Of course I refer to the interminable eight years of botched policies and mis-management from the George Bush administration. Also, the televised coverage of the Barack Obama inauguration which seemed to last almost as long.
I kept wondering if it was a costume event until I realized that the guy dressed like Mr Potter, the evil old wheelchair-bound spider from It's A Wonderful Life, was actually former vice-president Dick Cheney who is apparently being eaten inside-out by cancerous guilt. We reap what we sow, eh?
The Networks had something for everyone. FOX "News" had the always charming Sheppard Smith in-articulating events as they happened with great gusto. From not knowing which helicopter was which, or who rode in what limo, to completely missing the significance of the Yosemite Valley painting hanging in National Statuary Hall. (It's part of the Lincoln theme Shep. See, Lincoln signed the Yosemite Land Grant in order to protect the area. Obama is a big Lincoln fan. See the connection?)
FOX had discussion in great detail about what they referred to as "Obama's Financial Bailout Plan" and how it could make or break him. Interesting. Somehow they failed to remember that it was good ol' George Bush who crafted the 800 billion dollar bailout, the first half of which has disappeared into the pockets of his Wall Street cronies. Obama is simply the executor of the remainder of Bush's last great mistake. Nothing like blinders to help keep your spin on track, eh FOX?
ABC had some decent coverage with Charlie Gibson, (oh, sorry Charlie, it's Charles now since you no longer handle fluff pieces on GMA, right?) and Diane Sawyer taking turns doling out historical facts and trivial snippets. For the most part Gibson stuck to history and Sawyer handled the important things like dress designers and speculation on Michelle Obama's gift to Laura Bush. (It was a pen and journal set according to Gibson.) ABC also had incisive commentary by George Stephanopoulis on how George Bush kept in shape during his tenure as tyrant, only gaining a few pounds in the last eight years. Cool! News I needed to know!
And CBS had Katie Couric.
What really depressed me about the whole thing was that this was the most attended inaugural event in the history of the Presidency. Yeah, OK, I get it. We elected the nation's first black president. Well, half-black, anyway. So it's historical and one would expect a large turnout, but it made me realize that if Obama was white, no one would really give a damn. It would simply be another president taking the Oath of Office. Big deal, right? It made me realize how little the citizenry cares about politics in the first place. No wonder the country is in the shape it's in.
Fiscally, the events surrounding the inauguration cost an estimated 170 million dollars but don't worry kids, only a small part of that money came from your taxes. Most of it came from private donations made by Wall Street movers and shakers. You know, those guys that are currently getting bailed out by the Feds with your hard-earned… oops. Well, perhaps the Feds can recoup some of that with the DVD sales and rentals. As for the Street itself, it plunged over 330 points reportedly because Obama didn't mention anything about them in his first speech. Talk about needy! Hey, wait a minute… what the hell are you people doing trading on Inauguration Day anyway? Not only are you a bunch of whiny bums crying for government handouts, but you don't even bother to pay respect to the new president you're begging from? Classy, really classy.
Chief Justice John Roberts, a Bush appointee, made a minor faux pas as he garbled the Oath of Office. One wonders how many of the nut-jobs who claim Obama is not a citizen will now claim he's not actually president because he didn't take the "real" Oath of Office. Of course, that leads to speculation that Bush instructed his pet to mess it up intentionally, but surely that couldn't be, could it? No, of course not. Any plan like that would have to come from someone with a working brain and real power. Like Dick Cheney. My God, I love a good conspiracy theory! (Well, wonder no more! NBC's Brian Williams just made it official, the nut-jobs are already crying!
As for Obama, one of his first acts of office was to reach out to the Gulf Coast promising to honor the "broken promises" and insure we never again suffer through the "unconscionable ineptitude" of the former administration. (Oooh, burn!) This came in the form of a statement released on the White House website. He also issued orders to cease implementation of many of George Bush's 'Midnight Resoloutions.' You know, those sneaky little laws an outgoing president pushes through when he thinks no one's looking. According to reports, Georgie signed more of those than Billy Clinton, Ronnie Reagan and Daddy Bush combined. Nice try, Georgie, but apparently another failure to add to your scrapbook.
And speaking of the former administration, George and his lovely wife Laura jetted away to their ranch in Crawford, Texas, a place they have clearly missed in the last eight years. Counting vacations spent at Camp David and in Crawford, George and company only managed to get in about three years of rest. Out of eight. Talk about your cushy part-time jobs!
Well, I guess that's enough rambling for one day. Enjoy your retirement George, you certainly earned it. And to the new president, Barack Obama, congratulations! You have a difficult job ahead of you, unraveling the twisted knot of incompetence left behind by your predecessor. No pressure though!