Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Thursday, April 17, 2003
It seems these past few days as if some independent UHF started broadcasting “Don Rumsfeld Week” on its Afternoon Movie. Has the Secretary been on every day or does it just seem that way?


At first, as I flicked power on the remote, I thought Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld was having another press conference. But, then, the fresh faced young service people fronting a flag bouquet with gel light caused me to think, perhaps, something else was afoot!
I noticed the superimposed title bar, a Pentagon Town Hall Meeting, and pondered the mutually exclusive concepts while thinking that Mr. Rove’s live TV event team has had a busy April.
A several hour long and tortured ad lib-packed Day with Secretary Rumsfeld aired last evening on C-SPAN, a press conference the day before yesterday, the General on Larry that evening and now this Town Hall Meeting amid the scattered “on message” soundbites drifting through the flotsom of the days news current, makes one think the Bush Administration is very very concerned that the American people are not quite “on message” as far as regarding this war as one quick perfect victory, period.
Poor Secretary Rumsfeld, except for the thickly applied mantan, he seems so stooped and careworn from all those double and triple questions from the press. After drinking in the drama it seems those old meanie henny penny retired generals and the liberal antiwar press (believe that notion, or not) have become the maguffin as credits roll in the open sequence to a possibly Hitchcockian campaign ’04.

Jimmy Stewart in "Rear Window"

A Pentagon Town Hall Meeting. Subtle, Karl, very subtle.
It was a tidy little production, except for General Myers remark about scripting speech (a Nixonian “but, that would be wrong.”) and a crazy zoom out that showed the tiny proportions of the room, with worshipful questions from the promotion eager audience and devoted uninterrupted coverage by all three cable nets. Mr. Rove should really take another cue from the master and occasionally insert himself unobtrusively into the scene. Maybe he did, unobtrusively. Only the President’s Boy Wonder would have the chutzpah (or, the previously posted round brass objects) to make a straw man of the docile, compliant and cheerleading press coverage this war has received in the United States. The chutzpah shown here was of an altogether higher order for innocent members of the United States military were used as political props for an event whose sole purpose was to again reinforce the idea of Iraq II as a perfectly fought war while advancing the political notions of smaller, lighter and increased privatization of supply function. I’m surprised balloons didn’t fall.
Additionally, no matter its selection as a Rovian summer leit motif, I grow weary with the slamming of the retired generals particularly in front of the politicized service member backdrop observed today. The Secretary made a chilling little joke about the generals having vanished due to their error over the war. And, vanished they have replaced with colonels and sergeant majors through the assistance of those helpful ratings spiked network executives. But to keep slamming men who honorably served and who were graciously giving their own best guesses at times of crisis and who were possibly unaware of political agendas, it seems to me, ill suit a Cabinet ranked official of the Federal government.
The drums cannot quite beat loud enough to cover the noise coming from the Iraq National Museum.

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