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Singin' The 'Make No Mistake' Blues

Wednesday, May. 10, 2006 12:12 AM

Comedian Jon Stewart has pointed out an embarassing fact:

In their respective nomination announcements, President Bush used the exact same words to describe Porter Goss as he used to describe General Michael Hayden.

Those words are, "He's the right man to lead this important agency at this critical moment in our nation's history."

The announcements also re-use the lines, "I appreciate your many years of service to our country," and, "I'm/We're grateful that you've agreed to step forward and serve once again."

And you thought we were kidding when we made comparisons between the ramp-up to Iraq and the 'diplomatic efforts' we're making with Iran.

There's nothing new in the Bush Administration playbook; this should be apparent from years of repeating bland patriotic slogans and tautology.

And ABC News hit the streets of the Nation's Capitol to see how many of the pompous windbags our elected representatives actually know the lyrics to the Star-Spangled Banner.

Congresswoman Macry Kaptur (D-Ohio) and Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland) gave spirited renditions of the national anthem. Congressman Gene Green (D-Texas) did so accompanied by a group of schoolchildren.

But others offered only excuses. Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) launched into the first stanzas with gusto, but did not finish the entire song.

At least Senator Lindsay Graham (R-South Carolina) was honest, admitting, "I am like 61 percent of Americans. If I had to get up and recite the national anthem, I would fail miserably."

However, a protester was able to comply with only a minor flub, and a group of chiropractors sang it backwards.

However, I am still upset with both our legislators and the media. This is the most important issue you can think of?

I'd like to grouse about one line that has become a standard in politics:

"Make no mistake ..."

There are 274 results for that exact phrase on the White House website. Sadly, the use of this line is self-defeating. It calls attention to the opposing view. It makes a listener perk up and (hopefully) consider what elements of a claim may be the exact opposite.

Instead of expressing certainty, it opens the door to doubt. If you're speaking clearly and honestly, there's no need to point out your message - it should be self-evident.

After all, our Founding Fathers didn't write, "Make no mistake, we hold these truths to be self-evident."

But, in the coverage of Feliks Dzerzhinsky's General Michael Hayden's nomination as CIA Director, there's good ol' Stephen Hadley:

"Make no mistake, when he steps in as head of the Central Intelligence Agency, he will not be reporting to Don Rumsfeld."

Senator Dianne Feinstein has lost my vote.


In backing the nomination of General Michael Hayden for CIA Director, with her only concern the color of the suit he wears to work, Feinstein has shown herself to be as reprehensible as the rest of the Constitution-rending gang in the Bush White House.

My wife winced when I mentioned this at dinner, suggesting that Feinstein's good points outweighs her stand on Hayden. Or flag burning. Or Condoleezza Rice.

Not in my book (or blog).

I took a similar stand on Howard Dean, who self-destructed with his hoot-owl act. But what did the clueless Democrats do? They chose him to head up the party.

Consequently, when Senator Russ Feingold submitted a motion to censure President Bush, Dean and other notable Democrats did a duck-and-cover worthy of an ostrich farm during an earthquake. (Expressing my opinions to the DNC got me spammed.)

Thanks for playing, Dianne.

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