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Sunday, June 04, 2006

When Presidents Gay Bash


President Bush is readying a major speech tomorrow about a topic he feels is so important right here, right now, it deserves his direct intervention and comment. What is this pressing concern?

The situation in Iraq? Nope — Rumsfield has that thoroughly under control.

The beginning of the hurricane season and the preparations we ought to take to ensure another American city isn't wiped away? No — I believe that's scheduled for next winter.

High gas prices? No — no plans to tackle that, ever.

The subject at the top of Dubya's priority list these days is same-sex marriage. It ought to be crystal clear why he dubs himself a war president, calls himself "the decider" and swaggers like a man who is in complete command of the minutia of concerns that threaten us. Let's just pray there's no memo such as "Bin Laden Determined to Strike" sitting within his "in" box at the moment.

Recent editorials and articles have brought to light that conservatives, liberals and moderates alike know precisely what this focus is: a grand ruse designed to shift attention away from everything unfavorable and unpleasant that is engulfing us and the Bush administration these days. But think about that for a moment. Bush is paining for a polical sleight of hand, and all he can come up with is gay marriage — a measure that inspires impassioned feelings (not all desirable for Bush) and that he, himself, doesn't really have an inkling of a chance to actually directly influence? There is no "good news" Bush can highlight tomorrow to deflect attention from all the bad? Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

And, oh, how screwed we all are.

Rousing the base is one thing. But even the GOP base feels the pinch from gasoline prices. The GOP faithful around New Orleans are still dealing with the fallout over the dereliction of duty when Katrina struck. People are gravely concerned Iraq has just become a place we send soldiers to die. Trying to rouse your base with a fringe issue is something you pull when all things are going your way — when those folks are so happy with you they can believe you will attack windmills like Don Quijote and might actually succeed in making a difference. But, when your base actually has more important things on their minds, bringing up a fringe issue — especially one they see you haven't had any success in bringing to fruition despite all your outcry thus far — comes across as disingenuous, poorly-timed and hopelessly out-of-touch.

Take my advice, Dubya. Drop the gay-bashing. It will make Mary Cheney happy (it's her turn now, after all) — and might actually make you appear — shall I say it? — presidential.

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