As most of you probably know (WoW, believe it or not, has a number of international readers), the U.S. is having a Presidential election this year. George W. Bush and Richard Cheney will no longer control the reins of executive power; under our Constitution they must step down voluntarily. I shall never forget in January 2001 with their administration about to assume power, The Onion ran a satirical piece entitled: "Bush: 'Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over.'" I laughed uneasily at the time. Who knew how prescient those comics would be? Here, in its entirety, is the text of the piece:
WASHINGTON, DC–Mere days from assuming the presidency and closing the door on eight years of Bill Clinton, president-elect George W. Bush assured the nation in a televised address Tuesday that "our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity is finally over."They missed the whole torture mess and underestimated the opposition to Bush's plan to privatize Social Security (Thank goodness! Can you imagine where we'd be if all our SS funds had been gambled in the market?), but that pretty much nailed it.
President-elect Bush vows that "together, we can put the triumphs of the recent past behind us."
"My fellow Americans," Bush said, "at long last, we have reached the end of the dark period in American history that will come to be known as the Clinton Era, eight long years characterized by unprecedented economic expansion, a sharp decrease in crime, and sustained peace overseas. The time has come to put all of that behind us."
Bush swore to do "everything in [his] power" to undo the damage wrought by Clinton's two terms in office, including selling off the national parks to developers, going into massive debt to develop expensive and impractical weapons technologies, and passing sweeping budget cuts that drive the mentally ill out of hospitals and onto the street.
During the 40-minute speech, Bush also promised to bring an end to the severe war drought that plagued the nation under Clinton, assuring citizens that the U.S. will engage in at least one Gulf War-level armed conflict in the next four years.
"You better believe we're going to mix it up with somebody at some point during my administration," said Bush, who plans a 250 percent boost in military spending. "Unlike my predecessor, I am fully committed to putting soldiers in battle situations. Otherwise, what is the point of even having a military?"
On the economic side, Bush vowed to bring back economic stagnation by implementing substantial tax cuts, which would lead to a recession, which would necessitate a tax hike, which would lead to a drop in consumer spending, which would lead to layoffs, which would deepen the recession even further.
Wall Street responded strongly to the Bush speech, with the Dow Jones industrial fluctuating wildly before closing at an 18-month low. The NASDAQ composite index, rattled by a gloomy outlook for tech stocks in 2001, also fell sharply, losing 4.4 percent of its total value between 3 p.m. and the closing bell.
Asked for comment about the cooling technology sector, Bush said: "That's hardly my area of expertise."
Turning to the subject of the environment, Bush said he will do whatever it takes to undo the tremendous damage not done by the Clinton Administration to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He assured citizens that he will follow through on his campaign promise to open the 1.5 million acre refuge's coastal plain to oil drilling. As a sign of his commitment to bringing about a change in the environment, he pointed to his choice of Gale Norton for Secretary of the Interior. Norton, Bush noted, has "extensive experience" fighting environmental causes, working as a lobbyist for lead-paint manufacturers and as an attorney for loggers and miners, in addition to suing the EPA to overturn clean-air standards.
Bush had equally high praise for Attorney General nominee John Ashcroft, whom he praised as "a tireless champion in the battle to protect a woman's right to give birth."
"Soon, with John Ashcroft's help, we will move out of the Dark Ages and into a more enlightened time when a woman will be free to think long and hard before trying to fight her way past throngs of protesters blocking her entrance to an abortion clinic," Bush said. "We as a nation can look forward to lots and lots of babies."
Continued Bush: "John Ashcroft will be invaluable in healing the terrible wedge President Clinton drove between church and state."
The speech was met with overwhelming approval from Republican leaders.
"Finally, the horrific misrule of the Democrats has been brought to a close," House Majority Leader Dennis Hastert (R-IL) told reporters. "Under Bush, we can all look forward to military aggression, deregulation of dangerous, greedy industries, and the defunding of vital domestic social-service programs upon which millions depend. Mercifully, we can now say goodbye to the awful nightmare that was Clinton's America."
"For years, I tirelessly preached the message that Clinton must be stopped," conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh said. "And yet, in 1996, the American public failed to heed my urgent warnings, re-electing Clinton despite the fact that the nation was prosperous and at peace under his regime. But now, thank God, that's all done with. Once again, we will enjoy mounting debt, jingoism, nuclear paranoia, mass deficit, and a massive military build-up."
An overwhelming 49.9 percent of Americans responded enthusiastically to the Bush speech.
"After eight years of relatively sane fiscal policy under the Democrats, we have reached a point where, just a few weeks ago, President Clinton said that the national debt could be paid off by as early as 2012," Rahway, NJ, machinist and father of three Bud Crandall said. "That's not the kind of world I want my children to grow up in."
"You have no idea what it's like to be black and enfranchised," said Marlon Hastings, one of thousands of Miami-Dade County residents whose votes were not counted in the 2000 presidential election. "George W. Bush understands the pain of enfranchisement, and ever since Election Day, he has fought tirelessly to make sure it never happens to my people again."
Bush concluded his speech on a note of healing and redemption.
"We as a people must stand united, banding together to tear this nation in two," Bush said. "Much work lies ahead of us: The gap between the rich and the poor may be wide, be there's much more widening left to do. We must squander our nation's hard-won budget surplus on tax breaks for the wealthiest 15 percent. And, on the foreign front, we must find an enemy and defeat it."
"The insanity is over," Bush said. "After a long, dark night of peace and stability, the sun is finally rising again over America. We look forward to a bright new dawn not seen since the glory days of my dad."
What kind of world are we living in when it is the jesters of our society (Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, Steven Colbert, The Onion, etc.) who are calling bullshit and the 'serious' professional journalists who are essentially taking dictation from the powers-that-be? What happens to the virtues of truth and questioning when the journalists who are not openly biased (as are Fox News, NY Post, Wall Street Journal editorial page, The Weekly Standard, etc.) only report the controversy, not the facts much less the context (e.g., when a Democrat declares that the world is round and an opposition Republican claims, to the contrary, that it is flat, the press reports that there is controversy over the shape of the world)? We, the people, suffer. They are in bed with the powerful: would-be courtiers. They are afraid of losing access. They are loyal only to their careers and they know how to preserve them. They are too timid to challenge such inveterate liars as Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld or such idiots as George W. Bush or Sarah Palin. Or, maybe they just don't know the truth. Either way, I despair sometimes for the state of our country and, because of America's power and influence, the world.
Because of this, I am taking a few days off from blogging to focus on this election. I will putting my legal skills to use here in the state of Georgia working with a non-partisan Election Protection effort. I will be manning a hotline to answer legal questions from potential voters who have been disenfranchised or whose right to vote has otherwise been challenged.