Secret Pop

Jan 19, 2005

Insider

I was driving home this afternoon and heard excerpts from Condoleezza Rice's confirmation hearing, and it was one of those moments when I wanted to phone someone and yammer in their ear about how retarded the world is, but I also didn't want to stop listening to the broadcast. So I just ended up jotting down my little notes in my little notebook whenever I was stopped at a red light and occasionally while I was actually moving down the road. No one was injured, but if someone had been, I'd have blamed Condoleezza Rice. And I'd have been the only one in the world, apparently, who holds her accountable for anything she has ever done -- for any sort of wrongdoing. I and Barbara Boxer -- who, by the way, has much more chutzpah (or as my workshop instructor said when she was trying to think of the word chutzpah, "puznaz" or "shuznaz") than Dianne Feinstein, whose asskissing introduction did little to warm my downtrodden, Democrat heart.

Anyway, I was listening to the confirmation hearings, and I almost laughed out loud at how ridiculous that Rice woman sounded when she was essentially scolding Barbara Boxer by saying, Senator, can we please talk about my lies without impugning my integrity or character? That's what's so fucking mindboggling about this administration. It's like a Twilight Zone of reason, wherein someone murders your grandmother and then says, "Let's just agree to disagree." As if that makes any sense at all. Here is Condoleezza Rice, carefully choosing language that NEVER admits error. The language of marketing people. The language of automobile advertising. Some of our decisions were very good; some were maybe not as good. But never does she say the words "wrong" or "bad" or "mistake" or "I'm sorry." And no matter how many times you play her a tape of her saying something you can PROVE she knew was false at the time she said it, she will still look at you with that bitchy, mole-speckled expression and say, "Now, now. Let's not be rude and inappropriate. I would appreciate it if you would refrain from impugning my integrity." But that's STILL not an answer. That's what drives me batty about all of this political posturing. You can show a Bush offical a file or a video clip or a photograph empirically proving that what he or she said or did was wrong or even unlawful, and he or she will shrug and say something folksy like, "You can't always call a ladybug a hare," or, "Log cabins aren't made of molasses," and America will look at each other in bewilderment and say, "Well, I guess that's true." I just want to yell in the loudest voice possible: "WHY CAN'T YOU JUST ADMIT THAT YOU WERE WRONG?????"

What kind of example is this setting for our young people? This administration is one of second chances, of never holding people accountable. George W. Bush gets a DUI and there are essentially no consequences. He goes on to both lie about it and to become president. And to remain president for a second term. There are no consequences for Donald Rumsfeld, whose own rhetoric implies that he should be the one to take responsibity for military mistakes that were made, including the embarrassing proceedings at Abu Ghraib. Bush has been very clear in saying that he doesn't feel anyone should lose their job for whatever mistakes have been made, and I just don't understand that. Why is America okay with that? This is a country which -- almost to our discredit -- believes that an eye should be paid for with an eye. All these conservatives with their death penalty fervor and their frothing at the mouth at the prospect of crushing our various enemies, you'd think they would be the sort that demands that someone pays when a tab is run up. After all, these are the people at whose hand the Salem witch hunts commenced. These are the people who want CEOs to resign or be incarcerated when their pension plans get gobbled up in illicit corporate activities. These are the people who think that three strikes legislation that sends certain people to prison for life for the most minor of offenses is essentially a winning concept, since people who make mistakes are just going to make them again, and why should we as a society keep allowing them to make them on our dime? It's quite literally unfathomable to me that the rash rightmindedness of the Republican constituency hasn't demanded a fall guy. I mean, I know that Oliver North has his own show on Fox News now, but for a while there, he was the punch line of a lot of jokes. And what about the Watergate guys? Some of those guys even did prison time (although, of course, I admit they also largely ended up with their own shows). Reagan and Nixon -- as Republican as they come -- their administrations recognized the value of a scapegoat. Why has this administration stepped out of line on this topic? Why does George W. Bush believe that saying he's never wrong over and over again will make it so? I guess the only answer to that is: Because we let him. And, yes, I said "we." I did not vote for that jerk, but I also did not move to The Netherlands. And I clearly did not give enough money to the Democratic Party, and I did not go out and campaign enough, and I did not believe hard enough in fairies. So, yes, this is on me, too.

It's not that I believe a Republican government can't be a good government. I just can't put any amount of faith in a government that doesn't think I can tell when it's lying. When a child -- even the smallest child -- catches a grown-up in a lie, that child ceases to trust that grown-up. Plain and simple. A liar is a liar. And even if we don't call these guys LIARS, we apparently aren't even allowed to say they've ever chosen poorly. This is a president who has somehow gotten it into his head that admitting regret is political suicide. A hundred thousand people are dead and it's because of me? Do I regret that? Well, no, Sam Donaldson, I can't say I do. I CAN say that I wish their families the peace of God that passes all understanding, but everything is in His hands, so how can I second guess that? That would be blaspheming. And I wish you could hear that like I hear it in my head. Because the way he says blaspheming in my imagination is hilarious.

So, tonight, Julie took me to the opening party of the new Whiskey Bar at the W Hotel, and it just so happened that my beautiful friend Jessica was there working the bar. I wouldn't say the party was so grand, but I have difficulty saying no to an open bar. And if it hadn't been for Julie's growling tummy and her early morning obligations, I'm sure I'd have stayed and drunk the place dry. Instead, we had overpriced victuals at Kate Mantilini apparently in the middle of a party for the sound effects people of the film industry. I looked for him, but there was no sign of Ben Burtt. I don't know that he's up for anything this year, but he's the only sound effects celebrity I would recognize. Except for maybe Michael Winslow. And I think technically he's foley.

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