As their gaze took in the beauty of the magnificent structure, they noticed dozens of people scurrying about. Many of them, they noticed, were reading from a small book. The more adventurous of the tour group caught up with someone in a brown shirt and asked what he was reading but the brown shirt ignored him and walked away.
The tourist noticed a copy of the book on the floor. The title of the book was The Game Plan. He picked it up and sat down beneath a statue and began to read. The introduction explained that The Game Plan was simply an instruction manual for administration officials, from education to health care to legislative procedure and fund-raising.
“It is important to remember,” the introduction said, “that the successful appointed or elected official must be adept at saying one thing while meaning something else entirely.”
The tourist, intrigued, read on. He found the following examples in the book of what might be said, followed by what was actually meant:
• “Always refer to vouchers as ‘scholarships.” (In other words conflate the meaning of something given by the state with something earned by the student.);
• “Parents should have a choice about where they send their children. Children should not be trapped in a failing school.” (We do not, under any circumstances, discuss students trapped in poverty. What’s that got to do with education anyway? We must, by any method available, steer the conversation away from poverty.);
• “Characterize disastrous budget cuts as an ‘opportunity to transform.’” (We must condition the public to additional budget cuts as we continue to pass additional corporate tax breaks.);
• “Discuss privatizing public functions rather than profitizing private companies.” (We have campaign contributors who we must take care of.);
• “Describe dedicated state workers who provide essential public services as ‘government bureaucrats.’ (Exploit, at every opportunity, the public’s general distaste of the word bureaucrat.);
• “Unions want to maintain the status quo.” (It’s corporations that have the money for campaign contributions. See: Citizens United.);
• “Deliberately employ confusing statistics, contradictory statements and bureaucratic language.” (If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with B.S.);
• “Appeal to fear and security as reasons for radical actions.” (Can you say Joseph McCarthy, Richard Nixon and the House Unamerican Activities Committee?);
• “Be sure to repeat ‘Transparency and Accountability’ as often as possible.”(That way, no one will notice when you have secret ‘walking quorum’ BESE meetings to discuss what you plan to discuss in open meeting. But NEVER mention accountability when discussing vouchers or charter schools.);
• “The private sector is better equipped to provide vital services more efficiently.” (The sole purpose of government is to provide opportunities for corporate profits.);
• “Appointments will be based on what you know, not who you know.” (How much did he contribute to the campaign?);
• “The MFP is fully funded.” (The MFP means ‘More for Piyush.’);
• “I have the job I want.” (I won’t settle for anything less prestigious than emperor of the free world.)
The tour group was about to leave so the tourist had to put down the book. As he walked to rejoin his group, he looked back at the statue and saw that it was Republican Party strategist Frank Luntz and he was holding a copy of the book while blowing on a dog whistle. Timmy Teepell, with a sly grin on his face and an “OnMessage” sign hanging around his neck, was peeking from behind the statue.
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