(O'Rourke) - The View From the Couch: Gate Crashers 

You have to look the part. The ugly need not apply. Even the Octomom, no babe, thought eight wasn't enough; she had her lips pumped up, ala Laura Croft, Tomb Raider. OK, the White House gate crashers (the Salahi's) make Obama look bad, or, rather, the Obama administration look bad, by being so easily scammed. Incompetence at work is the sub-text. Was Timmy Geithner in charge of the guest list? Chutzpah is often awarded in this culture. Tiger Woods didn't crash his gate, but a fire hydrant, and a tree, evidently. He's one of those folk who prove that most car accidents occur within a mile of home. Woods, or his web site, says he's embarrassed and wants privacy for his family. Well, that's informative. Once the public chooses gods to worship, it claims ownership of them, too. President Obama, who, in the official WH photo, did seem to be smiling especially wide at Mrs. Salahi, the blonde gate crasher, is about to claim ownership of the Afghanistan war tomorrow night. Oh, I'm sure he'll talk about exiting, perhaps beyond the date heath care reform will kick in (if it's passed), sometime post 2014. Afghans think we're gate crashers, just like all the other imperialists who have shed blood there.

Thanksgiving was a mixed bag in the thanks department. 10.2 unemployment, etc. The Republicans remain obstructionists to everything and unpleasant ones, at that. It's been reported that local media around the country have been reaping profits from all the anti-health care reform ads that have been running in Blue Dog Democrat districts, including Indianapolis and up north, here in South Bend. In my book on the 1996 presidential campaign, I pointed out that such advertising — presidential campaigns in general — is a WPA program for upscale intellectual types, TV, radio, advertising. A lot of money, stimulus, is spent every four years to "educate" the unwashed, or overwashed, masses.

We've been treated in our area to ads attacking our 2nd District congressional member, Joe Donnelly. It's run by an astro-turf group called 60Plus. You can read all about that entity here at www.sourcewatch.org Most Americans (I hope) realize political TV ads don't even live up to even the sorry standards of television reality shows. 60Plus is a typical Washington beltway astro-turf organization, though one flush enough to be able to slap up instantaneous ads opposing health care reform, thanks to the pharmaceutical industry. Sourcewatch wrote that a 2006 report in the AARP Bulletin called 60Plus a front group for the pharmaceutical industry. 60Plus listed, as recently as 2001, no income from membership dues on its tax return.

The anti-Donnelly ad is a real offender. There have also been vaguer anti-health care ads aimed at Senator Evan Bayh. These are stranger, in so far as they might be Bayh ads, meant to give him some cred with the reformers (Democrats in Indiana) by making Bayh seem opposed to the health care industry's goals, a real laugher.

Whether the public option, now less public and barely an option, crashes the gates of the Senate remains to be seen.

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William O'Rourke

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