The consensus came down for Atlas Shrugged, a novel whose villains seemed to have enjoyed a kind of ethereal, literary karma and wound up in President Barack Obama's administration. The premise behind the consensus was that before you can depict a country in ruins governed by an all-knowing, all-controlling totalitarian régime, it must first be ruined.
I agreed with that consensus. But, here's a new twist on that hypothesis.
In 1997, Hollywood released a cinematic spitball aimed at President George H.W. Bush, Wag the Dog, about a phony war concocted by – don't be too surprised – a Hollywood producer to distract attention away from a fictive president's sex scandal just before an election. The ruse succeeds, and the (presumably Republican) president is reelected. The ruse is so successful that its creator is bursting with frustrated pride and wants to tell the world about it. He is warned not to. He insists. Consequently, he has a heart attack at poolside and dies, an unfortunate "tragedy" arranged for him by a fellow spin-doctor working for the government.
Lately, reality has had a habit of emulating fiction, even Hollywood's leftist digital and celluloid fiction. Today we have, in the geyser of revelations about what happened in Benghazi on September 11th, 2012, just the reverse of what transpired in the movie. There is a real war, a president and former Secretary of State are embroiled in a scandal, and there have been real deaths, and not so much a covered-up sex scandal as a set of lies and fabrications intended to distract Americans' attention from the criminal behavior and statements of the administration just before an election, in this instance, the 2012 election.
President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and advisor and fiction writer Ben Rhodes apparently failed to wag this particular dog convincingly enough to stop the truth from coming out, although it wasn't for lack of trying by the stooges and cheerleaders in the MSM and by Obama's geekish press secretary, Jay Carney. In fact, a whole kennel of dogs is barking outloud about how their owners mangled their tails in multiple attempts to wag them. These are dogs that date back to Obama's first term in office.
There is the IRS scandal over Associated Press phone records being seized by the Department of Justice to see who was saying, writing, and doing what, and when, and the IRS scandal over that beloved "service" targeting the Tea Party and other organizations for special attention, all with the implied sanction of an all-too-real president to weaken their opposition to Obama's reelection.
There is "Fast and Furious," Attorney General Eric Holder's pack of rabid pit bulls concocted to implicate private gun owners and sellers in the Mexican drug cartel's depredations with the aim of imposing gun controls on the country to reduce "gun violence."
There are the Solyndra-class, fascist subsidies to companies that ultimately failed and continue to cost taxpayers.
There was TARP and the whole subprime mortgage meltdown that cost billions and billions of taxpayer dollars. There were the car industry bailouts that continue to cost billions. There is Obama's opposition to any energy plan that would make the country independent of the whims and political influence of OPEC and especially of Mideast oil potentates.
There is Obama's endorsement of the so-called "Arab Spring," which was heralded as a chance to bring "democracy" to Egypt and Tunisia and Libya, but which has resulted in the establishment of one of this country's most determined and deadly enemies, the Muslim Brotherhood, not to mention the murderous turmoil in Syria.
There is the astronomical debt rung up by the Obama administration for which we might need to coin a new term that would describe it.
There is Obamacare, a dictatorial "health insurance" scam that forces all Americans to participate in, and whose true costs are now beginning to reveal themselves.
There is terrorism itself, and Obama ordering the destruction or redacting of all government training materials that would identify our enemy, Islam, reducing our law enforcement agencies to a blinded, bumbling Mr. Magoo.
But, it's Ben Rhodes who is the focus of attention here. I focus on him because, as a novelist, I wish to redeem the good name of novelists who produce fiction. I cannot speak for other novelists, but I can distinguish between writing fiction for a reading public and concocting lies to be consumed by the same public. Rhodes is billed as Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting, overseeing President Obama’s national security communications, speechwriting, and global engagement. And, before being appointed to that post, was Deputy Director of White House Speechwriting, and as a Senior Speechwriter for the Obama campaign.
