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Writing the Inaugural Address
May 12, 2001
by Art Bushwald

Writing the Inaugural Address

It was a week before his inauguration, and the President-to-be was busy thinking of what he would say in his inaugural address. With him were several of his closest and most trusted aides, congressmen, potential Cabinet appointees, and media and entertainment personalities.

"OK, fellas," said the soon-to-be President, "I want this inaugural speech ta be a real humdinger, a real hoop-de-lah, as we say in West Texas, which is close to Californy. I think it should start like this: 'My fellow Republicans...'"

"Excellent beginning, Mr. President!" chirped Karen Hughes. "I can tell already that this is going to be one heckuva great inaugural speech. Please go on."

"My fellow Republicans," continued the man known as Dubya, "as I look out upon this magnificent sea of fur coats and cowboy hats, I am reminded of a famous quote by one of our greatest and most respected presidents, Calvin Coolidge, who said: 'The business of America is business...' especially, I might add, the oil, gas, and coal business. And money. The business of America is money. Money! Money! Money! Oil, gas, coal, and money! Oh, I love them all! Especially money! Lots of it! Ohhhh, how I've always wanted money! To fondle! To touch!..."

"Enough already!" blurted Karl Rove. "We all dearly love money, but if you keep on like that, we'll never get this freakin' speech finished."

"If you ask me," offered Colin Powell, who was sitting by himself, "given the bitter feelings that still linger from this past election, I think you should say something reminiscent of Lincoln's second inaugural address, you know, that part about 'With malice toward none, with charity for all'."

"So who the freak asked you?" snorted Rummy Rumsfeld.

"Lincoln had a second inaugural address?" asked the befuddled Dubya. "I know the first one was 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but where was the second one?"

"Knucklehead!" shouted Dick Cheney. "Powell over there was talking about the speech that Lincoln gave during his second inauguration."

"Lincoln..." said the still confused President-appoint, "Hey, wasn't he the guy that said something about 'Four scores of 7, years ago...'? Ya know, I've always wondered what he meant by that. Was he talking about baseball scores? Did they have baseball back then?"

"They've had baseball since 1839," noted Ari Fleischer.

"Good gosh, what did people do before that?!" exclaimed the nascent leader of the free world.

"Will ya shut the freak up about baseball and finish this stupid speech?!" yelled the impatient Rove.

"I think you should mention something about your very magnaminous tax cut plan," offered Trent Lott, "and how it will help to feed starving millionaires from coast to coast."

"Good idea," said Dubya, as he penned 'feed... starving... millionaires' in his notebook.

"Perhaps you ought to say something about supporting the citizens' right to vote, you know, to help in the healing process" suggested Katherine Harris, winking.

"Great idea!" exclaimed Dubya. "How about this: 'Now, I've heard some folks on the left wing fringe whining about how some people's right ta vote was unhinged in this last election. But let me say this: There is something more precious than the right ta vote. Look at the good people of Warshinton, D.C. They haven't had no Senators, nor votin' Congressman, fer 200 years, but are they complainin' about that? Heck, no! But as I ride along the streets of our nation's capital, people from all walks of life come up ta me and says, 'Dubya, when is we gettin' our own major league baseball team? How come we have ta go 40 miles over ta Baltimore ta watch a game? Oh, Dubya, life would be so much better if we only had baseball here in D.C.!' And so, as we stand on the verge of a new spring training season, I know that baseball is heavy on the minds of folks throughout this great country of ours. So as your president, I will promise to do everything in my power to bring professional baseball to Americans everywhere, from the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge to Teapot Dome."

"Speaking of Teapot Dome," suggested Cheney, "you should mention something about energy."

"OK," said the failed oil company executive-turned-president, "How about this: 'America is facing an energy crisis, the likes of which we haven't seen since poppy's friends made a killing off of rising oil prices in the 1970s. So I will promise you now, that we will have a sensible energy policy, of drill, dig, and guzzle. Drill, and dig, and dig and drill. Everywhere on this continent. Because gas is hemispheric. That means it's in our neighborhoods. And it should all be American gas.'"

"Absolutely wonderful" beamed Chevron board member Condi Rice. "Now why don't you insert a few words about national defense?"

"OK," said Dubya, how's this: 'In the area of national defense, we will be humble, but we will always be looking to pick a fight. We will keep changing our defense policy from day to day. We will whimsically dump long-standing treaties, and build an umbrella in the sky that will make the fine folks at Lockheed-Martin and their investors rich beyond their wildest dreams. And if the rest of the world don't like it, tough toogies.'"

"You're on a roll, Mr. President!" exclaimed Ben Stein. "So like a good comedian, ya better wrap it up here and leave your audience wanting more."

"OK," said Dubya, "whaddya think of this comclusion: 'And so, my fellow Americans, I wanna be a uniter, and I'm gonna unite you whether you like it or not. Like I said after the campaign, it would be great if this country was a dictatorship, but only if I was the dictator. Well, now I'm gonna git my chance. Thank you, and may the Lord bless all of ya who voted fer me'."

"Refreshingly different!" applauded George Will. "Stoic and reticent! Poignant and stately! Mr. President, I believe you truly will bring honor and dignity back to the White House!"

"I agree, Mr. President, that was absolutely the greatest inauguration speech draft I've ever heard!" twittered Larry King as he rushed over to bear-hug the in-coming Commander-in-Chief. Just then, Mama Dubya entered the room.

"Enough of this foolishness, Dubya," she squawked. "We're hiring a professional speechwriter. After all, we wouldn't want America to get the right impression of you."

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