swatch of toilet paper stuck to the heel of an Alzheimer's patient shuffling out of a public restroom.

With disastrous opinion polls showing the public at odds with W on virtually every issue--from the war in Iraq to authorizing spying on ordinary Americans to Social Security--Bush ignored reality and stuck to a script that's been sitting on Karl Rove's laptop for five years.

And the script says 'be very afraid of all you don't understand, we have enemies you can't see anywhere, and I'm the guy who will do anything and attack anyone to protect you,' while ignoring the fact that the majority of Americans realize that not only is this utter bullshit, but that the one we're most afraid of is him.

But maybe that's the real message, not to get mired in the elusive 'right' and 'wrong' of things like torture, gutting civil rights, underfunding public education and college loans, and ignoring global warming even after it wipes one of your cities off the map. The real issue isn't whether or not al-Qaeda is calling little old ladies in Peoria or which priest's Google records are subpoenaed by the Justice Department to root out kiddie porn.

The real issue is that you're supposed to be afraid. It doesn't matter of what, it only matters that you are.

Because if you're afraid, you won't challenge, you want give voice to what you know to be true in the face of this administration's lies: that we've been sold down the river every step of the way.

So if you were deaf and reading the president's lips last night, or had ADD, or were Dan Quayle, the gist of what you were able to take in--a kind of 'Rovespeak for Dummies'---was something like this; "terrorists, terror, 9/11, weapons of mass destruction, terror, terror, courage to avenge your terror, I'll attack Hamas, I'll attack Iran, I'll attack anybody whenever I feel like it and tell you it's to avenge your terror, you're so terrified don't expect anything from us like clean drinking water, affordable health care, affordable education, jobs, or a right to privacy. You're too terrified to even think, and we need to terror, fear, terror, weapons, they'll attack again, terror....'

Not exactly grand oratory, but remember; his base is made up of fundamentalist nut cases who don't read newspapers, think the world is only a few centuries old, and who hear words like 'karma' and think it must be a Muslim codeword for 'homo.'

Of course the Rick Santorums and Bill Frists in the room were hearing 'tax cuts for the super-rich, less paying in to the social services every American wants and needs, greater access for the rich into the public trough of social security/Medicare, and more no-bid contracts,' but they weren't really listening to W; they had Rove's footnotes in their laps. With their chins resting on their chests, you probably thought they were sleeping, but if you looked closely, you could see their lips moving--an indication, in lower primates, that they're reading.

It's kind of amazing how stupid the Rove camp thinks we are. Or worse, they don't seem to even care if we're smart enough to see through them. Since the real goal is to make us afraid, they're basically saying, 'yeah, it's bullshit, even a blind man can see it. But do you have the balls to challenge it?'

The arrogance of trotting out 'national security' as one of Bush's 'strengths'--first by GOP second-stringers parroting Rove's talking points, and then blindly repeated as a truism by CNN--is an act of provocation to the American public unseen since Nixon's 'I am not a crook,' especially when it's as obvious as a baboon's ass that keeping the nation safe is where W's incompetence really shines.

I mean, who'd want to attack a nation that exports torture and declares illegal wars?

But there's the script, delivered with all the gusto of a failed soap opera audition, fooling no one--not even the GOP half of congress who faithfully obeyed each cue to stand and applaud, like a game show audience watching the studio monitor to see when the camera was going to pan their clueless faces before cutting to a commercial. I kept waiting for a lazy cameraman to accidentally catch Jeff Gannon on his knees in front of the podium waving 'Applaud' cue cards. But, alas, he was probably on his knees elsewhere.

And so on. It was literally as if the disasters of the last four and half years hadn't happened. And that's because to W & Co, they haven't. Their families haven't been touched by torture, Katrina, death in Iraq, PlameGate, pension elimination, school degradation, shitty health care or invasions of privacy--that's for the rest of us to endure. To them, it's the same comfy limo parade it's been for years, and please pass the caviar.

Sometimes in politics, base stupidity can look like resolve, and arrogance can look like courage, but this presidency has such utter disregard for the American people it can't even be bothered to perform that charade. They just repeat the same empty claims and clueless worldview and dare you to question it. The emperor is not only naked, he's turned around and is shitting on your face, with the vice president standing behind him, daring you to express even a glimmer of distaste.

Without acknowledging the public's disgust with the lies that brought us into a disgraceful illegal war, the incompetence leading to the criminal destruction of a great American city, the rising waters of scandals from Abramoff to PlameGate or his administration's getting an F on safety from the 9/11 Commission, the president droned on about vital (read 'imaginary') challenges ahead like setting up a 'Competition Commission,' but ignored the one challenge dead center in the hearts of mainstream America: how soon can we get rid of him?

We know presidents and their cabals and the super-rich don't live in the real world, but we've come to expect at least lip service recognition of the struggles of us down here who do.

Last night we gave Bush the chance to say, 'Look, I know you're unhappy, that we've screwed up badly, that we're out of money and hated around the world, promoting torture and spying on ordinary Americans, but we've learned from our mistakes and we've heard your concerns and here's what were going to do differently'

Instead, he said 'Concerns? Complaints? Everything's fine, and they'll continue to be fine, because I say they will. Want an autograph?'

The challenge has been thrown down. Are we brave enough to take it up?

Is that the William Tell Overture I hear?
[FOR DUMMIES ® is a registered trademark of Wiley Publishing, Inc.]