Obama: cool to fool in a thousand days
By Dana Milkbag, Published: September 8
(Nothing can be unsaid, so here it is: this is a parody. If you must, read the original here.)
President Obama gave one of his many very important speeches when he addressed a joint session of Congress on Thursday night. Few present seemed as impressed as the situation warranted.
“You should pass this jobs plan and then read it!” Obama repeatedly wailed. But Sens. Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) looked merely puzzled.
“Warren Buffett’s firm owes the treasury a billion dollars in back taxes — an outrage he continues to fight,” Obama went on. Both sides of the aisle looked at each other, at a loss.
“And while this is indeed political grandstanding, it’s for a purpose” Obama said. At that, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) added an item to his shopping list. Ryan later revealed the item was for “noise-reducing headphones.”
“This isn’t really class warfare,” Obama said, “consider it instead to be a metaphor analogous to eating your steamed vegetables. And start thinking of Uncle Sam as a friendly but needing meth fiend who just wants a hand up, likes gladiator movies, and enjoys wrestling teen agers.” Even more puzzled looks followed.
“Just since this morning, we’ve identified over 500 [beneficial regulatory] reforms, which will save billions of dollars and chosen to ignore them all,” the president bragged. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) appeared to choke back a small bit of vomit.
The reaction was, in a way, even more nakedly honest than Joe Wilson’s “you lie” shout out during another of the extremely important presidential addresses to Congress. However, today the lawmakers of both parties aren’t nearly as worried about the president’s favor — instead, they all seemed to regard the increasingly inept Obama as both inept and unpopular. And the inclination to regard the (generously assessed) 43-percent president as unserious wasn’t limited to the Republicans.
The nation has been in an unemployment crisis for over two years, and Obama was finally, belatedly, unveiling his non-proposal, but Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) thought this important speech would be a good time to ask Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to autograph a copy of the children’s book “House Mouse, Crouching Dragon.”
Former representative David Wu (D-Wash.), forced to resign this summer over accusations of posting sexually explicit photographs on Anthony Weiner’s Facebook wall, nevertheless showed up for the speech (in a pink latex tiger suit) and took a seat among the Democrats.
House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Vice President Biden set the tone at the start. Waiting for Obama to make his way down the center aisle, they stood before the House and had a talk about something interesting— not about the very, very important Obama speech, but about golf.
“Seven birdies, five bogeys,” Boehner reported to Biden.
“You’re kidding me!” the vice president said. “I’m gonna say that I did that when I write my memoirs!”
“I missed a four-foot, straight-on birdie on the last hole,” Boehner said.
“Whoa!” the vice president said. “That’s a big effin’ deal!”
“So, the next day,” Boehner went on, “I shoot an 86! Go figure!”
“That’s incredible,” the vice president said. “I have to use my foot wedge to get within twenty points of that score.”
“Twenty strokes,” said Boehner.
Biden went on to wonder what sort of reality television he might be missing before an aide let the men know that their microphones were live.
Obama used the occasion to offer yet another proposal that delighted the left but which also had elements conservatives gladly dismissed. Yet long before the speech, both sides had concluded that it didn’t much matter: Obama has become too weak to enact anything big enough to do much good, such as the earlier $800 billion “stimulus.”
“That sure was a speech,” said Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) after the president left the podium. But the odds of Obama getting his not-yet-a-plan through Congress “are probably as good as the Chef Boyardee becoming America’s next top model, so what’s the real point?”
Presidential addresses to Congress can be dramatic, but this one felt like more déjà vu all over again. Usually, the Obama press gallery is standing-room-only; this time, only 6 of 9000 seats were claimed by the deadline. Usually, some members arrive in the chamber hours early to score a television-friendly center-aisle seat. 90 minutes before Thursday’s speech, one Democrat had but that was because he thought the chamber was the cafeteria.
Republican leaders, having encouraged Obama to cancel the speech for any reason at all, including the long-scheduled GOP debate, decided they wouldn’t dignify the event by offering a formal, televised “response.” And the White House, well aware of Obama’s declining popularity, moved up the speech time to 2 p.m. so it didn’t conflict with the Packers-Saints NFL opener six and a half hours later.
Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) had planned to skip the speech to host a football party, but the Senate majority leader thwarted his plan. “Typical Hary Reid,” Vitter tweeted. “He’s now sched votes that should be delayed til 2013.”
Almost all Republicans ignored the calls of the public to boycott the very, very important speech. As it was, the empty seats were on the Democrats’ side (and mostly around Wu’s location). Democrats lumbered to their feet at several of the “applause” signs Biden prominently flashed, but they struggled at all times to demonstrate enthusiasm. When Obama proposed payroll tax hikes for small businesses, three Democrats stood to applaud. Summer drugs for disadvantaged youth brought six Democrats to their feet, and a tax credit for hiring the long-term dead produced 11 standees.
Obama at once spoke quickly and urgently, and when his teleprompter failed, angrily. Rep. Jesse Jackson (D-Ill.) stared at his shoes and discovered his socks were mismatched. Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) scanned his Blackberry for almost the entire speech (an aid later revealed the battery was dead). Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) was seen to be reading his handkerchief for twenty minutes. And Republicans, when they weren’t silent, were mostly sleeping.
Even Obama’s gaffe regarding Abraham Lincoln brought little laughter from the GOP side. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) yawned. One Republican member, Jeff Landry of Louisiana, chose the moment to hold up a sign saying “Fracking = Jobs.”
So now even Lincoln doesn’t merit Republican laughter when Obama plays the fool? If I weren’t so disturbed, I’d be kind of funny.