Sunday, November 21, 2004

Are there any alternate voices in town?

The familial patronage continues, as W spreads his friends around Washington. He has appointed Margaret Spelling, his inside advisor on all things domestic, as Secretary of Education. Others have written of the Second Term Relocation Process in much better terms than I, so I quote from one of the more cutting of those commentators (at least, in the mainstream press), Maureen Dowd in the New York Times:

In ancient Greece, the prince of Tyre tires of all the yes men around him. He chooses to trust the one courtier who intrepidly tells him: "They do abuse the king that flatter him. ... Whereas reproof, obedient and in order, fits kings, as they are men, for they may err.''

Not flatter the king? Listen to dissenting viewpoints? Rulers who admit they've erred?

It's all so B.C. (Before Cheney).

Now, in the 21st-century reign of King George II, flattery is mandatory, dissent is forbidden, and erring without admitting error is the best way to get ahead. President Bush is purging the naysayers who tried to temper crusted-nut-bar Dick Cheney and the neocon crazies on Iraq.

First, faith trumped facts. Now, loyalty trumps competence. W., who was the loyalty enforcer for his father's administration, is now the loyalty enforcer for his own.

Those promoted to be in charge of our security, diplomacy and civil liberties were rewarded for being more loyal to Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney than to the truth. (Maureen Dowd, New York Times, November 18, 2004)

The column is entitled "A Plague of Toadies", which is a bit over-the-top. Do columnists get to write their own headlines?

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