Friday, February 09, 2007

The Party that Cries "Wolf!" 

First it was (gasp) her attempts to give an exemption over minimum wage laws to fisheries in American Samoa that -- oops, turned out not to be exemptions because said territories were not covered by Federal minimum wage law. End result, a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing, but Pelosi did then sponsor an exception to the law so that said fisheries were also subjected to minimum wage.

Now, the rightwing spinsters are getting totally self-righteous over an airplane. That is, over a request by Capitol Security, and not Pelosi, that she be provided with a government plane capable of flying from DC to her home district, San Francisco, without stopping for refueling. Their original red-herring was pointing out that Dennis Hastert flew in some teensy business-class commuter jet. They conveniently "forgot" to mention that Hastert only had to fly about six hundred miles back to his home district in Illinois. Pelosi has to go six times that distance.

And they will never mention in public that Air Force One is a modified 747-200B. Or that Air Force Two, the Vice President's plane, is usually a 757 or 737. Or that the Speaker of the House, as second in line to the presidency after the Vice President, generally deserves the same level of security as the others.

Or that the entire Cabinet is entitled to military aircraft as well, since they are also in the line of succession.

ABC's Nightline made an interesting point about all of this tonight and, although they were trying to blatantly bash Pelosi in the process, they failed. They pointed out that the US is the only country where the heads of state get their own private planes. Tony Blair and the Pope travel on commercial jets; in fact, when Blair and his wife flew to the US recently, they bought economy class tickets on British Airways, "hoping for an upgrade". The Pope flies outward bound on Al Italia, then back home on the national airline of whatever country he visited.

And that's sort of the crux of the biscuit. If W is willing to give up his private plane and put up with the same crap that the rest of us have to when trying to fly commercial, fine. Likewise, Dick "Duck Hunter" Cheney. Pelosi even offered to fly commercial if there were no alternative available. But the most telling point came when press secretary Tony Snow came out in defense of Pelosi after the failed attempt at indignation by the rightwingers. At least the White House seems to have the sense to realize that this argument is a no-win situation. It's the equivalent of complaining about someone owning a Lexus when you've got a Lamborghini.

But, to all those rightwing nutjobs who think this kind of crap is important: Please, keep harping about it. Keep bringing up these meaningless, stupid, pointless, untrue arguments. Get them up for a news cycle, watch them torn apart. Do it on a weekly basis between now and November 2008.

Because, long before then, the American Public will wise up, and classify you as the "party that cries wolf". They will cease to take anything you say seriously the second its uttered.

Which they should have started doing during the Clinton Administration. But hey, better late to the party than to have never shown up.

The American people are starting to show up, and they sure as hell aren't drinking the Kool-Aid this time. But, rightwingers, please keep serving it up. It just gives the rest of us more and more reasons to point and laugh at you.

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