Dave Barry's Year in Review
This is the week for 2008 retrospectives. Most MSM outlets will produce at least one and quite possibly several "Year in Review" specials on any number of topics. The most popular subject will be the campaign (primary and general) and miraculous election of Barack Obama to the nation's highest office.
There are as yet unsubstantiated rumors that NBC's Chris Matthews has produced a Hardball segment filmed overlooking the reflecting pool on the National Mall. Evidently Matthews predicted that Obama would walk atop the reflecting pool's waters as he ascends to give his inaugural address and would part the waters so his cabinet designees could follow him on dry ground.
But I digress. Where was I? Oh, yes. 2008 retrospectives.
• O.J. actually got convicted of something.
• Gasoline hit $4 a gallon -- and those were the good times.
• On several occasions, "Saturday Night Live" was funny.
On the Democratic side, the surprise winner is Barack Obama, who is running for president on a long and impressive record of running for president. A mesmerizing speaker, Obama electrifies voters with his exciting new ideas for change, although people have trouble remembering exactly what these ideas are because they are so darned mesmerized. Some people become so excited that they actually pass out. These are members of the press corps.
The battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton heats up as the two engage in a series of increasingly hostile debates, including one in which Secret Service agents have to tackle a large, angry, red-faced man who bursts from the audience shouting incoherently. This turns out to be Bill Clinton, who is swiftly dispatched by his wife's campaign to work his magic on voters in the crucial Guam caucuses.
In politics, Barack Obama addresses the issue of why, in his 20 years of membership in Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, he failed to notice that the pastor, Jeremiah Wright, is a racist lunatic. In a major televised address widely hailed for its brilliance, Obama explains that . . . Okay, nobody really remembers what the actual explanation was. But everybody agrees it was mesmerizing.
Tensions run high in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary, which all the experts agree is extremely crucial. Barack Obama gets into trouble with rural voters for saying that rural Americans are "bitter" and "cling to guns or religion." Responding to charges that this statement is elitist, Obama responds: "You are getting sleepy. Very sleepy."
In other campaign-related news, Chicago developer Tony Rezko, a former Obama associate and fundraiser, is convicted on corruption charges, but media representatives realize that this is not an issue after Obama explains that it is not an issue.On the Republican side, John McCain wraps up the nomination and embarks on a series of strategic naps.
Barack Obama, having secured North and South America, flies to Germany without using an airplane and gives a major speech -- speaking English and German simultaneously -- to 200,000 mesmerized Germans, who immediately elect him chancellor, prompting France to surrender.
Barack Obama, continuing to shake up the establishment, selects as his running mate Joe Biden, a tireless fighter for change since he was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1849. The Democratic Party gathers in Denver to formally nominate Obama, who descends from his Fortress of Solitude to mesmerize the adoring crowd with an acceptance speech objectively described by the New York Times as "comparable to the Gettysburg Address, only way better."
The Republican convention gets off to a tentative start in St. Paul, Minn., when President Bush and Vice President Cheney are unable to attend, partly because of Hurricane Gustav, and partly because the organizers told them that the convention was in Atlanta. The mood improves when Sarah Palin dazzles the delegates with her winning smile, detailed knowledge of what is on the teleprompter and spot-on imitation of Tina Fey. The next night, John McCain, formally accepting the nomination, pledges to run "a totally incoherent campaign." None of this is reported in the media because the entire press corps is in Wasilla, Alaska, investigating rumors that Palin once dated a yeti.
President-elect Obama, continuing to bring change in the form of fresh-faced Washington outsiders, announces that his secretary of state will be Hillary Clinton. The position of secretary of defense, currently held by Bush appointee Robert Gates, will be filled by Bush appointee Robert Gates. Responding to rumors that he also plans to retain Dick Cheney, Obama insists that he has tried to ask the vice president to leave, "but nobody knows where he is."In other political news, federal authorities arrest Democratic Illinois Gov. Rod "Rod" Blagojevich after wiretaps reveal that he was . . . okay, that he was being the governor of Illinois. Everybody is very, very shocked. Meanwhile, the recount in the extremely tight Minnesota Senate race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken is thrown into disarray with the discovery that more than 13,000 of the ballots were cast by residents of Palm Beach County, Fla.
