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GOP Heavies Work the "O.J. Dodge" (Satire)

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Message Bernard Weiner
(Note to readers: The following transcript of a conversation among political leaders -- one imagines the room was bugged -- was placed through our mail slot yesterday by a group calling itself the Bush-Liberation Front. We can't verify the authenticity of the organization or the document, but, in a curious sort of way, it passes the smell test. See what you think.)


I told you, it works like a charm every time. Of course, it requires a fairly dumbed-down populace to help make it work. But having that built-in base of die-hard conservatives, a good many of them fundamentalist Christians who believe and do whatever we tell them, makes it fairly easy.


I can vouch for that. I mean, look at the trouble I was in. Got caught red-handed making sexual moves on a good many attractive young ladies, and my Democrat opponents were calling for me to drop out of the race as a sexual predator, insensitive to women. But I used the ultimate spin moves I learned from you, Karl, as well as how a good many televangelists wormed their way out of their scandals. My base stayed with me, no problem.


You were always a quick learner, Arnold, I can tell you that. You know the drill. First, you issue a vague, generic apology that admits to nothing specific, but makes you seem like you're taking responsibility for your actions. You know, something like: "If I have offended anybody by my poor behavior, I sincerely apologize. It certainly wasn't my intent....blah, blah, blah."

Then you bring out the stealth solution that hasn't failed us yet: You say you're going to set up an investigatory panel to check into all these allegations -- it's just a vague promise, with nobody named to the probe, and always in the future tense. The usual result of you promising to investigate yourself -- what we in the trade call "the O.J. Dodge" -- is that somehow the air in the bad-press balloon escapes and the issue disappears from the front pages and TV newscasts. Later, after the election, your supposed investigation simply disappears -- after all, the people elected you, scandal or no scandal -- or a spokesman announces that you've been exonerated.


I have an additional way to take the pressure off me. I can always get our GOP lapdogs in Congress to set up an "official investigation" that will do nothing but clear me and shift the blame somewhere else -- maybe to Bill Clinton or at least to Democrats in general, or, if we're not that lucky, we throw a low-level flunky overboard to take the rap. You're right: Doing any or all of these approaches deflates the issue in the media, the public is fooled into believing there really are going to be deep, serious investigations into what went wrong, and meanwhile, we escape untouched. Is this a great country, or what?


If things get too hot and you wind up being sued in court, you simply follow Uncle Dick's Postpone Rulebook, as I like to call it. That's what I did with my supposed "secret energy panel" brouhaha. You work the issue all the way through the courts for years, delaying, delaying until some appeals court or other, with judges you appointed, finds in your favor. Go f*ck yourself, you liberal pansies!-- I love saying that. God, this country is wonderful!


It was a bit trickier with the Katrina fallout, I must admit. We took some really nasty hits on that one, mainly because conservative Republicans and rightwing media joined in to bash us on our lack of timely compassion for the victims of the New Orleans flood. Once we all returned from our vacations, we ratcheted up our team and came up with solutions. Trouble was, we were fighting those horrifying TV images the public had seen for nearly a week on how FEMA and the White House were late and botched the situation royally. We found we had to go from Plan B to Plan C really quickly.

For Plan B, first we sent the Prez to the area for photo ops -- of course, not in downtown New Orleans; couldn't risk photos of poor black people yelling at him. So we did the next best thing: We got the Prez with some pickaninnies and their mommas -- put his arm around them, got the girls laughing, expressing his compassion, that sort of media stuff. Then, we made sure no major food items got distributed until the Prez arrived, thus making him a man of action who gets things done. When all that didn't really defuse our bad image, we went to Plan C.

We dispersed the flood victims all over the country, thus guaranteeing that the fairly tight black community in New Orleans was no more -- they wouldn't be able to organize protests anywhere en masse. Then we announced that we were going to give those lazy welfare bastards $2000 vouchers per family, to buy essentials -- booze or crack, most likely. Expensive, but we looked generous, caring, warm -- anything to counter those pictures of dead bodies floating in the streets while Brown at FEMA, and we in the White House, were spinning our wheels trying to figure out how to gear up. (Later, of course, you can always cancel giveaways.)

Then we sent out the emergency spin points to our radio talk-show friends, freepers and conservative pundits, blaming the New Orleans Dem mayor and the Dem governor of Louisiana, and reminding our folks to talk always about the anarchy and violence that ensued in the neighborhoods of Those People. The son of Willie Horton, I like to call the move. We also found a way to work Bill Clinton into the equation: We blamed him for the faulty levees.

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Bernard Weiner, Ph.D. in government & international relations, has taught at universities in California and Washington, worked for two decades as a writer-editor at the San Francisco Chronicle, and currently serves as co-editor of The Crisis Papers (more...)
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