Once You've Fucked a Goat:
As the Rude Pundit has said before, there's an old joke, one that goes something like this: A man is sitting at a bar, drinking, and he says to no one in particular, "A man can spend his life building bridges. Do they call him John the Bridge Builder? No. A man can spend his life raising crops. Do they call him John the Farmer? No. But you fuck one goat . . ."

It's the goatfucker theory of character. When someone does something appalling enough to change how you view him/her and his/her opinions on things. So, if John expresses his opinion on something, one can say, "Yeah, but you fucked a goat." Fair or unfair, it's the way things are. Unfair use of the principle of the goatfucker? Bill Clinton. Yeah, yeah, all that policy stuff is interesting and could probably make the country great again, but you got blown by an intern.

Fair use of the goatfucker axiom? Why, of course: the goatfucker-in-chief, George Bush. He's reached that point where anything he says is immediately suspect because he's been caught, very publicly, in a lie that turns him into a murderer. So, while strategists wonder what has gone wrong, why Bush's approval rating has plummeted like so many barrels over the falls, the answer is simple: he's fucked the goat. No one can look at him without thinking, "How do I know he's not lying? He stated something as a fact that wasn't a fact. He's lying just like his father did when he said 'Read my lip' and then raised taxes. Why should I trust a liar?"

And now every time Bush speaks, it is greeted with a yawn by the public, and it's met with derision by most intelligent people, even some on the right who are about to become rats abandoning a sinking ship no matter how frantically Karl Rove tries to patch the holes and beat the rats back into the hold. Take today's lie: in the Economic Report of the President, Bush predicts that his economy will create 2.6 million jobs in the next year. Goddamn, Jeane Dixon, Edgar Cayce, and Nostradamus would be proud. Of course, they were all wrong ninety percent of the time, but being able to see the future is a tricky business. To make this come true, the government better be paying Halliburton a helluva lot of money to build some shit in America. Or McDonald's better get busy. Or perhaps those jobs will go to all those soon-to-be verifiable immigrants/chattel on work permits.

It used to be charming, you know, all the "aw-shucks, I don't know jackshit but what my gut tells me" bullshit that spewed from Bush's mouth. Back in 2000, when the media wrecked Gore for know-it-all-ism (as if being smart ought not be a pre-requisite for the job of president), Bush was just a charming bumpkin to the nation. With the media as accomplice, Bush was able to portray himself as the Texas outsider, and, gosh, darn, America just needed some of those good ol' cowboy values like decency and strength. (Of course, cowboys also shot Indians for sport.) Check out the archives of the Daily Howler for the greatest dissection of this incredible enabling of the 2000 Bush campaign.

Now it's just so hollow. Like so many tyrants before him, Bush uses the old saw of "the ends justify the means" to defend his lies. But we're not so sure anymore, now that the goat has been fucked. It's why the National Guard Service is now suspect. Goat fucking forces you to go back and re-assess everything you believed about a person.

And when Bush stands there, tough at the State of the Union, allegedly open in the interview he asked for on Meet the Press, all we're looking for is his tell, that great poker term that means a player has something he/she does to indicate the bluff. What's Bush's tell? That's an easy one. Bush's tell is whenever he speaks.