“But Government Isn’t a Game”

Press Gaggle by Tony Fratto:

Q It’s been reported that in some of these meetings the President doesn’t want people to talk about the prospect of planning in the event that the Democrats take over Congress. Is that correct?

MR. FRATTO: I think the President has been very clear that he’s preparing for a Congress that has Republican leadership, and that’s the way we’ll continue to proceed. It’s the only way to proceed.

Q You said that it’s the only way to proceed, to prepare for a Republican-controlled Congress. With such a close election, and with both parties recognizing how close it’s going to be, why not at least consider both alternatives?

MR. FRATTO: We’re still in the game, and — if you’re in the game, you’re in it to win.

Q But you don’t know the outcome of the game any more than I do, and —

MR. FRATTO: We feel confident about the outcome, and that’s the way we’re going to proceed.

Q Continuing the analogy, but government isn’t a game, and you are governing, and so your responsibility is to prepare for how to govern regardless of how it turns out. So it may be a game in the political sense, but it’s really not a game to Americans who want their government to be ready to do what needs to be done.

MR. FRATTO: He’ll be ready.

Q That means you’re preparing for the other outcome?

MR. FRATTO: We are ready. We are ready for — we’re ready for a — we’re ready to work with a Republican Congress. Nice try, Jennifer.

Q That would suggest not ready for a Democratic Congress.

MR. FRATTO: Questions? Anything else? Thank you.

I don’t have anything to add, that pretty much speaks for itself.

Where’s the outrage?

What If They Gave a War…?

So why aren’t the streets clogged with angry Americans demanding to know why their president lied and deceived them so he could attack a country that had absolutely nothing to do with his so-called war on terror?

Why aren’t we marching to demand an end to the illegal surveillance of American citizens by their own government, again under the pretext of waging war on terror? Why do we so blithely surrender our civil liberties — the very thing that supposedly separates us from other societies — to the illusion of security?

Why aren’t irate Americans camping out in the lobby of every newspaper and TV station from coast to coast, demanding that the press reassert the right to perform its single most important function, that of government watchdog?

In short, where the hell is everybody?

The answer is that we’ve created a culture where a lack of cynicism is considered naiveté. The response to the NSA spying program is the result of a culture that took the Watergate scandal and internalized it as business as usual.

The culture we’ve created responds “If you’re surprised by it, why you’re not one of us worldly people that knew the conspiracies in popular culture were real. Of course it’s going on. Sorry, I thought you knew that!”

Meanwhile, the idealists have been suffering from 5 years of outrage fatigue and making jokes on the Daily Show that further entrench the cynicism. A culture that perceives permissiveness and apathy as cool will only care when the system gets so bad as to affect people on personal level, like the Vietnam War draft. Sorry, I thought you knew that!