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The Texas Sidestep

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Chris Matthews of "Hardball" requests our e-mails, telling him what we'd like President Bush to talk about next week in his State of the Union Address. Oh, Chris, you're such a boob. But I'll play along.

Dear Chris,

I would like the president to uh, uh, uh...just say nothing at all. Because, you see, he isn't very easy on the ears. I tried to listen as he stated the case for his Terrorist Surveillance Program (Peepism). I watched his body bob and his face scrunch. At one point he was writhing at the podium, hunkered over and almost hugging it for support. Someone needs to work with him on this body language thing 'cause it sure isn't pretty, but I stuck with it for awhile. Then he had to go and totally ruin it by referring to the terrorists as "folks."

Come on, Chris. You have to remember right after 9/11 when George W. said he was going to get the "folks" who attacked us. Plenty of journalists and anybody else within earshot criticized his use of the word. I'm sure Laura cringed. Even Mommy Dearest, who said she lost her son to history because of his stellar performance after the Twin Towers came down and the Pentagon was hit, must have told him, "No, no, no. We don't call these evildoers 'folks.' They're terrorists, George." And then she probably head-slapped him to drive home her point.

Folks are in-laws, Chris, and neighbors--people you'd invite to the ranch for a beer and steer cooked on the barbeque grill. Not terrorists. But George must have had a little memory lapse, leaving me to conclude that the man should speak as little as possible. Or he should always wear one of those boxes like he back-packed during a debate with John Kerry in 2004. Which reminds me--what about the presidential, omnipresent TelePrompt? Did the multiple, backup generators fail? That's what it sounded like to me. If, according to SenaDoc Bill Frist, Samuel Alito is the worst nightmare of liberal democrats then, certainly, Bush's handlers have their own bad dream--the malfunction of the TelePrompt.

You see, Chris, when I watch George W. speak, I'm almost nervous for him. It wasn't awful when he emphasized, "Iraqis went to the polls in defiance of killers." No, that statement passed. But there was that body-bob and, "If ya vote, I'm gonna git ya," referring to the scare tactics of the "folks" who want to make it impossible for Iraq to become the Disney-like venture that this administration envisioned for the United States of Iraq. I guess those dreams have long vanished.

Bush did some more grimacing and scrunching as he stated his reasons for eavesdropping, and I recalled the speech he gave on Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery. He orated how he "'preciates folks dyin' for the cause." Ouch.

Do other people like this? Does it make them feel comfortable? You know, like they've just found a station broadcasting reruns of that old favorite,The Beverly Hillbillies.

The very articulate Bill Maher says he wants his president to be smarter than he is. But, Chris, since George struggles so much with pushing nouns against verbs, has terminal tip of the tongue syndrome, and continues to embarrass himself, his family and our nation then, maybe, I should suggest that he pretend to have a little biking accident. I had a friend who wrecked his ten-speed and had to have his jaws wired for months. How many more months do we have to endure this assault on the English language? This assault on our vision?

Or maybe, Chris, there's method to all this good-ole-boy misspeak. If we're focused on George's inability to talk, then he can do the Texas Sidestep and slip right past those who should be holding him accountable for his criminal presidency.

Oh, and by the way, Chris, you're "doin' a heckuva good job."

Missy Beattie
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Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She's written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she's a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a (more...)
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