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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Truth And Consequences by Keith Olbermann

Interested in how many different ways one can call George W Bush a liar? Or maybe you miss Dennis Miller's rants and would like something similar to what he used to do only now it's called Special Comments instead of the rather mundane sounding "Rants". Toss in an author who thinks he's Edward R Murrow, and THIS may just be the book you're looking for.

It is not, however, the kind of book I was looking for, but I got it as a gift this past Christmas, so I took a couple deep breaths, prepared myself for the worst, and dove in. I should have grabbed a snorkel and a pair of flippers on the way to the first page. Along about the 5th of these Special Comments, I could have used the protection gear.

The first thing I noticed about Mr Olbermann was that he seems to think he's Edward R Murrow. His credits list among them the Edward R Murrow award for Mr Olbermann's coverage of 9/11. But that's not the only reason I think Mr Olbermann believes he's Mr Murrow. Using the same kind of tortured logic Mr Olbermann uses to explain President Bush in this book, I think it's safe to make the assumption about Mr Olbermann's identity crisis by noting in his acknowledgments that he hopes Mr Murrow would approve of his diatribe work. Add to that Mr Olbermann's coopting of Mr Murrow's sign-off line, and I think we've got a strong case for Murrow posing.

In the 5th Special Comment, Ed... Mr Olbermann is discussing his opinion that President Bush owes us an apology. The reason is because of a letter former Secretary of State Colin Powell sent to Senator John McCain in which Mr Powell stressed the dangers of the Bush Administration's detainee policies. Mr Olbermann goes on at some length about how President Bush, upon being questioned about the conclusions Mr Powell drew in his letter to Mr McCain, made the statement:
"It's unacceptable to think that there's any kind of comparison between the behavior of the United States of America and the action of Islamic extremists who kill innocent women and children to achieve an objective."
Mr Olbermann then goes on to lift 4 words from President Bush's message and kicks them around in the dirt of his fertile mind for a while. Those 4 words? "It's unacceptable to think..."

Mr Olbermann disagrees with the sentiment that "it's unacceptable to think", and IF that's what President Bush had said, I'd have to agree. Of course it's acceptable to think. However, President Bush was not suggesting the citizens of the United States stop thinking. Mr Olbermann certainly knows that, and he's made a fool of himself for not only spinning this quote the way he wanted, but he also admitted that he lifted that phrase out of the context of the whole idea.

But that's not the only flaw in this argument. Mr Olbermann goes on to quote Thomas Jefferson:
"Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government."

These words were inserted into the Declaration of Independence, and according to Mr Olbermann were written by Thomas Jefferson. What I find interesting about this particular quote was how on earth Mr Olbermann knows what Mr Jefferson was thinking when he wrote them. Mr Jefferson was a strong proponent of slavery, and he made no secret of the fact that if any of the United States should disagree with the opinion of the whole (like if some states wanted to abolish slavery while others did not), those states should be able to cede from the Union. While it would be nice to believe that Mr Jefferson could see over two hundred years into the future and remind President Bush that he's only got the power those he governs grant him, the fact of the matter is that Mr Jefferson was probably referring to his own ideas on slavery and how he wanted no one state to dictate to another state what practices they may or may not employ. Which also brings up another interesting point... why on earth would Mr Olbermann choose to quote a slave holder to bolster his argument on any topic?

For the most part, Mr Olbermann's book can be dismissed as merely his opinion. Accept what you like of it; reject the parts you do not. In the general scheme of things, who really cares what Mr Olbermann has to say about anything?

However, since Mr Olbermann seems to be an authority on Truth, I would have to challenge this statement he makes in his Special Comment entitled: Bush and Cheney Should Resign.

Mr Olbermann quotes the actor and staunch conservative, John Wayne, as having said, "I didn't vote for him, but he's my president, and I hope he does a good job." Mr Wayne was referring to Richard Nixon's loss to John F Kennedy in the Presidential election of 1960.

Mr Olberman goes on to say:
"Our generation's willingness to state, 'We didn't vote for him, but he's our president, and we hope he does a good job' was tested in the crucible of history, and earlier than most. And in circumstances more tragic than threatening. And we did that with which history tasked us." (Italics are mine.)

Okay, I want to know what century Mr Olbermann has been occupying these past 7 years, because it surely isn't the one where I've been living. From the day George W Bush was elected (YES! ELECTED!) POTUS, he has been maligned and dismissed as stupid, Hitleresque, cunning, money hungry, and (in case you missed it the first time) stupidly dimwitted. President Bush has been accused of stealing the 2000 election, and he's also been accused of having his minions somehow steal the 2004 election as well.

I'm not saying that President Bush doesn't deserve criticism. What I am saying, though, is puhleeeeze don't expect me to buy into the rubbish that he's had the full support of his country. The media, the cratz, the entertainment industry, and anyone with some kind of ax to grind has accused President Bush of being everything from the anti-Christ to Alfred E Newman's dumber twin. In fact, I've often wondered over these past 7 years if there was some kind of contest rewarding anyone who could come up with some new and interesting way to label President Bush a liar. I have no idea if a winner has been declared, but I do know that all the negative rhetoric became redundant 6 years and 9 months ago.

I have no idea why anyone thought it was necessary to publish Mr Olbermann's Special Comments. I, for one, will mourn the waste of all the trees it took to put this book on store and library shelves.

1 comment:

JLee said...

I think it's true that Bush got a free pass on the Iraq invasion, if on nothing else, on the back of a national tragedy. The U.S. media (and people) seem to have woken up a bit after that fiasco, thank goodness.