Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Jeff Gannon and the President's unbreakble Bubble

(my very first recommended diary on Kos, I'm so proud)

Score one for the MSM a great editorial in the Detroit Free Press (whose domain name, ironically enough, is Freep.com.) asks a question that might really have some traction.
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How is it that an administration that screened thousands of people for attendance at Bush campaign rallies repeatedly let a fake reporter into the sanctorum of the White House pressroom under a false name? Who was running that background check?
How could a president who declares that national security is his prime concern be so ill served for nearly two years by his own security detail?
What is the public to make of the fact that legitimate protesters are kept far away from President George W. Bush while an illegitimate "journalist" who's really working for a Republican propaganda mill is repeatedly allowed into the White House pressroom and regularly called upon by the president and the president's press secretary to ask questions?

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To me, Rove's creation of an impenetrable bubble around the president, to shield him from ever having to listen to dissenting opinion or a different point of view is the real scandal of the past three years. This editorial shows great insight in tying the two threads together. Gannon was really nothing more than an extension of all those "ordinary citizens" Rove used to round up at "Ask President Bush" events. You may recall those fine upstanding citizens asked such penetrating questions as "Thank you for your Leadership" "Why are we safer today than ever before?" and "Does your opponent REALLY eat babies and worship the dark lord?" (okay I might have made the last one up-maybe).
Apparently, Bush Co. decided their boy also needed that kind of help in the press room. Since they couldn't get away with handing out all the press passes to local committee chairmen, they did the next best thing and brought in "Chip Rightwingenstien" to shill for them. Its a reflection of how tight and recursive the bubble has gotten, that Rove et al really believed this would work. The con men are starting to fall for their own patter.
The reason all this matters is because the The presidency is such an awesome responsibility that no president has been unchanged by its weight. Look at the differences in Bill Clinton between his first and second term, Or George HW Bush or even Ronald Regan (pre Alzheimer's). They all grew into the job, became more thoughtful, and gained gravitas. The pressure of being the president helped them to become "presidential", their politics became more practical, less dogmatic, and more in tune with the possibilities and limitations of their position. They learned from both successes and failures to be more humble and deliberate about their decision making. Most of them were physically, emotionally, and mentally drained when they left office.
But not Our Boy W. He sails along from Potemkin Village to Potemkin Village and never sees the reality hiding behind the cardboard fa├žade. Thus he never has to question himself or his policies even when they are disastrous failures. Reports of his personal habits in the White House indicate he more concerned with his intensive daily workouts (hmm is the recovering addict seeking a replacement high with endorphins?) and maintaining his 9 pm bedtime, than he is abut the increasingly dangerous state of world affairs. He `s so constantly told everything is right, good and perfect, that he's nearly impervious to opposing points of view.
As a Washington Post Story of a few week ago reported; Even when Colin Powell's tried to burst the bubble in one of his last meetings with the president he failed.
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"According to Chas Freeman, former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia and head of the independent Middle East Policy Council, Mr. Bush recently asked Mr. Powell for his view on the progress of the war. 'We're losing,' Mr. Powell was quoted as saying. Mr. Freeman said Mr. Bush then asked the secretary of state to leave."
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Without truth slipping under that bubble there can be no reflection, and without reflection, Mr. Bush's personal "accountability Moment" might never come

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