Dick Cheney Channels Daisy Buchanan
One of the more despicable things about the Bush Administration, the most disastrous in modern history, is that they’re all still so proud of themselves, against all evidence. While the two losing wars they’ve left behind continue to drag us into bankruptcy, impotence, and disrepute, count on ol’ Dick Cheney or one of his hell-spawn to gloat about how tough they were, and they’d do it all again. Of course, that’s on regular TV, where obvious Republican lies and delusions are treated roughly akin to farts everyone pretends not to smell; things get substantially weirder when they appear on a Fox “documentary” like the one above. I mean, they did have time to do the most rudimentary fact-checking, or perhaps add a laugh track, when they decided to have geniuses like Arthur Laffer (!), Dick Cheney (!!), and Donald Rumsfeld (!!!) wheeled in to the studio to discuss the glory that was, and is, “Supply Side Economics.” The Dick has the balls, if you’ll pardon the pun, to talk about the 2003 tax cuts as though they didn’t create astronomical deficits, rising poverty, economic chaos, and result in his party being wiped out in two successive elections. He became a believer, he says. Cue the patriotic music in America’s Newsroom.
What’s undoubtedly lost on the Fox viewer, of course, is that Dick, personally, did do extremely well by the war and tax policies he embraced and rammed through, even if the rest of America certainly didn’t, so for a change he isn’t lying this time. In Fox World, anything liberals don’t like is by definition all but Heaven-sent, so even the worst policies, the catastrophic consequences of which still dominate the news today, are treated as great triumphs, niggling things like anemic job growth, stagnant GDP, and unemployment in the Bush era are mere collateral damage in the ongoing war Fox valiantly fights each day. That’s at least one war Dick can rightly feel he’s won, which is (not coincidentally) the whole point of this supposed “documentary.” This is Fox, after all, and therefore every story, even the most trifling ones about animals and/or boobs, are always ultimately about the triumph of godly conservatism over perfidious liberalism. You just fill in new names and datelines, and away you go; evidently this slapdash formula works just as well when you have months to produce your propaganda, since your well-conditioned audience isn’t exactly, uh, skeptical, except perhaps of Al Gore.
You’d think this would get boring after a while, except for late-stage Alzheimer’s patients, that is, but it apparently never does. ”The Simpsons,” a rogue planet in the Fox Universe, upped the ante this week by calling the “news” network “unsuitable for viewers under 75,” but count on Bill O’Reilly not to get the joke, since his absurd salary demands it. Similarly, last week O’Reilly made an utter fool of himself attempting to defend his employer when “The Simpsons” added a tagline under the Fox News logo, “Not Racist, But #1 With Racists,” even though just a few years ago 50-something Bill described, with genuine surprise, his decidedly un-scary first foray into a predominantly black restaurant, and he routinely defends his obnoxious bigotry and bad behavior by smugly pointing to his ratings. Bully and authoritarian that he is, he advocated harsh, Murdochian punishment for “Simpsons” creator (and Portland native!) Matt Groening, rather than deigning to address Groening’s completely uncontroversial claim.
Clearly, Fox has long since sailed too far down Fair and Balanced river and is now careening over Don’t Confuse Me With The Facts Falls, to inexorably land in the bottom of Glenn Beck’s Chalkboard Canyon, where it disappears like Wile E. Coyote, in an unheralded and failure-tainted puff of smoke. And just like Daisy Buchanan, Dick Cheney roars away in his blood-splattered Deusenberg (the Roaring Twenties equivalent of a Hummer), laughing all the way to the bank, while Fox cheers him on. In more capable hands, this could be quite a “documentary,” indeed; it was a great novel, albeit still unsuitable for readers under 75.