Saturday, January 08, 2005

The 4-Year Old's Filibuster

By now, you've probably heard about Armstrong Williams, the black commentator the Bush administration greased with $240,000 to effectively "promote" their NCLB legislation, hoping to increase support among the black community. But what I find interesting is the reaction by Williams to being exposed for a lapse in journalistic ethics so eggregious that it allowed Tribune Media Services to axe his syndicated contract in a decision that "wasn't even close" for the managing editors.

To quote Inigo Montoya, "Allow me to sum up:"
The Secret Action:
Williams, a prominent commentator, is paid $240,000 to promote No Child Left Behind in his national television show in obvious violation of journalistic ethics.

When Caught:
Williams says it was a poor choice and showed bad judgment, but that he "believed" in NCLB.

The Actions:
Williams refuses to return the taxpayer money, noting that "he earned it."
Funny. This behavior looks strangely familiar. I have a nearly 4-year old daughter. I recognize this pattern of statements and actions. Any parent should. It goes like this:
The Secret Action:
Swipe a cookie before dinner even though mom and dad said you couldn't have one.

When Caught:
In a round about way, admit you did something bad, but that you were really hungry.

The Actions:
Eat the cookie anyway, then go play.
From a little kid's perspective, parents can be easily manipulated and any action easily justified no matter how wrong it might have been. All you have to do is rationalize your actions and say what the parent wants to hear. The concept of consequences never enter this thought process. The idea is to filibuster the consequences and live to swipe another cookie another day.

Funny how the Bush administration thinks this way. Case in point, Alberto Gonzales:
The Secret Action:
As Bush's chief council, Gonzales justifies legal use of torture, ignoring the Geneva Conventions, and promotes the War President as being above any law he sees fit to violate.

When Caught:
During his confirmation hearings for appointment to Attorney General, Gonzales states he believes deeply in the rule of law and is against torture in any form.

The Action:
Gonzales is most likely to be confirmed as the next Attorney General of the United States.
You and I could play this game all day, just pick a Bush administration official. But what is important is to see the pattern so brilliantly played out in child like fashion by the Bush administration. It's so simple it's child's play to them. And just like any child, they fully expect that when they put on that sad puppy dog face and say all the things we as parents want to hear them say that we, being overly forgiving and gullible parents, will indeed forgive. But more importantly, that we will forgive and forget the consequences.

Any parent knows what will happen when consequences are forgotten. The bad behavior only gets bigger and the excuses greater.

It's time for some consequences again.