In short, Rhodes is the Dustin Hoffman character in Wag the Dog, Stanley Motss. It is too early to project whether or not he will meet Stanley Motss's fate. Probably not. More likely he will be thrown under another of Obama's buses, figuratively speaking, in the guise of a tearful resignation. He is, after all, an important "advisor," and he advised Obama, not too well, and wrongly, at that. His hand was in the talking points cookie jar, and the jar was fabricated by his fellow staff spin-doctors.
Rhodes apparently is implicated in the "talking points" issue over what to say and what not to say about what happened in Benghazi, why the consulate was attacked, by whom, and who knew it and when. By "who knew it," I mean anyone in the government outside of Al Qada and the Muslim Brotherhood, two organizations which seem to be formulating our foreign policy.
Obama has more or less laughed off the Benghazi investigation. As the Washington Post reported:
“We don’t have time to keep playing these political games in Washington,” Obama said, arguing that the more important work is ensuring that U.S. diplomats are adequately protected. “We dishonor them when we turn things like this into a political circus.”
Rhodes was apparently aided in the deceit by Samantha Power, consort of former would-be speech censor and Obama staffer Cass Sunstein. Having resigned from the first Obama term because of an "off-the-record" remark she made about Hillary Clinton, she is back in the administration and heads the Office of Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights as Senior Director of Multilateral Affairs on the Staff of the National Security Council. She is a Pulitzer Prize winning author and is closely entrenched in Harvard University's liberal establishment.
What did she say about Hillary "It doesn't matter" Clinton that forced her to resign? It is precious, and it is correct. The Washington Post wrote:
" 'She is a monster, too -- that is off the record -- she is stooping to anything,' Ms. Power said, hastily trying to withdraw her remark."
… Power was quoted as taking other swipes at Obama's Democratic presidential nomination rival, which Gilson says came after the "monster" comment and which Power did not attempt to place off the record. Power said of Clinton, "You just look at her and think, 'Ergh' . . . The amount of deceit she has put forward is really unattractive."
Ben Rhodes, however, got a master's degree in fiction-writing at New York University. The only fiction he is known to have written is some of Obama's speeches. A puff-piece in the Collegiate School's blogsite quotes him:
“For a long time, my focus was on being a writer,” Rhodes said. “But I was definitely politically engaged [in school], and I don’t think it would surprise anyone I went to high school with that I ended up doing something in politics.” [Syntax, sic]
Like writing fiction for the President ever since 2007, and for former Virginia governor and now Senator Mark Warner, and for Representative Lee Hamilton of Indiana.
As for the "talking points" new and old, and how the administration was concerned about their credibility, The Weekly Standard, in Stephen Hayes' May 13th article, "The Benghazi Talking Points: And how they were changed to obscure the truth," reported
In an attempt to address those concerns, CIA officials cut all references to Ansar al Sharia and made minor tweaks. But in a follow-up email at 9:24 p.m., [State Department spokesman Victoria] Nuland wrote that the problem remained and that her superiors—she did not say which ones—were unhappy. The changes, she wrote, did not “resolve all my issues or those of my building leadership,” and State Department leadership was contacting National Security Council officials directly. Moments later, according to the House report, “White House officials responded by stating that the State Department’s concerns would have to be taken into account.” One official—Ben Rhodes, The Weekly Standard is told, a top adviser to President Obama on national security and foreign policy—further advised the group that the issues would be resolved in a meeting of top administration officials the following morning at the White House.
By "resolved," Rhodes did not mean the resolution of conflicts and plots in a work of fiction. That skill, presumably (but doubtfully) acquired for his master's degree in fiction-writing at NYU, did not come into play here. He meant reaching a credible lie in the work of fiction that is Obama's ongoing work-in-progress.
That is, concocting disingenuous statements and postures to preserve the alleged credibility of Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Obama, Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton, Victoria Nuland, and Ben Rhodes all cried havoc, but let slip the dogs of war – on their own houses. For once.