By Michael Castellano
For four long years political advisor Karl Rove managed to keep his carefully pampered creation, the 43rd president of the United States George W. Bush, out of the line of fire. During that time Mr. Bush managed to avoid accountability for his actions to the American people who, as it turned out, had actually preferred former Vice President Al Gore by 550,000 votes.
With the help of a Republican friendly -- or Republican cowed -- major media, Rove, who with Vice President Cheney are the real force behind the White House throne, kept the thin-skinned and mentally challenged former Texas governor behind a wizard's curtain of sophisticated Orwellian spin. Rove's protective iron curtain included staged public appearances before hand-picked audiences of rabid supporters, memorized-by-rote speechs, the cynical manipulation of post 9/11 fears, politically motivated "terror" alerts, and extremely rare press conferences before a predominantly slavish White House press core.
The Big Lie Strategy
Thus, the president was able to get away almost unchallenged with lies about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, lies on national televison about Iraq trying to obtain nuclear material from Nigeria, lies about Saddam Hussein ties to Al-Qaeda, lies about a non-existent economic recovery, lies about his position on the 9/11 Commission, lies about what he knew before 9/11 about Al-Qaeda, and even lies about what color suit he was wearing.
While cracks began appearing in Rove's iron curtain as the presidential campaigns got under way, when it became impossible not to report what the opposition was saying about Bush or all the bad news from Iraq, he still managed to deflect or neutralize many of the attacks.
Like the wizard in "The Wizard of Oz" when he handed out an assortment of junk to the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, and the Scarecrow when he couldn't make good on his promises, the president was able to get away with cheap, meaningless gestures which concealed his almost complete detachment from reality, and which were carefully calculated to help him avoid having to face the consequences of his actions.
Enter: The Debates
But all this was about to change as President Bush took the stage for the first debate. Or would it? According to confidential Slime sources, Rove, who knows better than anyone that Bush has an empty hat for a brain, met with CIA operatives to devise a scheme to pipe in answers and responses to Bush during the debate though a hidden receiver/speaker in his ear.
Unfortunately for Rove, the CIA is none too pleased with the president these days, and apparently outfitted Bush with some antiquated and unreliable equipment, and also arranged through a Fox News cameraman on their payroll to film the president from behind, revealing the mounted booster pack for Bush's ear piece. (A booster was necessary in the small of Bush's back because the signal was weak and of a very low wave length to avoid detection, and had to be in a straight line with Rove, who was hidden back stage in a closet along side Grover Norquist and Ralph Nader.)
As a result, the president was frequently unable to hear Karl Rove whispering his scripted answers unless he stooped lower to the ground to improve transmission, and even then he had extreme difficulty. On several occasions, the feedback was so loud it prevented Bush from hearing Kerry or the moderator, as was apparent when he shouted out that he needed more time when his time hadn't even come close to running out.
Rove's "Stop Loss" Button
All this, combined with the president's inherent simple-mindedness and stupidity, helped the debate to turn into a rout. At one point, an exasperated Rove shouted so loud into his microphone transmitter than Bush jumped up out of his chair like a punch drunk fighter and began shouting himself.
The receiver in the ear strategy was reportedly canned for last night's second debate, where Rove resigned himself to telling Bush to "just be yourself." Apparently it didn't help too much, as most polls show Kerry coming out the clear winner. Bush also managed at least two or three Bushisms, including this gem: " "Embryonic stem cell research destroys a life. I am the first president to fund embryonic stem cell research." He also at one point remarked, "I hear there's rumors on the, uh, Internets." We all await with baited breath the president's announcement of a second Internet.
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