I love New Year’s Day, and it always fills me with energy — for house cleaning and for making lists of things to do, and things that ought to be done. Not that it lasts, of course, as my family will attest. But never you mind that!
For some reason I think 2005 will be a very interesting year.
Truth seems to be on the table, along with the black-eyed peas.
A curious thing, the truth. Not often desired or well digested by the American public, but for 2005, I predict it will make a comeback.
Turns out our President choked, passed out, fell and hit his head, not due to a pretzel as the White House put forth, and not, as some might have imagined of a previous White House boarder, due to impact with a flying lamp, but due to a real health concern.
At least, so it seems. The arrhythmia story sheds light on the whole buzz about whether George W. Bush was mechanically wired at one of the presidential debates, being coached by some mysterious horse whisperer behind the curtains.
The logic of the pretzel story never passed muster. No one knows anyone, sober anyway, who ever choked on a pretzel to the extent of passing out and hurting oneself. Even pretzel rods and sourdough pretzels aren’t generally up to that task.
And the idea of trying to advise George W. Bush under pressure and hot lights seems futile to the point of hilarity. Recent history in the Bush Administration shows how it can even be, as Brent Skowcroft, George Tenet, Richard Clarke, Paul O’Neil, Tony Zinni and Eric Shinseki can attest, acutely career-stopping.
So George W. Bush is not completely normal — but who is? The truth wasn’t that bad, so let’s start from there and go down the list. First question, "Where is Dick Cheney?" I mean, "He Who Must Not Be Named…?" I’m just kidding — that’s so last year, don’t you think?
We literally can’t miss the man third in the line of succession, Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert of the 14th District of Illinois. It seems that the key qualification for being a fat cat in Washington these days, is well, being a fat cat in Washington. With the epidemic of largeness I keep reading about, this may be the 21st century’s version of Horatio Algerism. Have another piece of cake, my son, someday you too can be vice president or Speaker of the House!
Incidentally, the screaming headline reads, "Obesity epidemic threatens to bankrupt U.S. economy and threaten financial stability of the world." But after I mentioned Cheney and Hastedt, you already knew that!
Hastert as third in line saves us from a likely substitute, majority leader Tom Delay. For reasons entirely logical to this Congress, or indeed any Congress, it voted to protect Delay’s political position while he fends off those evil attorneys down in Texas who are so unfairly trying to damage Delay’s reputation as he just tries to do the work of the people!
Fourth in line is the President of the Senate pro tempore, Ted Stevens of Alaska. The population of Alaska is about 650,000, just about the size of an ideal congressional district. They’re nice people up in Alaska. Illinois, too. I’m sure they chose just as wisely as we would have done ourselves. Dirty Harry inspires us in 2005, with a retro comeback of the phrase "Do you feel lucky?"
In any case, we’d want to go no further than fifth in line, Condi Rice. All I can say is this: Where was the National Football League when we really needed it!
After Condi, the succession falls to Treasury Secretary John Snow, and then Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld.
These fraternal twins of incompetence are known for saying things like “The cost of the [Iraq] war will be small. We can afford the war, and we’ll put it behind us.” and "Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war." Well, boutique wars certainly ought to be affordable (petty justification should correspond with petty cash and petty lives and oh what fun!). And we should never be depressed about war just because thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of other people we don’t know get to die in it. I mean, people murder, main and torture each other over card games and imagined insults. Why not global demmerkacy?
Skip the succession already, and make these men President!
Of course, predicting trends and fashions can be a risky business.
But I’ll go out on a limb for this year’s craze. The hard truth — about American-style fascism coming home to roost, the imperial wars we love to hate and the politicians that lead us into battle (well, they really don’t, do they?) — is the new black.
It’s wild, it’s shocking, and can get you into trouble depending on the party. But the truth wears well, goes with anything, and some say it can take years off your life.
What I mean to say is…you’ll look ten years younger! 2005, I love you already!
Karen Kwiatkowski [send her mail] is a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, who spent her final four and a half years in uniform working at the Pentagon. She now lives with her freedom-loving family in the Shenandoah Valley, and writes a bi-weekly column on defense issues with a libertarian perspective for militaryweek.com.