Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Developing Story: New White House Policy Causing Feet-In-Mouth

Bush Stumping Causes Panic, Chaos: Cheney Claims Said “Duncan”, Not “Dunking”

President’s Use of “Just Say No” Confusing; FBI, and DEA Staff Stretched Thin, Chasing Down Rally Attendees

If, with announcing last week, the abandonment of “Stay The Course”, in favor of the new policy of “Hello, I Must Be Going” was meant by the White House to be a rallying charge for the final week of campaigning, it has been anything but.

Both President Bush, and now Vice President Dick Cheney have “put their feet in their mouths”, sources close to the White House have told The Garlic.

President Bush’s stumping for Congressional candidates, according to one, senior official, has caused widespread confusion, panic and chaos, as his use of “Just Say No” has left rally attendees the target of, seemingly, overzealous law enforcement officials, both local and by members of the President’s own Security Detail.

In Washington, offices for the candidates have been overwhelmed, with constituents calling and emailing, asking, either about their positions on “drug policy”, or vociferously complaining about the clamp-down and behavior of law enforcement back in their home districts.

Cheney Piles On To President’s Gaffe

And just as White House staff began turning their attention to the President’s gaffes, the Vice President Office released a new, second statement, regarding Cheney’s comments in a radio interview last week, where the Vice President stunningly, and openly, came across as endorsing torture.

In the statement, the claim now is that the Vice President was saying “Duncan”, as in Congressman Duncan Hunter, and not “Dunking” as in the practice of torture by use of “Waterboarding”

One barometer of just how bad it is in the White House came at the morning briefing, when, the normally jovial White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, shouted down a cacophonous chorus of questions about the President’s use of “Just Say No” with a crisp, no-nonsense “just back off” to the press corp. It also appeared that Snow restrained himself from banging his head on the podium, a new strategy, or tactic, he employed last week.

“It seems,” offered Hildy Johnson, editor of the monthly newsletter “What Did He Say Now?” that tracks and reviews President Bush’s speeches and interviews, “to quote a former colleague of mine, these guys don’t seem to know whether to piss, or wind their watches ... Just Say No? ... What’s next, ‘Our Friend, The Atom’?”

“Just Say No” Taken As Threat By President’s Detail For Drug Bust

The slogan, “Just Say No” has it’s roots in a campaign of former First Lady Nancy Reagan, back in 1986 and has always been associated with drugs and the War Against Drugs.

Beginning last week, when the President stumped in Sellersburg, Indiana, and first broke out with the “Just Say No” speech, to slam Democrats.

Defending his, and his administration’s fight against terrorism, the President said;

"In all these vital measures for fighting the war on terror, the Democrats in Washington follow a simple philosophy: Just say no ... When it comes to listening in on the terrorists, what's the Democratic answer?... Just say no... When it comes to detaining terrorists, what's the Democrat answer?", with the crowd responding back “Just Say No!”

Things began to go awry as Secret Service agents first, and then later backed up by officers from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), fanned out over Sellersburg, searching private homes, and questioning or interrogating dozens of citizens.

Witness say the agents were “rough” and “very threatening”, stopping both the young and the old.

In one instance, according to a witness, three elderly gentlemen had their smoking pipes confiscated by FBI agents. When men began to protest, the agent barked “Patriot Act” and, allegedly had to be restrained by another agent, after ordering the elderly men held as “enemy combatants”.

The FBI would neither confirm nor deny the story, stating that it was an “on-going investigation” and that evidence “was obtained” and sent back to Washington for testing

Over the weekend, apparently, the White House, while aware of the police crackdown in Indiana, did not make the connection of it, to the President’s speech, instead blaming “paid Democratic operatives” for “attempting to disrupt the president.”

Yesterday, while stumping at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia and in Sugarland, Texas, the Tom Delay stronghold, the President, again, used his “Just Say No” approach to his speech, and again, law enforcement sprung into action, working their way through the crowds.

“I heard rumors,” said Johnson, “that some genius on Bush’s staff, after seeing all of this suggested the President switch from “Just Say No” to “Just Don’t Vote”, something the President was said to have liked, but was quickly shot down by a representative from the RNC, fearing that it would keep some Republicans from voting next Tuesday.”

Another source has told The Garlic that the Secret Service also “added their two-cents”, pointing out that the “Just Say No” speech was “stretching their resources”, as well as those of the FBI and DEA.

“You Say Duncan, I Say Dunking ... Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off”

Another member of the White House has also been stretching resources thin, those of the Communications Department.

Without consulting Snow, or Dan Bartlett, the White House Communications Director, the Vice President’s office got busy, still trying to undo the mess caused last week, during a radio interview by Vice President Cheney.

Last Friday, conservative talkshow hot Scott Hennen of WDAY in Fargo, N.D. asked the Vice President, "Would you agree a dunk in water is a no-brainer if it can save lives?"

Said Cheney; “It's a no-brainer for me, but for a while there, I was criticized as being the Vice President "for torture." We don't torture. That's not what we're involved in. We live up to our obligations in international treaties that we're party to and so forth. But the fact is, you can have a fairly robust interrogation program without torture, and we need to be able to do that.”

While riding in Air Force Two, Cheney told reporters "I didn't say anything about waterboarding. . . . He didn't even use that phrase," and was defended by Snow, without banging his head on the podium, with "A dunk in the water is a dunk in the water.”

Today, the Vice President’s office reignited the controversy, in what looked to many as an endorsement of torture, by issuing a statement, explaining that Vice President Cheney was really saying “Duncan” and not “Dunking”

“During a commercial break,” the statement reads, “Vice President Cheney and Host Scott Hennen had been discussing the upcoming elections, and looking ahead to 2008. The Vice President simply brought up the name of Congressman Duncan Hunter, who, yesterday, announced intentions to run for the Presidency in 2008. Vice President Cheney is a friend to Congressman Hunter, and was, in a manner of speaking, giving him an “Attaboy” and encouragement. When they went back on-air, the Vice President was indicating that it is a “no-brainer” that “Duncan” run for President. The Vice President was simply attempting to help a colleague.”

“Yeah, right,” Johnson offered, sardonically. “One wants to build a wall, the other one, typically, hides behind one.”

“If this is the new “Hello, I Must Be Going” policy, they better go - make that run - back to ‘Stay The Course’.

The transition from ‘Stay The Course’ to “Hello, I Must Be Going” has turned out not to be smooth one for President Bush and Vice President Cheney, with the pair suffering from gaffes and “feet-in-mouth” with their recent stumping and statements

No comments: