In a blast of hypocritical irony–or ironic hypocrisy–A Republican National Committee surrogate known as ‘Citizens United’, a hypocritical irony of its own, has filed a complaint with the FEC (Federal Elections Commission) claiming that the ads for Moore’s film, Fahrenheit 9/11, violate campaign laws because–and I’ve been laughing so hard I can hardly type this–they use Junior’s voice and show his face. That, they claim, makes the ads ‘political’.
“My goal is to have Michael Moore’s advertisements, as they are, taken off the air,” said David N. Bossie, president of Citizens United. “If he changes his advertising … if he takes the president’s likeness off the ads, then he can run the ads until he’s blue in the face.”But Bossie faces an uphill battle. For one thing, the FEC normally takes months to process complaints. For another, it appears highly unlikely that the bipartisan six-member panel would rule against Moore, an Oscar-winning producer.
Moore issued a statement Thursday indicating he wasn’t concerned about Bossie’s complaint. “I am deeply concerned about whether or not the FEC will think I paid Citizens United to raise these issues regarding ‘Fahrenheit 9/11,’ ” he said. “How else can you explain the millions of dollars of free publicity this right-wing group has given the movie? I plan on sending them a nice holiday card this year.”
So what has their dry, brittle panties twisted in knots? Simple: Moore has put on-screen all the evidence of Bush’s incompetence, mismanagement, lies, cowardice, stupidity and cronyism that the mainstream media has been ignoring since Junior announced his candidacy and Texan Molly Ivins started trying to tell us what we were in for if we elected this chump. Turns out it–literally–isn’t a pretty picture.
Although Moore’s narration ranges from outrage to sarcasm, the most devastating passage in the film speaks for itself. That’s when Bush, who was reading My Pet Goat to a classroom of Florida children, is notified of the second attack on the World Trade Center, and yet lingers with the kids for almost seven minutes before finally leaving the room. His inexplicable paralysis wasn’t underlined in news reports at the time, and only Moore thought to contact the teacher in that schoolroom — who, as it turned out, had made her own video of the visit. The expression on Bush’s face as he sits there is odd indeed.Bush, here and elsewhere in the film, is characterized as a man who owes a lot to his friends, including those who helped bail him out of business ventures. Moore places particular emphasis on what he sees as a long-term friendship between the Bush family (including both presidents) and powerful Saudi Arabians. More than $1.4 billion in Saudi money has flowed into the coffers of Bush family enterprises, he says, and after 9/11 the White House helped expedite flights out of the country carrying, among others, members of the bin Laden family (which disowns its most famous member).
Moore examines the military records released by Bush to explain his disappearance from the Texas Air National Guard, and finds that the name of another pilot has been blacked out. This pilot, he learns, was Bush’s close friend James R. Bath, who became Texas money manager for the billionaire bin Ladens. Another indication of the closeness of the Bushes and the Saudis: The law firm of James Baker, the secretary of State for Bush’s father, was hired by the Saudis to defend them against a suit by a group of 9/11 victims and survivors, who charged that the Saudis had financed al-Qaida.
Moore–who learned his lesson when he was raked over the coals for inaccuracies in Bowling for Columbine–has warned that he has evidence for every single charge he has made and that if the right-wing’s Mighty Wurlitzer goes into attack mode on his film, he will fight back–with facts.
In a way, I hope they do. Ebert writes in his review, ‘The charges in the film will not come as news to those who pay attention to politics’, but that number is, of course, a fraction of the number of people who will see the film. Most of its eventual audience will be getting exposed to this material for the first time thanks to our boot-licking corporate media; show trials they would be forced to cover because of their high profile would open the material up to millions more who haven’t seen the film. And that could do for Bush’s actual record as President what Moore’s casual ‘deserter’ joke did for his military record: open it to wide scrutiny for the first time.
If this travesty of a ‘president’ is finally humiliated in November, we could have Michael Moore to thank for our release.