If you’ve never heard the phrase “Wag The Dog” you may be missing out on what could be the Washington story of the year.
But I get ahead of myself.
“Wag the Dog” refers to a story and film by that name that came out in 1997. The basic plot is simple and at the time a political comedy. A fictitious president of the United States is becoming embroiled in a sex scandal involving a young teenage girl and the story is about to break just days before his reelection. The President instructs his staff to contact a political consultant known for his abilities at damage control to help manage the issue long enough for the president to win reelection.
Jumping ahead a bit, the consultant starts to fabricate a war with “Albania.” The idea: Distract the media and country from the unfolding sex scandal. Most of the film is describing the specific techniques and tactics used to sell the idea there was a war with Albania to the American people.
And it works. Within a few days the country and media has been taken through the growth and unwinding of “the war” leaving the president as a hero who easily wins reelection.
Analogies to the story became rampant during the Bill Clinton administration and efforts to distract the country from the brewing White House intern scandal. And, to some extent it worked.
So, what does all of that have to do with 2017?
I propose that we are coming dangerously close, if not already up to our eyeballs, to the United States Actor-in-Chief picking up the storyline in a desperate escalating attempt to distract the media and the country from the unfolding Russia scandal.
Except that this time the war is not with a fictitious harmless country. This time the threat is very real: North Korea.
And this time, the scandals run throughout the United States government. With incompetent people politically selected to head the various agencies down to various “assistants” and “aides” populating the federal government.
And this time, treaties between the United States and other countries are being torn-up and relations with allies are strained to a near breaking point. Not to mention an ill-equipped son-in-law given control over massive sections of the government.
Oh, and what seems like just an afterthought, this POTUS is bilking the taxpayers for lavish spending at his various hotels and golf courses around the world. And receiving untold amounts of cash from other countries in the ultimate money laundering scheme.
All of which appears to be an effort to distract and cover-up the president’s unfathomable relationships and co-conspiracies with Russia.
In the film director Barry Levinson gives us this to chew on:
“Why does a dog wag its tail? Because a dog is smarter than its tail. If the tail were smarter, the tail would wag the dog.”