Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that former President Bush seems to have a new part-time job as Obama’s shield?
It seems that every time President Obama’s policies start to face real criticism, the administration and their supporters hold President Bush in front of them in an attempt to deflect attention away from them. The first time was at the height of the criticism of Obama’s handling of the economic crisis, when the markets continued to plunge despite Obama’s assurances that his “stimulus” plans would speed America back to recovery. This was, of course, after his first apocalyptic, gloom and doom speech, where the words “crisis” and “catastrophe” where spoken repeatedly.
Then, on March 2, 2009, in the name of “transparency”, the first group of classified memos was released. The public’s attention was diverted from the economic crisis, to the more controversial (and scandalous) topic of the torture of prisoners in Abu Ghraib as well as the destruction of the taped sessions by the CIA. While the economic crisis affects everyone, torture and conspiracy stories are always a headline grabber. The result? Less attention on Obama and the failing economy, more attention on the former Bush administration’s controversial policies. The majority of the public’s attention was successfully diverted. Mission accomplished.
It didn’t last, however. A few days later, “tea parties” that were being held across the nation, which were being held as a result of the public’s anger over massive government spending, taxes, and the direction we were heading, were beginning to receive more attention from the media, despite the lackluster coverage at the beginning. This came to a head on April 15, 2009, when nationwide “tax day” tea parties and FairTax rallies were held were just starting to receive major media coverage. Granted, most of the coverage had a negative slant, including supposedly “unbiased” television reporters combatively arguing with tea party attendees, as well as liberal celebrities calling the supporters racist, anti-government, “teabagging” (a term considered sexually obscene) rednecks, but it was still coverage. Once again, the focus was back on public anger over the economy and government spending.
Then, out of the blue, the next batch of secret memos was released by the Obama administration. Not only do they supposedly give in detail the methods used to “torture” the terrorist suspects, but the ACLU has promised juicy photographs of the prisoner interrogations to follow. To top it off, Obama has released his own memos to the general public detailing specific, “more human” interrogation methods that he will authorize the CIA to use on terror suspects. It’s safe to say that thanks to Obama’s new memos, our enemies will be well prepared to counter those techniques should they be captured by us in the future.
Once again, sensationalism concerning the fate of a few terror suspects overseas trumps the everyday economic reality of every American, and with the exception of a few conservative media outlets, the news of the tea party movement and their agenda has evaporated. The public’s attention has once again been diverted to the former Bush administration. Mission accomplished.
It’s actually a very clever move by the Obama administration. The release of the memos and promised photos are attention grabbing enough to force the conservative media to divert its attention to the outrageousness of the memos, rather than spending time discussing the troubled economy and their own suggestions on how to improve it. Once again, the Obama administration is free to present its own “solutions” (which usually involve borrowing and spending more money from communist China and appeasing our enemies) to Americans with the Bush administration failures once again fresh on their minds.
In my previous column after the first set of memos were released, I said that the focus shouldn’t be so much as what was on the tapes, or even how accurate they were, but the suspicious timing of the memos being released in the first place. The simple answer is that Obama is using Bush as a shield. While the public is distracted by a trip through bad memory lane, it allows Obama to present his own agendas with little challenge.
Remember this when those controversial photos are published. Think of how many people those photos affect, as opposed to how many Americans are affected by an economy that actually has real meaning for all of us. Which of these issues, upon being solved, will actually benefit you the most; the sensationalism of the Abu Ghraib scandal, or the economic crisis? The one that you can pat yourself on the back and say “justice for terror suspects”, or the one that you can say “the jobless rate is down, the pay is getting higher”?