Posts tagged Beltway

State of the Union suggestions

So it seems that Tom Friedman isn’t happy with the State of the Union speech that he’s likely to get; he decided to play make believe and write his own speech for Bush to read. If I recall correctly, this routine has been part of Friedman’s schtick for a few years; the whole thing seems more than just a bit self-important to me, but then, so does the State of the Union speech. Friedman’s idea, it seems, is that Bush should suddenly change into an alternative energy crank (or perhaps skip halfway steps and just suddenly change into Tom Friedman); and that he should use the bully pulpit to expound his newfound faith and lay down a Kennedyesque challenge to the American energy industry. (If he does not jawbone us about Friedman’s pet cause, apparently, you can stick a fork in the Bush Presidency.) So here’s what he’s informed Mr. Bush he’d like to hear tonight:

My fellow Americans, on May 25, 1961, President Kennedy gave an extraordinary State of the Union address in which he called on the nation to marshal all of its resources to put a man on the Moon. By setting that lofty goal, Kennedy was trying to summon all our industrial and scientific talent, and a willingness to sacrifice financially, to catch up with the Soviet Union, which had overtaken America in the field of large rocket engines.

While we cannot guarantee that we shall one day be first, Kennedy said, we can guarantee that any failure to make this effort will make us last.

I come to you this evening with a similar challenge. President Kennedy was worried about the threat that communism posed to our way of life. I am here to tell you that if we don’t move away from our dependence on oil and shift to renewable fuels, it will change our way of life for the worse — and soon — much, much more than communism ever could have. Making this transition is the calling of our era. …

— Tom Friedman, New York Times (2006-01-27): State of the Union

… and so on, and so forth.

Well, I have my own ideas about what’s important. So I humbly submit my own speech for Mr. Bush to consider giving tonight. I know that this is last minute, but it would be surprisingly easy for him to memorize. And I think it’s important. If Mr. Bush steps up to this challenge, the speech could be a new beginning for our country. If he doesn’t, you can stick a fork in this administration. It will be done — because it will have abdicated leadership on the biggest issue of our day. So here’s the speech I’ll be listening for tonight:

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Cheney, members of Congress, fellow Americans…

I resign.

Anything else is just going to mean more of the same old bullshit.

Postscript

Just remember: when these folks get in front of the camera they just lie. Politicians’ aims are political victory, not truth, and not justice. Hanging on the words and dickering about this or that point and fuming about this or that plain non sequitur will be talking past them entirely. You may as well spend the same amount of time cleaning your house, or sorting old photographs, or sucking on lemons.

Pointing out some piece of plain nonsense may have some value in provoking other people—the so-called rank and file, i.e., you and me—to think for a moment; and it may be worthwhile to use it to call on those other people to discourse that moves a bit beyond the braying of talking-points. But lingering on the endless talk of politicians or the professional political windbags inside the Beltway, as if these folks care what we think, or about what is true, is like trying to beat a street hustler at his three-card monty. It’s a scam. Just walk away.

— GT 2005-02-02: The State of the Union: live-blogged for you!

Beltway Baiting

Hey, you Beltway liberal types? Look, I’m bored silly by obsessively tracking every little move in the gladiatorial arena of DC, and I even think it’s destructive of serious politics. But I was with you on this whole weird Jeff Gannon / James Guckert story. Republican red herrings to one side, there was a real story here. The story was about how Gannon—a man who had no journalistic qualifications whatsoever and who engaged in some pretty transparent deceptions to try to cover over his life as a gay prostitute—was nevertheless clearly maneuvered, through immense administration favoritism, into the inner circle of the White House Press Corps, because he served as a useful administration-designated plant in the audience at press briefings. The story wasn’t about prostitution, much less homosexuality; it was about yet another glaring example of the Bush Administration’s willingness to institute the mechanisms of an overt propaganda machine—including using tax resources to exert control over the press corps through pay-offs and privileges to useful reporters and commentators. Or, here, creating a useful reporter out of thin air.

That’s an interesting (and depressing) story about the shamelessness of this administration. That’s why I was willing to get your back on it. But, hey, folks? This?

(Update: The reward is now $20k as of 03-02-05)

Have you seen this man?

A wealthy Washington socialite is offering a $10,000 reward for proof that Jeff Gannon (pictured), an allegedly gay kinky-sex prostitute / escort / white house reporter / GOP operative, has had any type of sexual, or romantic, relationship with any top-ranking Washington official(s) — or proof that he engaged in any illegal sexual activities or favors.

A local socialite, who wishes to remain anonymous, has teamed up with this site to offer a $10,000 reward to anyone that can provide hard proof.

We are looking for evidence (photos, phone pictures, locks of hair, DNA on a suit) that Jeff Gannon had any type of sexual, or romantic, relationship with any top-ranking Washington official(s) — or proof that he engaged in any illegal sexual activities or favors.

— Reward: Jeff Gannon information. Washington Socialites 2005-02-23

This is not an interesting story. This is gay-baiting. You are trying to dig up dirt on prominent officials’ sexuality and you are aiming to out them against their will—in order to destroy their political careers. That’s fucked up.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t object to destroying some dumb jerk’s political career. If I had my way, everybody’s political career would be destroyed. What I do object to—and what any one who claims to take homophobia seriously as a social problem should object to—is the fact that the tactic being used for destruction here is to out men who’ve been having sex with men before they are ready to come out, and the reason for outing them is to pander to the homophobia of hard Right voters. If that homophobia didn’t exist, and if the homophobes weren’t willing to ruin people’s lives over the gender of their sex partner(s), the plan wouldn’t work. But it does, and they are, and you’re willing to make use of it to try to score political points. That’s fucked up.

You might claim that the issue here is prostitution, not gay prostitution specifically. Horsepucky. It’s an open secret that powerful men, including some powerful Republican officials, have made a habit of patronizing women in prostitution. But there isn’t a bounty out for information on proof that some Administration official somewhere paid for heterosexual sex, is there? And you’re not musing on your blogs about it, are you? That’s because you’re not concerned about any of the ethical questions involved in the many different kinds of prostitution in the world; you’re concerned about political leverage, and you’re more likely to score a clean kill if you can out someone as gay. And that’s fucked up.

Get your heads out of the Beltway. Just stop it.