You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet!
For a moment, put yourself into the well-polished shoes of the president. You’ve worked all your life to get to your position at the very apex of global power. Feels pretty good, eh? Except for a burning sensation on the back of your neck you suspect is connected with Brown’s win in Massachusetts. Damn!
After quickly reacquainting yourself with presidential powers related to ordering assassinations and being disappointed, you return to your calculations. What can you do to bring your former supporters, those fickle bastards, back under your rainbow-colored tent? After all, even after your $1.8 trillion in deficit spending last year, the job picture still sucks, and so does the housing market. The public has caught on to your cozy insider dealings with the big banks. The threat of global warming you were so vocal about has been exposed as a farce. And now your universal healthcare legislation is unraveling – and with it, your last best chance for a place in history as something other than a cultural footnote.
Oh, the humanity! Why can’t these fools realize that you know what’s best for them? That with just a bit more patience, you’ll lead them to a promised land of high-speed trains, affordable healthcare for all, and green jobs aplenty? But, noooo. Where you see high-speed trains, Mr. John Q. Stupid sees government make-work and waste. Where you see universal healthcare, the two-thirds of people who already have health insurance see nothing but higher costs, more taxes, and rationing. Green jobs? A joke. Why, things are getting so bad that the political cartoonists have gone from this…
Well, if they think that they can lay you low that easily, they’ll have to think again. It’s time for Super O to show them how to take a punch and come back swinging. Rolling up the sleeves, an effective way of being seen as regular folks, you begin scribbling a list.
One. Pretend to “take on” the banks. If you can project enough righteous indignation and talk ardently enough about public retribution, maybe people will forget that we just spent hundreds of millions bailing those fat cats out, or that the worst offenders in the whole mortgage mess were the government’s own Fannie, Freddie, and the FHA. And they won’t remember that until recently, the financial services sector was the single largest component of the economy. All that really counts now is that people think we are laying them low, even if we actually aren’t.
Two. Geithner’s got to go. Hey, why should you take the blame, when you can pass it on down the chain? And to a former big banker, to boot! (Note to self: Be sure to use the phrase, “As your president, I am ultimately responsible and the buck stops here,” before blaming it on Geithner anyway.) In the meantime, set the stage by rearranging the line-ups at photo ops to slide Geithner down the line and bring Volcker into the photo.
And since we’re at it, maybe you better bring Barney Frank more into the picture, too – with that whole Brown thing, he could be in trouble come November, and then where would you be?
Three. Cap and trade? What cap and trade? When anyone brings up the topic, just pretend you can’t hear them, or tell them they must be mistaking you for some other guy.
Four. Direct handouts. No more talk of tax breaks or investing in green jobs — it’s time to just start handing money out. Forget the high-speed trains and start building bridges and fixing roads. So what if it didn’t work the first time; the second time’s a charm, they say.
Five. Blame the Republicans for a failure in healthcare. Hey, they had their chance to get in line with your legislation, now it’s all on them. Meanwhile, just after blaming them, be sure to make conciliatory noises about working with both sides of the aisle.
Six. Push comes to shove, war with Iran? The Israelis are ready to go. So, maybe a quiet nod to the right folks could get the show on the road. Hey, that whole “commander in chief” thing during a period of war certainly worked out for Bush, right?
Laying down your pencil, you rock back in your comfortable leather chair, survey your posh surroundings, and remind yourself how much you like the place. “Get ready, America,” you say out loud to no one but yourself, “you ain’t seen nothing yet!” Especially now that corporations and unions are free to contribute as much as they want to our campaigns. If they want to play, they’re going to have to pay… and big!
Now, if only that burning sensation on the back of your neck would go away.