Year in Review
The Dave Barry Year-in-Review look at the election and recession was too funny to pass up. Here’s a condensed version for your enjoyment:
The Iowa caucuses produce two surprises:
On the Republican side, the winner is Mike Huckabee, folksy former governor of Arkansas or possibly Oklahoma, who vows to remain in the race until he gets a commentator gig with Fox… Not competing in Iowa are Rudy Giuliani, whose strategy is to stay out of the race until he is mathematically eliminated, and John McCain, who entered the caucus date incorrectly into his 1996 Palm Pilot.
On the Democratic side, the surprise winner is Barack Obama, who is running for president on a long and impressive record of running for president. A mesmerizing speaker, Obama electrifies voters with his exciting new ideas for change, although people have trouble remembering exactly what these ideas were because they were so darned mesmerized. Some people become so excited that they actually pass out. These are members of the press corps.
Amid much fanfare, Congress passes, and President George W. Bush signs, an “economic stimulus package” under which the federal government will give taxpayers back several hundred dollars apiece of their own money, the idea being that they will use this money to revive the U.S. economy by buying TV sets that were made in China. This will seem much more comical in the fall.
The battle between Obama and Hillary Clinton heats up as the two engage in a series of increasingly hostile debates, including one in which Secret Service agents have to tackle a large, angry, red-faced man who bursts from the audience shouting incoherently. This turns out to be Bill Clinton.
In politics, Obama addresses the issue of why, in his 20 years of membership in Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, he failed to notice that the pastor, Jeremiah Wright, is a racist lunatic. In a major televised address widely hailed for its brilliance, Obama explains that … OK, nobody really remembers what the actual explanation was. But everybody agrees it was mesmerizing.
Obama’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, gets into a controversy of her own when she claims that, as first lady, she landed in Bosnia “under sniper fire.” News outlets quickly locate archive video showing that she was in fact greeted with a welcoming ceremony featuring an 8-year-old girl reading a poem. Clinton’s campaign releases a statement pointing out that it was “a pretty long poem.”
Obama gets into trouble with rural voters for saying that rural Americans are “bitter” and “cling to guns or religion.” Responding to charges that this statement is elitist, Obama responds: “You are getting sleepy. Very sleepy.”
In economic news, the price of gasoline tops $4 a gallon, meaning the cost of filling up an average car is now $50, or, for Hummer owners, $17,500. Congress, responding to the financial pain of the American people, goes into partisan gridlock faster than ever before.
The International Atomic Energy Agency releases a report stating that Iran is actively developing nuclear warheads. In response, Iran issues a statement asserting that (1) it absolutely is not developing nuclear warheads, and (2) these are peaceful warheads. The United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia and China convene an emergency meeting, during which they manage, in heated negotiations, to talk France out of surrendering.
Obama, having secured North and South America, flies to Germany without using an airplane and gives a major speech — speaking English and German simultaneously— to 200,000 mesmerized Germans, who immediately elect him chancellor, prompting France to surrender.
Meanwhile McCain, at a strategy session at a golf resort, tells his top aides to prepare a list of potential running mates, stressing that he wants somebody “who is completely, brutally honest.” Unfortunately, because of noise from a lawn mower, the aides think McCain said he wants somebody “who has competed in a beauty contest.” This will lead to trouble down the road.
The Democratic Party gathers in Denver to formally nominate Obama, who mesmerizes the adoring crowd with an acceptance speech objectively described by The New York Times as “comparable to the Gettysburg Address, only way better.”
McCain, still searching for the perfect running mate, tells his top aides in a conference call that he wants “someone who is capable of filling my shoes.” Unfortunately, he is speaking into the wrong end of his cell phone, and his aides think he said “someone who is capable of killing a moose.” Shortly thereafter McCain stuns the world, and possibly himself, by selecting Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, after having lost hundreds of billions of dollars thanks to years of engaging in practices ranging from questionable to moronic, begin failing, which gives the federal government an idea: Why not give these institutions MORE hundreds of billions of dollars, generously provided by taxpayers?
The economy dominates the presidential campaign, with the focal point being “Joe the Plumber,” an Ohio resident who asks Obama a mildly confrontational question about tax policy and within hours is more famous than the Dalai Lama. He draws intense scrutiny from the news media, which determine that “Joe the Plumber” is in fact (1) not named Joe and (2) not a licensed plumber.
Obama, in a historic triumph, becomes the nation’s first black president, setting off an ecstatically joyful and boisterous all-night celebration that at times threatens to spill out of The New York Times newsroom. Obama, following through on his promise to bring change to Washington, quickly begins assembling an administration consisting of a diverse group of renegade outsiders, ranging all the way from lawyers who attended Ivy League schools and then worked in the Clinton administration to lawyers who attended entirely different Ivy league schools and then worked in the Clinton administration.
But the hopeful mood is dampened by grim economic news. More and more companies seek federal help, among them the troubled “big three” auto makers, whose chief executives fly to Washington in three separate corporate jets to ask Congress for $25 billion, explaining that if they don’t get the money, they will be unable to continue making cars that Americans are not buying.
President-elect Obama, continuing to bring in Washington outsiders, announces that his secretary of state will be Hillary Clinton. The position of secretary of defense, currently held by Bush appointee Robert Gates, will be filled by Bush appointee Robert Gates.
The CEOs of the Increasingly Small Three auto makers return to Washington to resume pleading for a bailout, this time telling Congress that if they can reach an agreement that day, they will throw in the undercoating, the satellite-radio package AND a set of floor mats. “We’re actually LOSING MONEY on this deal!” they assure Congress.
I wish I was that funny…