On the economic side:
In what some economists see as a troubling sign, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac invest $12.7 billion in Powerball tickets.
the price of gasoline tops $4 a gallon, meaning the cost of filling up an average car is now $50, or, for Hummer owners, $17,500. Congress, responding to the financial pain of the American people, goes into partisan gridlock faster than ever before, with Republicans demanding that the oil companies immediately start drilling everywhere, including cemeteries, and Democrats calling for a massive effort to develop alternative energy sources such as wind, the sun, tides, comets, Al Gore and dragon breath, using technology expected to be perfected sometime this millennium. It soon becomes clear that Congress will not actually do anything, so Americans start buying less gasoline.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac invest $17 billion in an Herbalife franchise.
In sports, the undefeated New England Patriots lose the Super Bowl to the New York Giants in a stunning upset that confounds the experts, not to mention Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which had $38 billion on the Pats to win.
New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer becomes embroiled in an embarrassing scandal when a criminal investigation reveals that he looks like a large suit-wearing rodent. Also he has been seeing a high-class prostitute known as "Kristen" in a Washington hotel. Spitzer resigns in disgrace; "Kristen," hounded by the media and no longer able to pursue her profession, receives a $23 billion bailout from the federal government.
And finally, just so you don't think I'm a complete captitalistic, anti environmentalist...
In environmental news, Earth Hour is observed on March 29, when cities around the world display their commitment to conserving energy by turning out their lights for one hour. When the lights come back on, Detroit is missing.
Premature Presidential Worship
I got a phone call yesterday from a rather irate Bonjo. No, he wasn't lamenting my sparse posting as of late. He had just received an email from the school district which to both our families send our young skulls full of mush to get what passes for a public education.
The email informed the reader that, after deliberation at the previous night's meeting, the school board had decided to cancel school on January 20, 2009 – Barack Obama's inauguration day. As I live in a Northern Virginia suburb which houses a rather large contingent of federal employees, this action doesn't really surprise me. Most feds have the day off anyway due to the fact that just breathing in DC on Inauguration Day will be a colossal undertaking.
What really irritates me is the school board's second action. In order to "make up" for the day given to commemorate Obama's ascension to this nation's highest office, school will be in session on President's Day.
President's Day is a day meant to honor all those who have served as this nation's Chief Executive, but specifically George Washington – who was instrumental in founding this nation – and Abraham Lincoln – the man who saved the union. Both of these great men are appropriately honored with monuments on the National Mall and various other locations around the country. Without the actions of both of these Presidents, the United States would not exist as it does today.
Until recently, America honored its heroes for great things which they had done in building up, defending, or otherwise aiding the nation. To my knowledge, never has anyone – President-elect status notwithstanding – been so lavishly honored by so many before said individual actually took office.
Here's a smattering of honoraria rendered unto Obama since winning the Race for the Oval one month ago:
Sanjae Obama Fisher was born on November 4, 2008 at 2:35 PM local time. I'm pretty sure the polls weren't even closed by then.
Ludlum Elementary School in Long Island's Hempstead Union Free School District will henceforth be known as Barack Obama Elementary School. Robert Ludlum was unavailable for comment.
Surveying crews have been spotted on the National Mall in Washington scoping out appropriate locations for the Obama Memorial. Geologists have been dispatched to South Dakota to assess whether or not Obama's likeness can be added to Mt. Rushmore. Ok, I might have made one or both of those last two up. You never know.
Barack Obama's ascension to the Presidency is, indeed, historic. In the final analysis however, all he has done thus far is win an election. He comes into Washington with quite possibly the thinnest resume of any man ever to sit in the Big Chair. Until January 20, he will not have actually had any responsibility to implement the high soaring rhetoric for which he is so famous.
Now I realize that Obama is most likely not behind all this premature hero worship being lavished upon him. I'm sure he gets all the worship he can stand during his never ending press briefings. That said, this pre-presidential honoraria makes about as much sense as having an NFL quarterback inducted into the Hall of Fame at Canton before he even takes a snap.