Friday, June 01, 2007

the Onion: January 2001

Amazing. The Onion:
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."

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.

2 points: For one, this was written on January 17, 2001, before Bush had even taken office. What do you think are the chances David Broder or Tim Russert could have predicted the future with this degree of accuracy? Is it really any surprise that so many people have turned to comedians to do the job of pundits, and even Washington reporters?

Two, remember this article next time someone argues that Americans, or conservatives, or Republicans, or whoever had no way of knowing that Bush would be so disastrous of a president (an argument I admit I have myself used). The evidence was all there for anyone who took the time to look. Much of this he'd pretty much said himself on the campaign trail or in the debates, and the rest of it was easily inferred from his statements as governor, from newspaper and magazine articles and bios of him, and the agendas of his ideological brothers and sisters. We knew he was intellectually incurious and deeply ignorant of foreign affairs, he was callous and petty, he was an ideologue (remember, McCain was the moderate candidate at that time), and he was a terrible administrator. How reporters who knew about his history in the private sector were able to report on him advertising himself as "the CEO president" without laughing hysterically, I'll never know.

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