Democratic Underground

December 11, 2001
by Eric Munoz

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The destruction of the Twin Towers, the damage to the Pentagon and the downing of Flight 93 crumbled America's sense of security. The ailing economy has cost hundreds of thousands of Americans their jobs. But we can rest assured knowing that George Bush is our president, our leader, our Comedian-in-Chief. It seems that no tragedy that befalls us and no economic hardship that hits us is too great to overcome Mr. Bush's penchant for (not-so-funny) one-liners.

Here are a few examples of President Bush's stunning displays of comedy:

- While announcing his Online Relief and Response Effort in the Rose Garden on September 18th, President Bush introduced Libby Pataki as Governor George Pataki's "better half."

- According to Mitch Daniels, soon after the September 11th attacks George Bush, commenting on his campaign pledge to not tap the surplus unless faced with war, recession or national emergency, said "Lucky me. I hit the trifecta."

- In his press conference with President Putin at the Crawford High School a red-haired student named Danny White stood to ask a question. The President, ever so quick on his feet, said "Are you sure you don't mean Danny Red." Much to his own amusement, I'm sure.

- At a town hall meeting in his brother's state of Florida, a young girl asked about family strength in these uncertain times and if eating together, as a family, could help and if that was something George Bush did as a youngster. President Bush quickly retorted, "I did eat with my family, so long as my mother wasn't cooking. Wait a minute. Just kidding, Mom. She was one of the great fast food cooks of all time. Just kidding, Mom."

How fortunate we are to have such a quick and witty President, ready with one-liners in almost any circumstance!

Seriously, these remarks are not only poor in their content but also poor in their timing. As John Leo, conservative writer for U.S. News and World Report, once remarked, "Our national father figure needs gravitas." I couldn't agree more, especially now. Of course he was talking about Bill Clinton. I wonder what he would have said if Clinton had told bad jokes after the Oklahoma City Bombing. About his mother.

Now there are some who may say that Bush's remarks lighten the spirit and are a welcome break in the tension that has become our lives. Others may say that it just underscores Bush's folksy demeanor. I might agree if the remarks were funny. Or if they weren't at the expense of someone else - it seems President Bush is always joking about someone, either Gov. Pataki, the high school student Danny White or even his own mother.

But more than telling bad jokes, this Frat Boy attitude is costing this country a tremendous opportunity. Ever since the September 11th attacks, this country has come together in such fantastic fashion that anything would be possible. If President Bush had a real vision for this country there's no doubt it would be realized.

Just as JFK's vision of putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade led to what may be man's greatest achievement, George Bush could lay out a vision for a greater tomorrow. With the country so united, with people looking and asking for ways to help in any way possible, there hasn't been a better chance since WWII to channel America's resolve into greatness. This generation could be called on to accomplish lasting improvements in our way of life. Like ending our dependence on oil, foreign or domestic. Or eliminating poverty and homelessness. Or finding a cure for diabetes or cancer.

President Bush could call on corporations to look beyond the bottom line and stop laying off workers. He could truly strengthen our education system or provide adequate health care for all Americans. He could help the state and local governments finance human service and security needs. He could lead all Americans to tolerance and acceptance of others. He could just do something.

But instead we get dumb one-liners and tax cuts for the already well-off and big corporations. We get real deficits over the next several years. We get platitudes about getting the evil one. We get proposals for more drilling for more oil. We get pleas for more traveling and more consumer spending so corporations can improve their profit margins. We get vague alerts about credible but non-specific threats. We get John Ashcroft chipping away at the Bill of Rights.

Here's one for you: What do you get when you cross George Bush and the greatest opportunity for America in decades? Nothing. And nobody's laughing.