Monday, January 28, 2008

A Small Man's Rhetoric of Cynicism

I doubt there's often been a more cynical State of the Union message, if there's ever been one.

I say so because this President has had seven years in which to achieve a viable alternative fuels program, curbs on earmarks, significant support for public education, the renovation of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, a vigorous pursuit of Bin Ladin in Afghanistan, fair free trade, qualified judicial appointees, clean air and carbon-reduction coal-based technologies, a viable housing market, a vigorous and healthy economy.

Rather than actually do so, this President has instead achieved the opposite in all respects.

What we have learned from bitter experience over the past seven years is that we can expect the diametric opposite of what he says, of the titles of bills he submits, of his press conference promises.

"No Child Left Behind" achieves the opposite. A fair and just approach to foreign policy instead is a preference for war in order to plunder foreign resources and direct resulting revenues to corrupt cronies intent on one-party rule by plutocrats. Confronting "terror" means constructing a nursery and training academy for terrorists. Doing everything possible to prevent another attack on the homeland means doing as little as possible but that with much fanfare. It means ignoring our ports, our airlines, our trains, our subways, our chemical plants, our nuclear plants, our fuel depots, and the arteries of their transport. It means, instead, instituting an illegal and unconstitutional surveillance apparatus more sinister than anything envisioned in 1984. Opposing "genocide in Sudan" is a throw-away line in a presidential address. Fights against global poverty are in fact restrictions on women's access to healthcare. "Programs to purchase crops from developing countries" are actually programs to direct US funds to Monsanto. The AIDS funds he's pledged so far have not been spent, yet tonight he asked for $30M more. It's a cruel, cruel lie.

Reforming veterans care comes a bit late, doesn't it, and so does enriching veterans' benefits. What has he done these 7.5 years except to undermine just these programs? To call on Congress to institute them now is beyond cynical. It is shameless. This President has no ethical moorings. Like a small boat without an anchor, he floats where he will, unaware of where he's been and careless of where he's going. That qualifies as a kind of madness.

Yet this President isn't delusional. He is a congenital liar. He isn't concerned with America. He is concerned with the wallets of a few families. He isn't concerned with your access to health care; why should he be? His is secured and he will call your efforts to achieve universal healthcare "socialized medicine."

As all this is a matter of record, tonight's exercise in mediocre oratory amounts to a cynical cooptation of key Democratic objectives in the midst of the biggest political dogfight in memorable history. It was designed to plump up the rhetorical toolkits of the Republicans seeking the presidency, and to put the Democrats between the rock of his rhetoric and the hard place of his promise to veto--at last--any bill that includes spending he finds useless.

That would be spending for anything that is unrelated to warmaking or corporate welfare.

Remarkable. Shameful. A fitting summary of this small man's miserable reign of piracy and treason.