The Watch

The Watch is concerned about the increasing pressure towards feudalism in the United States from corporations, social regressives, warmongers, and the media. We also are concerned with future history concerning our current times, as non-truths which are “widely reported” become the basis for completely false narratives.

Monday, May 01, 2006


The White House Correspondants dinner has long been an enigma to me. Journalists and politicians get together for an evening of drinks and comedy, theoretically at their own expense, but in reality they all have a big laugh together about what insiders they all are. What's weird about it is to see people who are essentially mortal enemies laughing it up with each other. Case in point: at this year's event, there was Joe Wilson and Valerie Wilson, in the same room with Bush and the First Lady, and lots of people who think it is perfectly all right that all of Wilson's former intelligence contacts in Iran have been exposed (and probably killed) because of what Cheney and Rove did.

The President usually has a skit including self-effacing humor (like the year he hliariously showed pictures of himself huntin' up those WMDs), and this year was no exception. And then there is a keynote address by some comedian whose job it is to poke gentle fun of the President and the press, with the sense that hey, we're all just powerful people in this together and isn't it nice to just pretend like everything's OK? For example, Jon Stewart, in a lion's den like that, would make quips about the absurdity of everything, and at the end of the evening everyone would love him.

This year that did not happen. Someone named Mark Smith booked Stephen Colbert to do a 30 minute presentation, and Colbert took him up on it. And Colbert hit for the bleachers, apparently not worried that he woudln't be asked back. He presented in his TV persona, that which mirrors Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, and while sarcasticly professing to agree with everything Bush was about, proceeded to lay out everything Bush was about in accurate, excruciating detail.

Colbert bombed. His audience was tense and mostly silent during his long presentation (you can hear how subdued they are when they finally laugh more or less out loud at one of his less controversial jokes about global warming), and it was clear that neither the power media people nor the power politicians appreciated having their evil presented to them on the platter of Colbert's elfin, confident delivery. What's amazing is his absolute courage in ramming the truth of this press's complicity and the evil of the administration home. He proceeds slowly, letting the barbs settle and sink in. As you watch the audience, they are sitting stony faced, or with their hands over their mouths, or pop-eyed that anyone would dare say these things while only 10 feet from Dim Son himself. He addresses the President several times, directly, disarmingly, claiming a rapport between them.

A transcript of his presentation is available. You may also watch part of it (including a video showing a hilarious press conference which turns into an homage to Helen Thomas) at Crooks&Liars, but for the best effect (including reaction shots from an obviously pissed off Bush) see the three videos at YouTube (they are also posted together at ThisMuchLeft). But see it, see as much of it as possible, and you will understand the courage and the brilliance of this man.

Here are some of my favorite parts:

I believe the government that governs best is the government that governs least. And by those standards, we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq.

Now, I know there are some polls out there saying this man has a 32% approval rating. But guys like us; we don't pay attention to the polls. We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking in "reality." And reality has a well-known liberal bias.

Sir, pay no attention to the people who say the glass is half empty, because 32% means its 2/3 empty.

I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, has he stood on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message, that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world.

The greatest thing about this man is he's steady. You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday, that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday. Events can change, this man’s beliefs never will.

But the rest of you, what are you thinking, reporting on N.S.A. Wiretapping or secret prisons in Eastern Europe? Those things are secret for a very important reason, they’re super depressing.

The president makes decisions, he’s the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Put them through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know: fiction.

General Mosley, Air Force Chief of Staff. General Peter Pace. They still support Rumsfeld. You guys aren't retired yet, right? Right, they still support Rumsfeld. Look, by the way, I've got a theory about how to handle these retired generals causing all this trouble, don't let them retire. C'mon, we've got a stop loss program; let's use it on these guys. If you're strong enough to go on one of those pundit shows, you can stand on a bank of computers and order men into battle.

John McCain is here. John McCain - John McCain. What a maverick. Somebody find out what fork he used on his salad, because I guarantee you it wasn't a salad fork. He could have used a spoon. There's no predicting him. So wonderful to see you coming back into the republican fold. I have a summer house in South Carolina; look me up when you go to speak at bob Jones University. So glad you've seen the light.



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