Beware of the Fake Transparency We’ll Be Seeing Tonight

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January 27, 2010 | Comments

Attention, everyone: Four hours until show time. Four hours until the President’s long-awaited State of the Union Address to the nation. And yes, a show it will be.

As we all know, the President won’t be able to sing his own praises tonight about his passage of the health-care-reform bill.  That plan was squelched last week in Massachusetts, leaving him now to claim never had anything to do with it in the first place. What we can expect tonight are ample loads of transparency – not the type the President promised incessantly during his hope-and-change-riddled campaign for President, of course, but rather, the type he, his wife, his administration, and his party have been rehearsing since the tsunami they endured one week ago.

We’ve seen it coming, but we must be on our guard tonight as he takes to his telepromptered stage with humility and such compassionate concern for the “ordinary Americans” who comprise the previously dreaded “middle class.” Remember that everything you see tonight, every word, every gesture, every glance, will be carefully orchestrated, carefully scripted. The stage directions have probably even been incorporated into the teleprompter’s script.

As he enters the great hall, the President will ignore the fact that the applause that greets him tonight from a previously adoring and slobbering Congress is a bit more tepid than it was the last time he addressed them en masse. He will ignore the fact that many within this body now suddenly regard him as a potential impediment to their careers, preferring that their consitituents, who they have suddenly remembered exist, not see them applauding too enthusiastically for this suspicious character. Once positioned at the helm, the President will take a breath and adopt the majestic countenance that he believes has served him so well during the last year, looking down his aristocratic nose at the masses who have had the audacity to defy him.

Somewhere in his speech, the President will greet the wounded warriors we hear he will be planting carefully in his audience tonight, and the struggling ordinary working families – also scheduled plants – for the dramatic effect (and photo-ops) they always provide. He will refer to his wife’s address yesterday to military families, proving yet again that this ultimate power couple have the little guy’s best interests at heart. Then he will regale us with such words as “tax cuts,” “spending freeze,” and “incentives,” uttering them without hint of a sneer or a smirk. He’s got to get it right tonight, if he is to fool the masses once more.

But given the miracles we masses have witnessed over the last year in Virginia, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and in town halls and parade routes from sea to shining sea, I just don’t believe it’s going to work for him. His orchestrated words, and the embarrassing transparency inspiring them tonight, just won’t be enough to lull the sleeping giant back into its slumber.

The President, of course, will claim victory in the aftermath, refusing to acknowledge that we see his pathetic attempts as the hackneyed transparent acts of desperation that they are. He’ll convince himself that we the people – we the dupes – are buying it. He’ll convince himself that we have no choice but to swoon in the presence of his hypnotic gift. But we the people are far too sharp, and far too awake, to believe a word he says. We know transparency when we see it, and tonight’s show will be the most transparent attempt at salvaging a presidency and an administration that we have seen since Bill Clinton’s second term.

So enjoy the show, but remember, that’s all it is. Personally, I’d like to see the teleprompter have a tantrum, short out, and leave its very dependent speaker to his own devices. Now that would be a show. And as we know, miracles do happen.

Betsy Siino | Comments