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January 29, 2006 - Are Judas Goats Leading The US Toward A Third Term For Dubya?

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World's Laziest Journalist

January 30, 2006

By Bob Patterson


Listening to conservative radio talk shows seemed like a logical way to gather material for a weekly column and so I gradually became immune to their clever gambits which subvert the rules of debate. Gradually I accumulated a collection of topics, objections, and possible rebuttals.


The chorus from radioland would howl in unison and perfect harmony about bias in the Mainstream Media, but they would conveniently forget that their programs featuring a lopsided torrent of the conservative viewpoint wasn't permitted until the Federal Communications Commission dropped the fairness doctrine.  If it were still in effect it would have required them to give the exact same amount of time to a liberal Democratic spokesman as had been given to any interview subject from the Republican side.  Scrapping the broadcast fairness doctrine to promote wider debate with a broader range of viewpoints on various topics was a clever way to permit proselytizing favoring big business, without being obliged to provide the opposition with an opportunity for rebuttal.  How's that for sneaky approach to fair and balanced?


After the 2000, election, politics was a prevalent topic and so, as a rookie online columnist, I gravitated toward that area frequently.  Soon, I was trying to find ways to imitate the style Hunter S. Thompson had established writing about politics for Rolling Stone magazine many years ago.  So, a year into George W. Bush's first term in office, I made a brash prediction that Dubya would seek a third term in 2008.


It seemed like a good educated guess rather than a ridiculous stretch, because the Bush family had a history of being borderline outrageous.  His father had granted pardons to members of his own administration before their trials started?  Didn't that, in turn, take the heat off the lame duck President?  If his dad could get away with that Christmas Eve stunt virtually unnoticed, surely, I reasoned, he (and his cleaver pit crew) could engineer a way to run for a third term in 2008.


Hadn't the forty-first President urged the Kurds and Sunnis to rise up in rebellion against Saddam, and given hints that they would get help if they did, and then standby when it happened and give the "don't look at me" response to a chance to intervene when they did try to follow his suggestion?  Don't some cowboys regard audacity as just "carryin' on a family tradition?"


Dubya could do no wrong as far as the conservative talk show hosts were concerned.  Repeatedly they would ignore callers who wished to discuss topics such as Dubya's military career.  Discussing the past is counterproductive, for them, and discussing hypotheticals for the future was also off limits.  Callers were limited to either elaborating the extent of their enthusiastic support of Dubya or becoming the butt of talk show humor when they were rudely cut off.  All that was missing was the sound effects from the cartoon soundtracks such as the scream Wile E. Coyote emits as he descends down a canyon.  Yah-ha-who-eeeeeeeeee!


My theory that Bush would seek a third term in 2008, became a leitmotif for the columns.  It seemed logical to try to contact Hunter S. Thompson and engage my hero, who often wrote about his sports wagers, in a bet on that very idea.  Luring him into that friendly wager would, I hopped, bring the topic into greater prominence and bring some publicity to my online efforts to become a Thompson clone.  He never did respond to the challenge to gamble ten dollars on something that, at that time, looked like a sure way for him to make chump change.   After the search for weapons of mass destruction had imploded, the prospects for a third term for the incumbent seemed rather dim.


The conservative talk show hosts, like me, totally disregarded the impact of the fool's errand in Iraq.  In their world Bush was sure to get reelected in 2004.  Their loyalty level was commendable, I thought, but a tad illogical for people who touted the superiority of their own metal prowess. 


After it became apparent that Thompson was ignoring my offer, I was disappointed.  In desperation, I sent some e-mails to a columnist for the New York Times and offered her (big clue there) the opportunity to act as Hunter Thompson's proxy in regard to the wager, which I seemed destined to lose.  She proclaims that she likes to flavor her work with humor, and ridiculing my point of view, even if she didn't plug my online venue, might provide an amusing change of pace in her tour of Bushland, I thought.  She also never replied.


All the while I was constantly searching the Internet for obscure items to feature in my weekly columns.  There were some indications that Bush's military service might not have matched the image of fighter pilot which he projected.  Dubya's grandfather, Prescott Bush, had been integral to the history of Dresser Industries.  That firm had ultimately merged with Haliburton.  Allegations that a PR firm had been paid millions to help promote the idea that the first Gulf War would be a worthy endeavor for the US military were discovered deep in the recess of the conspiracy theory area of the Internet.


During 2004, for the most part, the conservative talk show fraternity continued to totally disregard anything but fanatical devotion to the President's reelection efforts. 


Why were folks, who loudly proclaimed the accomplishments of rugged individualists, dishing out the same Republican talking points, practically word for word, on cue?  It reminded me of images of the Vienna Boys Choir. 


