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By Geoff Metcalf

June 10, 2002 


Perception versus reality…form over substance…what is--as compared to  what is not.  We see it every day in politics, business, and entertainment.  Saturday night reality ruled and the perception of an unstoppable savage was dismissed by the reality of superior skill.


A big man with superior technical skills and physical conditioning dominated, destroyed, and “took Mike Tyson to school”.


The much ballyhooed and over promoted presumed clash of titans was an under whelming spectacle but a magnificent demonstration of the skills of boxing.


In life, as in boxing, it is not sufficient to self anoint with an “I am the greatest!” proclamation.  Eventually you gotta deliver the goods.  Lenox Lewis delivered the goods.


Too often those we elect and depend on to deliver don’t.


Bill Clinton was a master of form.  Clinton is a charismatic and charming presence.  He manufactured a persona that served him well in positioning whatever his message du jour was.  His actual performance (no not that…) was abominable.  The ‘dark ages’ of eight years of Clinton did more harm to our national security than a legion of terrorist cells.  Clinton’s myriad inadequacies are chronicled is a growing litany of books from Ambrose Evans Pritchard to Ann Coulter.


George W. Bush has not yet mastered the form…notwithstanding some stellar moments.  However, his substance (although at times questionable) already has been so far superior to his predecessor he remains solid.  The Bush performance is notable given the significance of the challenges he has had to face while handicapped.


*    Bush inherited the economic realities of Clinton’s fiction.  The big Clinton/Gore lie was that the economy was cool.  It wasn’t.


*    The epic tragedies of September 11vth were both a blessing and a curse to the new administration.  Although it resulted in fear, anguish, and huge loss, it also galvanized (even if fleetingly) a sense of patriotism, and renaissance of the American spirit.


*    He was forced to deal with monumental challenges without the benefit of having his own team fully in place.


*    Democrat stonewalling on appointments has been malfeasant and damn near criminal.


Clinton’s challenges were largely self-created.  From Whitewater to Travelgate, Chinagate, and from the litany of  woman problems, Paula Jones to Juanita Brodderick, the “substance” and “reality” of Clinton was and is a study in abuse of power under the color of authority.


My favorite Ambrose Evans Pritchard quote is from the end of his book “The Secret Life of Bill Clinton”.  Pritchard wrote, “The American elite, I am afraid to say, is almost beyond redemption.  Moral relativism has set in so deeply that the gilded classes have become incapable of discerning right from wrong.  Everything can be explained away, especially by journalists.  Life is one great moral mush—sophistry washed down with Chardonnary.”


When his book was published in 1997 that quote synthesized American journalistic reality.  However, stuff happens, and things changed.


Moral relativism has been overwhelmed with righteous indignation.  Either by accident or serendipity even the “gilded classes” were uttering Texas-speak payback.  Even America’s black population now thinks that profiling isn’t only cool but imperative.


Stuff happens.


Last year I interviewed Darlene Fitzgerald-Catalan, a U.S. Customs whistleblower  Recently I read an article in which she reiterated her story and said, the media AND congress ignored whistle-blowers under the Clinton watch.  True.  So how come FBI special agent Coleen Rowley is now getting the limelight?


The reason is clearly and simply revealed in a pet peeve. 


Virtually every controversy that erupts is invariably reduced to the lowest common denominator of “Us versus Them”.  It is not unlike high school rivalries.  Much like the Orwellian “four legs good/two legs bad” syndrome.  The mentality is crystallized in a toast we used in Special Forces, “Here’s to the best…the hell with the rest.”


The jihad of petty partisan politics routinely reduces any and all issues to democrats against republicans…left against right…us versus them.


Notwithstanding the nanosecond of “bipartisan support” for the president’s war on terrorism, the ubiquitous, inevitable, axiomatic Us/Them thing has framed the dialog.  And it is flat-out WRONG! 


For over a decade I have been preaching, “It is not a matter of WHO is right or wrong, but WHAT is right or wrong….”


The undeniable complicity of the mainstream media and leftist politicians, supported by the incrementalism of political correctness has exacerbated the team-think and shattered logic and reason.


Teddy Roosevelt once said, "Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does NOT mean to stand by the President or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country."

© 2002 Geoff Metcalf - All Rights Reserved

Geoff is a veteran media performer. He has had an eclectic professional background covering a wide spectrum of radio, television, magazine, and newspapers.  A former Green Beret and retired Army officer he is in great demand as a speaker. Metcalf has hosted his radio talk show on the ABC/Disney owned and operated KSFO and in worldwide syndication.