You can’t fool all the people all the time

by Ogi Overman

What’s gotten into ol’ W lately? You don’t see the guy for months on end except for a few photo ops with hurricane victims and foreign heads of state and, oh yes, the shot that will live forever of him walking into the fake door in China, a la Dick Van Dyke. Then, as if on cue from Rove, presto chango, he’s ubiquitous, giving one-on-ones with network anchors, a prime-time speech, and most shocking of all, actually fielding questions from an unscreened audience after a press conference. He even gave a rah-rah speech in Kernersville, where, as everyone knows, the unemployment rate is zero.

And before the latest scandal hit ‘— the one that revealed that his administration has been eavesdropping without a court order on Americans ‘— the shift in tactics seemed to be working. Buoyed by the Iraqi elections which appeared to go off with only minimal car bombings, his approval ratings skyrocketed all the way up to the 40 percent range, which is considerably above the percentage of people you can fool all the time ‘— otherwise known as his base. Of course, those figures take into account the percentage who can only be fooled part of the time, those who can be swayed by a bit of good news and forget the mountain of bad news.

Then there are those of us who won’t be fooled again, who gave him the benefit of the doubt after the 9/11 bullhorn moment and now regret it. We are the ones who realize it’s what he’s not talking about that should give pause; it’s the questions the docile White House press corps refuses to ask that are of gravest concern. It’s the issues that aren’t even on the Bush agenda that reveal how little his regime understands about the world around them. To wit:

Health insurance: This issue reverberates all through the economy, as the number of Americans without health insurance is staggering and the cost for those who do soaring. Once-dominant GM is nearing bankruptcy in part because it costs the company $1500 per car for employee health insurance. Perhaps the fact that Toyota has moved its American plants to Canada because of their nationalized health care policy will get his attention. But I doubt it.

China: Knock knock! Has anyone noticed that the sleeping giant has awoke, that practically everything we consume is manufactured in China, that theirs is the most robust economy the world has known? Before it’s over we’ll all be getting paid, to use Richard Pryor’s term, in yang money. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad except for that little problem China has with civil liberties. Then again, that would be of no concern to The Duh, now would it?

Federal deficit: How could a true fiscal conservative defend this guy? The latest figures suggest that the deficit could reach an unfathomable trillion dollars by the time Bush leaves office. That is, unless something were to be revealed that would somehow cause him to leave office early.

Energy dependence: Imagine what could have happened if this nation had thrown all its fiscal resources, brain power and research capabilities into developing alternative energy sources to reduce our dependence on oil, foreign and otherwise. What if an environmentalist like Al Gore ‘— rather than a Texas oil man who denies that global warming exists and a veep who calls energy conservation a personal choice and not a national policy ‘— had gotten elected, how much closer to energy independence we would be today. The fact that The Duh’s answer was to open the Alaskan wilderness to drilling speaks volumes about his lack of understanding and concern about the planet that sustains us. (Thank God the US Senate rejected that ill-conceived notion last week.)

Iran: Since it does have a nuclear program, and does give safe haven to terrorists, and does have links to al Qaida, and has a whacko leader who denies that the holocaust happened, does it occur to you that maybe Bush attacked the wrong country?

Homeland security: Rove & Co. figured out shortly after Bush’s 30 seconds of fame with the bullhorn at the WTC site that his numbers go up when he poses as our national ‘“protector.’” Somehow he makes those who can be fooled all the time feel safe. But the other 90 percent of us are asking why nothing has been done to make our ports and rails secure. While he’s focused on airports and obsessed with Iraq, who’s to say that terrorists aren’t planning to take the path of least resistance ‘— which is probably ships and trains rather than airplanes. To argue that the fact that we haven’t been attacked in four years proves their policies are working not only commits several logical fallacies but is an insult to my intelligence.

As my grandpappy (and lately Rep. Jack Murtha) used to say, ‘“Sayin’ it don’t make it so.’”

Ogi can be reached at, heard each Tuesday at 9:30 on ‘“The Dusty Dunn Show’” on WGOS 1070 AM, and seen most Fridays on ‘“Triad Today’” at 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. on WXLV and WUPN, respectively.