The conservative talk show hosts continually ignored the topic of the reliability of the Diebold voting machines and the results in Ohio.  After the final results were announced, they loudly sang (again in perfect harmony) about the amazing Bush victory in 2004.


For a while, in the Summer of 2005, Bush's polling figures slumped and my continuing references to the chances for a third Bush term beginning in 2009, seemed unlikely, if not totally disconnected from reality.


It was curious that the more the liberals raised objections to Dubya's job performance, with pesky little topics such as the possibility that the run-up to the invasion of Iraq had relied completely on lies, the more the talk show hosts became enthusiastic about his accomplishments.


If these guys were, as they proclaimed, patriotic Americans who would never forget the sacrifices made by the men in WWII who died fighting for democracy, why then would these super patriots blissfully ignore the possibility that their hero was making a mockery of those who died for the right to vote?  Wouldn't they be interested in the possibility that they were supporting a fundamental challenge to democracy's very existence? 


Lately, I've been tempted to call-in to some of these shows and give them this challenge:


"If you believe that the President has only authorized monitoring of calls to and from known members of al Qaeda, outside the United States, why don't you call one of your friends and put the phrases "suicide bomber," "assassination attempt," and "New York City" into one sentence.  If you hear strange clicking noises on the line, isn't that an indication they are snooping on Americans?  Why would you be afraid to make this experiment if you have nothing to hide?  Don't you repeatedly reassure listeners who are overly anxious about the illegal wiretapping (or eavesdropping as you prefer to call it) that there's nothing to worry about if they have nothing to hide?  If your are afraid to conduct this experiment, doesn't that contradict your assertion that there's nothing to fear in the NSA monitoring?"


Then I realized such a gambit would be futile because what's to stop them from lying and telling their audience that they did conduct such an experiment and did not hear any suspicious clicking noises on the line? 


If a serious effort was made to repeal the 22nd Constitutional Amendment, such as House Joint Resolution 24, would the talk show hosts rush to tell their audience about it?


Recently, while combing the Internet for potential topics, I learned that Rolling Stone magazine had printed a story outlining just how one man had conducted a PR blitz before the first Gulf War to promote the idea that the war was a worthwhile endeavor Millions of dollars had gone to his PR firm to promote the idea of going to war.  The story left open the question of where did the money went.  Maybe I could do a column on that question.  Finding out where it went would take a great deal of work and this week's deadline was approaching fast.


Why are the conservative talk show hosts so unshakable (Arabic pun?) in their enthusiasm for George W. Bush?  For Democrats, who see the finale of the movie Thelma and Louise as a metaphor for the Bush/Cheney foreign policy, figuring out why the conservatives are more likely to prefer comparisons to It's a Wonderful Life is an impossible task.  Which viewpoint will be vindicated by history?


[As this columnist understood the law (I'm not a lawyer), under the FCC fairness doctrine, while Ronald Reagan was governor of California, or President of the United States, the late show couldn't air Bedtime for Bonzo without being obliged to provide equal time for his political opponents.]


With these questions swirling around in my head, it was back to surfing the Internet to find some new niche topic to write about.  Then I stumbled across an online definition of the term Judas goat - "The stockyards use such a goat to lead the sheep to slaughter. Without the aid of a Judas goat, the sheep would mill around endlessly in the pen and would not enter or traverse the chute to the slaughter house. The Judas goat, mingling with the sheep, is trained to lead them out of the pen and down the chute to the slaughterhouse. And at the last second, the Judas goat is allowed to escape by a side-gate while the sheep go to their appointed end."


Should I write a column that includes all of these diverse topics?  How could I wrap all three of the topics into one cohesive column?  A solution to that problem didn't seem possible as deadline approached. 


Maybe I could write a column with the headline "Who needs a chancellor for life, when the Diebold voting machines can deliver both enough red states approval of a Constitutional Amendment repealing the 22nd Amendment before 2008, and a subsequent mandate for a third term!"?  Such a strategy would provide a lot less chance for messy objections from the unwashed rabble.  That seemed like a good topic to choose.


Deadline time had arrived, so the only possible solution was to keep in mind Jack Kerouac's comment, "I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion," and throw all of my diverse questions into a Word file and send it off to the editor and worry about getting some answers later for a future column.


Now, as the disk jockey plays the Lovin' Spoonful's 1966 Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind, we'll make like a beatnik and bop out of here for now.  Meanwhile, find a reliable Judas goat heading toward a great week, follow him, and then you'll have one too!



Copyright (including logo) 2006 - Robert Patterson

Email the author at worldslaziestjournalist@yahoo.com




Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
for the purpose of illustration and commentary,
as permitted by the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law. 
See the Details page for the relevant citation.

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