Wednesday, April 06, 2005

America's Future Is A Drawer In A Filing Cabinet 

No, that's not a metaphor for our diminished American future attributable to the always pessimistic, hate-America crowd.

That's direct from our current President. A man of bold vision, about whom you always know where he stands. Because what you see is what you get. Because what he says, even when it seems wrong-headed, requires respect, because he says what he means and means what he says, and what he says he means is what he does, and what he does is what he means, based on deep convictions, and what he promises to do, he does, because results are what matter to him, which is what makes him bold, a man of bold vision, which demands respect, because...

This litany, this mantra is the magic incantation that has allowed the Republican party, with the immense help of the SCLM, to keep the majority of the American electorate, who, by and large, don't really agree with this President on that many issues, from laughing outright at him.

There's a reason that he doesn't appear at any venue that has not been pre-packed with loyalists. It's because he says immensely silly things, that if he means them, are actually deadly serious silly things.

Here's the President in West Virginia yesterday, his latest stop on his Bamboozlapalooza tour to destroy Social Security.
It's great to be back in West Virginia, as well. I'm struck by the -- every time I come here I'm struck by the beauty of this state. And of course, you put on a beautiful day, for which I'm grateful.

One of these days I'm going to bring my mountain bike. (Applause.) I love to exercise. I'm doing -- I'm doing it to make sure that I do the job you expect me to do, and I'm doing it to set an example, as well.


Speaking about staying fit and healthy, that's what we need to make sure we do for our Social Security system, too. (Applause.) I'm here to remind the good folks of West Virginia that we have a problem and we have a duty to renew one of great -- America's great institutions, and that's the Social Security system.

I've now traveled to 20 states to talk about Social Security, 20 states in two months, all aimed at making sure that the American people understand the situation with Social Security. And more and more Americans understand there is a problem, and I hear from more and more Americans that they expect those of us who are honored to serve in Washington to fix the problem.

I have just come from the Bureau of Public Debt. I want to thank Van Zeck, Keith Rake, and Susan Chapman. Susan was the tour guide there at the Bureau of Public Debt. I went there because I'm trying to make a point about the Social Security trust. You see, a lot of people in America think there's a trust, in this sense -- that we take your money through payroll taxes and then we hold it for you, and then when you retire, we give it back to you. But that's not the way it works.

There is no "trust fund," just IOUs that I saw firsthand, that future generations will pay -- will pay for either in higher taxes, or reduced benefits, or cuts to other critical government programs.

The office here in Parkersburg stores those IOUs. They're stacked in a filing cabinet. Imagine -- the retirement security for future generations is sitting in a filing cabinet. It's time to strengthen and modernize Social Security for future generations with growing assets that you can control, that you call your own -- assets that the government cannot take away. (Applause.)

I'm sorry that Laura is not traveling with me today. (Applause.) She's doing great. She and I will be taking off tomorrow morning to pay -- to pay our country's respects to a great world leader in His Holiness. He shows that one man can make an enormous difference. And I look forward to honoring the memory of Pope John Paul II. (Applause.) So she's packing her bags. (Laughter.)

I want to thank the President of West Virginia University at Parkersburg. Madam President, I'm sorry I missed your inauguration. (Laughter.) But thank you for serving. Dr. Marie Gnage is with us. I appreciate you letting us use this facility. (Applause.)

Before coming out here I had the honor of saying hello to a lot of folks who are involved with the community college system of West Virginia. I'm a strong believer in the community college system around our country, because I understand that the community college system is a -- provides a great opportunity for many of our young and for many of our workers to gain the skills necessary to fill the jobs of the 21st century. The community college system provides a wonderful opportunity for states and communities to say to potential employers, we have got a fantastic asset in our midst to make sure that the workers can fill the jobs that you desire.
A long quote I know, but it's important to get a feel for how this President increasingly operates, rhetorically.

We go from a dead-on lie, that the SS system uses a phony system of meaningless IOUs that are kept in a filing cabinet, and by implication, have no hope of ever being paid back, except by future generations, which makes it an incoherent lie at that - to a moment of personal ingratiation, in which this President bestows his blessing on the institution of community colleges; oh yes, he congratulates those nameless persons involved in that institution he's just met, but not on their specific achievements, but on the fact that they are doing something of which he approves, or at least says he does. Wanna bet that his proposed budget cuts Federal support for community colleges?

I often wonder why so few media people have picked up on how much of what this president says and does is about himself. That was the charge always leveled at Clinton, that everything he did as president was always about him, an insistence derived from the apriori assumption on the part of conservative faux psychologists that Clinton was a primal narcissist; not only do I think that is and was a demonstratibly false charge, it's demonstratibly a charge that perfectly fits this president. It isn't just Karl Rove who views governance as indistinguishable from successful propaganda.

This President is as incapable of listening to ordinary Americans as he is to anyone who doesn't already agree with him. The communication between himself and others is one-way. Hence these ludicrous, embarrassing staged-managed town meetings.

Remember during the early part of the 2004 campaign, when Bush's poll numbers were low and increasingly, Americans had questions about his handling of Iraq? Bush's response was to say over and over again how important it was that the American people trust him on matters of security. But trust is earned, isn't it? No, not in George W. Bush's world. If Americans were losing trust in him, it could only be that they were ill-informed. Therefore, critical discussions of what he had actually done and what had actually resulted from what he had done were divisive, unfair to our fighting men and women abroad, partisan, unAmerican, unpatriotic, siding with the terrorists. And all Democrats, especially John Kerry, had to be portrayed as untrustworthy, weak, indecisive, and quite possibly, unAmerican.

The campaign was never allowed to be about what either men would do in the future for this country, not after the Republican convention, which set the parameters of the future debate - here is the President you know and can trust, because of his worthy character, which was demonstrated by his successful convention, no matter that the convention featured some of the most hateful rhetoric heard in any Presidential campaign - a nastiness that the President himself felt no need to delegate to a surrogate tough-guy, but instead, which he appeared to enjoy spewing forth himself - versus, a liberal Senator you know little about, who you can't trust because we are fully prepared to tell you lies about every aspect of his life and history. And may the best liar win. And, by gum, he did win.

Neither Rove nor George W. could have done it without the mainstream press, however. Credit where credit is due. One wonders, are they even paying attention to this President's increasingly desperate rhetoric on Social Security reform? Or are they deliberately looking away from the spectacle of an American president insisting to his fellow Americans, and by extension to the world, that U.S. Treasury Bonds are worthless?

Where is the White House correspondent who will ask the President in his next news conference why he insists on referring to T-Bills as worthless IOUs? And whether he is admitting that as early as 2017, whatever administrations follow his will find themselves so constrained as a result of his fiscal policies that the US Treasury Bonds, hitherto known as the safest investment in the universe, that are held by the SS Administration and scheduled to be redeemed as of that date, will be defaulted on, instead? And does he worry that his trash talk about the unreliability of U.S. Treasury Bonds might start to make our creditors around the world, like, for instance, China, just a tad nervous?

Perhaps it might be worth a phone call to the office of your favorite Democratic Senator to ask a staff member if the Senator is aware of the President's remarks in West Virginia and if it might not be a good idea for this Senator, or the entire Democratic caucus to highlight the President's words, and to explain to the American people their implications. The President's poll numbers are tanking, but so far the SCLM doesn't seem to notice. Democrats need to find a way to force the media to notice when an American president tells the world that investing in America's future is a bad idea.

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