By A.D. Freudenheim  

30 July 2004

Vice President Dick Cheney himself said “I expressed myself rather forcefully, felt better after I had done it.”[1] The Senate Majority Leader, Bill Frist, chalked it up to the “political season right now, where partisan feelings and emotions have come to the surface itself.”[2] And the Second Lady, Lynne Cheney, excused it as “a private comment” albeit one made on the very public floor of the United States Senate; but, she insisted, he’s not really like that – and is more likely to say “Put a sock in it.”[3]

Except that he didn’t say “Put a sock in it.” So much for civility in Washington.

When Vice President Cheney told Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy to “fuck himself,” he was doing more than using strong – and, according to official rules, inappropriate – language on the floor of the Senate. Cheney’s outburst is just one small example of the Bush-Cheney administration’s most serious disease: Doasisayitis. The disease is a widespread human problem – it is something most people have caught at some point in their lifetimes – but the Bush administration seems particularly prone to catching it.

After all, the fundamental starting point for the Bush Administration was they would change the tone in Washington – and they have, boy, have they. We learned in the first Bush administration that Bush family members seem to like double-standards more than most folks:

  • Whether it’s demanding openness on the part of foreign governments or American citizens while making every effort to secure and block information about the machinery of our government, from energy policy to the 9/11 Commission;
  • Whether it is believing that marriage is sacred and sacrosanct, but then targeting efforts to “protect” it not at preventing or reducing rates of divorce but by discriminatorily prohibiting an entire class of people from marrying in the first place;
  • Whether it is coming into office on a platform favoring less Federal government and Federal oversight of both states and their citizens, and then increasing the Federal government and moving to limit states’ rights to (say) make their own laws about marriage, or by creating an Attorney General with a record that could match the infamous A. Mitchell Palmer;
  • Or saying you’ll be tough on crime – but meaning, you’ll be tough on crime when it’s minorities selling drugs, not white folks peddling corporate lies...

All of these things – and these are only a few examples – suggest the degree to which the Bush Administration is committed to the fundamental principle of saying one thing and then doing something else, usually the opposite.[4]


And speaking of being really good at telling it like it isn’t, how about CNN and their snappy tagline for all election-related coverage: “America Votes 2004”? Shouldn’t that be more like “America Might Vote 2004” Or “America Probably Won’t Bother to Vote 2004 But We’ll Cover It Anyway”?

More importantly, how about encouraging America to vote in 2004? Rather than have a tagline and a slogan – why not a position and a principle? That surely wouldn’t violate the already irrelevant rules of journalistic objectivity, would it, to suggest that people should vote, without telling them for whom they should vote? It might even make the election more interesting, if people voted - that should be good for CNN.

Of course, taking CNN seriously is a mistake in the first place. The pallor of its alleged objectivity looks rosy only when compared to the nuclear-colored death glow that emanates from Fox News. The best idea of all is to turn the damn TV set off, read a book, and make sure that when November rolls around you still have energy left to vote.

[1] “Cheney Says He Has No Regrets for Cursing Leahy,” by Caren Bohan, Reuters, 25 June 2004
[2] “Senate majority leader refuses to criticize Cheney for cursing,” by William C. Mann, Associated Press, 28 June 2004
[3] “Wife Says Cheney’s Cursing Was Out of Character,” Reuters, 11 July 2004
[4] Hats off to George Carlin and his inimitable phrase “say one thing, do something different,” in reference to the Reagan administration.
  Copyright 2004, by A.D. Freudenheim. May not be used in whole or part without written permission. However, you may link to this page as desired! Contact A. D. Freudenheim for further information.
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