The Bush administration had almost elevated Doublespeak to a fine art until Katrina happened and they began shooting out of frame and reading the stage directions on the teleprompters.
An initiative designed to reduce corporate accountability for pollution was dubbed the Clean Skies Act. A violent civil war is labeled sectarian violence. The systemic torture at Abu Ghraib was simply abuse by a few bad apples. Just this Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press, presidential adviser, Stephen Hadley, told Tim Russert that the current quagmire in Iraq didn’t require a change of course, but rather an improvement.
We have become so used to the sugar-coating of crap, that although his resignation today comes as little surprise, perhaps we should have appreciated John Bolton a little more, for actually reflecting America for who she really is.
The embattled United Nations ambassador, too unpopular to be confirmed by even a Republican House and Senate, was ushered through as a recess appointment by President Bush.
His walrus moustache and aggressive, bellicose manner offended the dignity of the crassest of Americans, not to mention the global community at the United Nations to whom he presented the face of America.
While his experience and diplomatic skill should be the determinant by which he is measured, it’s foolish to pretend that looks don’t count in a negotiation. Yet, with John Bolton, his gruff, hostile arrogance was consistent with unattractive, unkempt appearance, and by extension by virtue of his role, the face of the Bush Adminsitration -- and thus America.
Once upon a time, the Christian Coalition was led by the fresh-faced, squeaky-clean Ralph Reed, who catapulted membership and credibility when he replaced the foam-mouthed, fiery and demented, Pat Roberts. Despite Ralph Reed’s rabid homophobia, greed and hypocrisy, the immaculately polished presentation successfully masked who he really was, until years later, scandals revealing his greed, corruption and true identity left him unelectable and forever synonymous with disgraced lobbyist, Jack Abramoff.
It was this masking, the smiling, and young, charismatic veneer that made Reed so dangerous. Selling dangerous policy with the aplomb of a top-rate used car-salesman.
So despite the almost universal relief with which John Bolton ends his career in public service, there’s a tiny glimmer of remorse at seeing the one true, unvarnished, unspinnable metaphor for the Bush administration bite the dust. Although no one has been named to replace him yet, I hedge my bets on Gwyneth Paltrow.