February 12, 1999

SNAFU in Washington

The last couple of months in Washington, D.C. have been much more SNAFU than usual. For you youngsters, who don't know what SNAFU is, it is a World War II acronym for "Situation Normal, All F_ _ _ed Up." When I read Will Rogers(1879-1935) comments, courtesy of Brian Sterling who published a collection of his "wit and wisdom" in 1979, there is little that I can add to Rogers' analysis of what goes on in our nation's capital. So, instead of the usual quote at the top of the column, I will use a Rogers quote, or several quotes, after each of my paragraphs.

First there is President Clinton, who has been lying about his sex life for so long that he considers his lies to be true.

W.R. "Say, did you read what this writer just dug up in George Washington's diary? I was so ashamed I sat up all night reading it."

Clinton knows how to get elected and how to stay in office in spite of what he does. He and his Republican equivalent, Ronald Reagan are both what the press has termed "great communicators," which is polite language for bullshit artists. Clinton's state of the union speech was 100% baloney. He takes credit for a budget surplus which neither he, his administration, nor congress had much to do with. He and congress ignore the fact that our country's national debt is not only the largest of that of any nation in the world, but it is the largest that has ever been. We are still in hock from World War I.

A note of sanity was injected by Allen Greenspan, who suggested that the budget surplus be used to start paying down the national debt. Of course, Greenspan could say that because he doesn't have to get re-elected. Clinton wants to spend it on gifts for everyone, including Republicans, and the Republicans want a tax cut for the rich. All politicians want their fair share of the pork. No one, including our nation's press, mention the fact that the interest on the national debt, which is paid to rich people who hold government bonds, is as large as the defense budget and it buys absolutely nothing. Nor does anyone say that if this economic boom goes bust, that the government could go belly-up and all government programs including Social Security would go bust. Of course, Adolph Hitler showed that a nation can be bankrupt and still be able to build up a massive military machine and fight wars, so maybe none of this matters at all. At least, that is what everyone in Washington would like us to believe.

W.R. "It's a tough life, this being president and trying to please everybody -well, not exactly everybody, but enough to be reelected."

W.R. "A foreigner coming here and reading the Congressional Record would say that the president of the United States serves solely for the purpose of giving a senator somebody to call a horse thief."

W.R. "This message(state of the union address), as I say, is to congress. The rest of the people know the condition of the country, for they live in it, but congress has no idea what is going on in America, so the president has to tell 'em."

They had no television in Rogers' days, but we do now, so the state of the union address is the opportunity for the president to make another political speech. Clinton did that, even though he can't possibly be reelected. He'll probably be making political speeches for as long as he lives to anyone who will listen. It's his way of life.

The house Republicans have been trying to get the president kicked out of office, since he refuses to resign like Nixon did. They basically want to get even for Tricky Dick by getting rid of Slick Willie. The Democrats have been trying to keep them from doing it and they will succeed simply because The Constitution mandates a 2/3 vote of the senate to get rid of a president. The terms "liberal Republican," and "conservative Democrat" are just about meaningless since almost all vote the straight party line. The few exceptions, who supposedly voted against their party, have done so with the approval of their party's leadership because they want to be re-elected, and the leadership wants them to be re-elected. There is only one thing about politicians that you can be absolutely sure about: They all want to keep their jobs.

W.R. "Congress is so strange....a man gets up to speak and says nothing....nobody listens.....and then everybody disagrees."

W.R. "Being a U.S. senator looks to be about the best graft, as there is no one to watch them. I guess the people figure that the class of men they send to the senate would get caught if they took anything, whether they had anyone watching them, or not."

W.R. "Congress meets tomorrow morning. Let us pray: Oh Lord, give us strength to bear that which is about to be inflicted upon us. Be merciful with them, oh Lord, for they know not what they are doing. Amen."

W.R. "We all joke about congress but we can't improve on them. Have you noticed that no matter whom we elect, he is just as bad as the one he replaces?"

If I could get Will Rogers to write all of my columns, they might all improve.

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