Tuesday, December 27, 2005

If He Knew Then What He Knows Now, We'd Still Be In This Mess

Ah, the new year. Janus, the god with two faces, one looking back over the past year, and one looking forward to the next. Hence the new year’s resolution. The future shall be better than the past. Lose a little weight, go to church more often, give a little more to charity, win the war in Iraq and put a few more bucks in your rich friends’ pockets.

Expect the president to bring in 2006 the same way he ended the old: Trumpeting good economic news for rich people and talking, irrationally, about Iraq where excitement over a historic ballot has been tempered by the fact that nothing really has changed. “Trust me will be the slogan of the new year,” White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said. “And if you don’t trust us we’ll know because we’re listening.

The war in Iraq and sluggish diplomatic efforts to deter the nuclear ambitions of Iran will continue to dominate foreign policy for the president, who plans a trip early in the new year to India. When asked why the president was going to India if the issues revolved around Iran, McClellan responded that the president “often becomes confused” when different countries begin with the same letter. “For the first six months of the war he thought we had invaded Uzbekistan,” he explained. When it was pointed out the Uzbekistan actually begins with a U, McClellan responded, “It’s that spelling thing again.”

“When the president puts out a legislative and executive agenda, we'll make sure we reflect the fact that it's difficult for Congress to get anything done in an election year," said Dan Bartlett, counselor to the president. “Well, actually it’s hard for them to get anything done any time what with the Republicans always having to be in court and the Democrats hiding under their desks whenever Cheney is in town.”

Bartlett said that doesn't mean the president won't introduce fresh initiatives, which typically are tucked in the State of the Union address, tentatively scheduled this year for January 31. “That whole ‘Go To Mars’ thing didn’t work out too well for us,” he said, “So the president is thinking of something a little closer to home, like asking Americans to sponsor an Iraqi politician. It worked for Sally Struthers.”

Right after he was re-elected, Bush proudly claimed a mandate to pursue an aggressive agenda. "I earned capital in the campaign — political capital — and now I intend to spend it. It is my style," he said. Unfortunately most of that capital was used up by the twin’s graduation party and the court costs afterwards.

Bartlett said Bush's biggest disappointments of the year were the withdrawal of Harriet Miers, his second pick for the Supreme Court, and the impotent federal response to Hurricane Katrina, which highlighted his leadership profile. “In his defense, “Bartlett said, “He appointed Miers when he was high and he really didn’t know there were that many black people in New Orleans, so when he was told most of the white people got out he went back to the golf course.”

"It's been the least successful year of a pretty pathetic presidency," said Georgetown University political scientist Stephen Wayne. “On the bright side, at least there’s no casual sex going on in the White House.”

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