Meets His Presidential Soul Mate
by Art Bushwald
There is a story circulating on the Internet and elsewhere
about how Dubya was visited by the ghosts of three famous
presidents-- Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln. According
to the story, although Washington and Jefferson both offer
Dubya very sound advice, it is so impossibly contrary to Dubya's
nature that he just cannot bring himself to take it. Then
Lincoln arrives. When asked about the best thing Dubya can
do for the country, Honest Abe replies: "Go see a play."
Although this story is usually told as a joke, my sources
tell me that Dubya has, in fact, been visited by these famous
specters. But unlike the money-grubbing Scrooge in A Christmas
Carol, three spectral visits have not been enough for the
money-grubbing Dubya, and I've heard that there is quite a
list of deceased chief executives waiting to have an audience
with him. Among the distinguished guests so far have been
For example, one night Nobel Peace Prize laureate Woodrow
Wilson came to call. "While I was president," said Wilson,
"I worked tirelessly for world peace. You, on the other hand,
seem to be recklessly determined to antagonize nations around
the world for your own selfish interests. What you are doing
is a disgrace to your office!"
The next night, it was Franklin Roosevelt's turn. "Unlike
you, I firmly believed in the Preamble's call to promote the
*general *welfare," said FDR "and I worked hard to try to
ensure that no American was left out. It was my conviction
that the test of our progress is not whether we add more to
the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide
enough for those who have too little."
"Huh?" was all the bewildered Dubya could muster.
Then came John Kennedy. "I deeply resent your shameless use
of my voice to promote your Tax Cuts for Tycoons program,"
rebuked the former president from Massachusetts. "As my brother
Teddy has publicly stated, my tax cuts were mainly intended
to help the people at the low end of the economic ladder,
and should not be construed to resemble in any way, shape
or form your brazen attempt to pander to the greedy special
interests that helped install you in this office."
Unfortunately, while Scrooge had been quickly converted by
his otherworldly visitors, Dubya's visitors were having little
positive effect on him; instead, he had become thoroughly
dismayed by all the honorably dignified advice and severe
reprimands that he had received from them. What's more, none
of them seemed to have been even remotely impressed by the
"cute" nicknames that he had given them: Washie Woodtooth,
Big Tom Wighead, Abe the Beard, Woodrow Woodpecker, Wheelchair
Frank, and Beantown Jack.
"If I must be visited by an apparition*" lamented Dubya,
"cain't I at least be visited by a friendly Republican president
who shares my interests?"
As if on cue, Warren G. Harding suddenly appeared.
Dubya, who could not recall the name Harding, was at first
very awkward in his demeanor toward his latest caller. But
the former president from Ohio managed to break the ice and
win Dubya's confidence.
"They say we have a lot of things in common*," offered the
"Like what?" asked the incredulous Dubya, who was still trying
to remember if he had ever heard of Harding.
"Well, for starters, your initials G.W. are just the opposite
of mine, W.G."
Naturally, such an observation perked the interest of the
54-year-old adolescent from Midland, and he asked Mr. Harding
to go on.
"You were governor of Texas, and I once ran for governor
of Ohio but became a Senator. In our previous offices we both
had undistinguished careers. As president, we have both scuttled
peace initiatives that were made by our Democratic predecessors.
And, we both have professed to be uniters, but mainly of our
"Wow!" exclaimed the amazed Dubya. "Tell me more!"
"Well," offered the spectral president, "we are both known
for our mangling of the English language. For example, did
you know that the poet e.e.cummings once said that I was 'the
only man, woman or child who wrote a simple declarative sentence
with seven grammatical errors'?"
"e.e.cummings never knew me!" boasted Dubya. "I can beat
that record any day!"
"I'm sure you can," conceded the 29th president. "Anyway,
here's another similarity. Corporations have wielded tremendous
influence in our two administrations, especially the oil industry.
What's more, my interior secretary, Albert Fall, was involved
in a big oil scandal in Wyoming..."
"Wyoming!" Dubya lit up like a night game at Ranger Stadium.
"My vice-president is an oil man, and he's from Wyoming! Actually,
he's a Texas resident just like me, but he rushed up to Wyoming
to change his residency so he could get around some nit-pickin'
Constitutional requirement that said that the President and
Vice-President couldn't be residents of the same state!"
"Well, I don't know if anyone in my Ohio Gang ever thought
of such a clever way of skirting the law, but there were many
who were quite creative in their legal interpretations. Some
of them even ended up in jail."
"Just give my Texas Oil Gang enough time, and some of them
will end up there, too!" exclaimed the excited Dubya.
"Well, I guess that just goes to show," said the Ohioan,
"that we do have a lot in common."
"Presidential soul mates!" chirped the Texan in enthusiastic
agreement. "Mr. Harding, I'd be humbled and honored if you
would drop by and visit with me as often as you can."
"Oh, I'll probably be calling on you a lot," replied the
white-haired gent. "But in the meantime, you'll be visited
by other Republican soul mates. Benjamin Harrison's going
to be dropping by soon, and then Taft and Nixon. After that
will be Herbert Hoover, who will be giving you some compassionately
conservative advice on how to handle a depression."
Dubya's and Harding's quotes have been edited for clarification.