After more than a week in the media crosshairs, the White House has now authorized Condi Rice to testify publicly in front of the 9-11 panel. The White House press strategy, once airtight, close to the vest and extremely effective, has morphed into a bad porn movie (unfortunately, one that has been edited for viewing by John Ashcroft).
Even when they know something will feel good — like the fantastic release of nonsensically classified information, the cocoa-butter shine that envelopes the body when leveling with the American people, the exciting group action harnessed by the creation of the Homeland Security Office, the Oedipal (and Clintonian?), climactic splat on the Oval Office window that could be fired off unexpectedly (like an armed Predator) following a sip of wine and the simple words: “All right, forget the weapons. The dick tried to kill my dad!”, the the tingling, goosebumped, throbbing thrill that can only be achieved while doing it (testifying that is) publicly — they still hold out on us. They say no, no, no. No, it’s not in the public’s best interest. No it’s against the Constitution. No, well, because we don’t wanna.
But by the end of each scene, the Bush administration always winks, flicks us with the wet end of a towel and shares that seductive smirk; the one that says “Aw heck. You’re with us,” and makes us recall the famous, romantic, and somewhat Bushian first line of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ Love in the time Cholera: “It was inevitable.” (That’s “Era Invetable” when you’re courting the Latino vote).
And once they’ve given in and the deed is done, the administration sits back, smokes a compensatingly long stogie (Guantanamo’s locale has its benefits) and asks, “Well, was that a great idea I had or what?”
But it’s not working anymore. The mystery is gone. The James Dean enigmatic vibe no longer gets our juices flowing. We’re tired of the drawn out scenes and we don’t want to play dress-up anymore (besides, why do they always get to wear the flightsuits?). The American public is now channeling Tom Cruise (pre-Nicole breakup and sans the freaky L. Ron obsession) in A Few Good Men as we each (at least those not busy looking for work) shout: “I want the truth.”
More and more, it turns out that the act itself wasn’t worth the holding out and the waiting. Think we’ll be tapping ourselves in the forehead and saying, “Ah ha, it was Condi Rice who left our nation unprotected and is therefore responsible for 9-11…”?
No. What we’ll be left with is the memory that, like the Nicholson character in the aforementioned movie, this administration doesn’t think we can handle the truth. This administration keeps showing up wearing nothing but fishnets and a camouflaged strap-on and then they tell us they don’t want to do it. And once they do it, it’s not that satisfying. No cuddling. No real letting loose. Certainly no French kissing. Come November, we just might decide to bring it on with another administration.