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Unassuming, Competent, and Honorable: George H. W. Bush 1924-2018

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

I was working on another article last night and called it quits because I was tired. I’ll finish and post it tomorrow. But as I was settling in for the night my iPhone and iPad lit up with notifications that former President George H. W. Bush had died.

Many others from across the political spectrum have paid tribute to him far better than Incan ever hope to do. I had a lot of admiration for him. He brought a wealth of experience into the White House which paid huge dividends for the nation and the world as the Cold War ended and the world that we had known for forty years changed overnight.

It was a time fraught with real danger. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact brought freedom to much of Eastern Europe, but also unleashed a storm of long suppressed, but ancient ethnic and religious hatreds, especially in the Balkans. Likewise, the system by which the United States and the Soviet Union kept client States in line collapsed. Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was but one of these nations.

Likewise, China responded to calls for democracy by crushing the peaceful demonstrations in Tiananmen Square in June 1989. Some leaders of Warsaw Pact nations whose people began to push for democracy and freedom were tempted to use force to crush their protestors, but none did. Credit has to be given to President Bush for how he used his knowledge, influence, and diplomatic skills to help bring down the Berlin Wall as Communist regimes collapsed all across Eastern Europe.

When Saddam Hussein brazenly invaded Kuwait, it was Bush who worked with the United Nations to build a true international coalition against Hussein and to ensure that Iraq was unable to split that coalition, which included many Arab nations, when it began shooting SCUD missiles at Israel.

At home he wanted a kinder and gentler country, something that we could sure use today. He was despised by Right Wing Republicans and Conservatives for not being “conservative enough.” Of course, the kind of conservatives they wanted in government were the uncompromising, yet morally bankrupt men like Newt Gingrich, and ultimately Donald Trump.

Bush’s political problem was one of hs greatest strengths. He was a decent man who brought humility to his office and did not make the Presidency about himself. He was gracious in defeat and went on work with the man who defeated him in 1992, Bill Clinton, on a number of humanitarian projects.

He was the last member of what has been termed “the Greatest Generation” serve as President. As a nineteen year old he put college on hold and became the second youngest man commissioned as a Naval Aviator. While serving with VT-51 (Torpedo Squadron 51) based on the USS San Jacinto, his TBM Avenger torpedo bomber was shot down over Chuchi Jima. With his aircraft’s engine on fire from hits from Japanese anti aircraft fire, Bush piloted his aircraft away from land to enable his crew to bail out. One went down with the aircraft, the other’s parachute failed to open. Bush landed in the ocean. U.S. fighter aircraft circled overhead and four hours later he was fished from the sea by the crew of the submarine USS Finback. Upon his return to the San Jacinto, Bush rejoined his squadron and flew until the squadron was rotated out of combat. He flew 58 combat missions and was received the Distinguished Flying Cross and three awards of the Air Medal.

Of the Presidents that served in the Second World War, only Bush and John F. Kennedy came so close to death serving in the Pacific. Gerald Ford served in combat operations about the Light Carrier USS Monterrey, a sister ship of San Jacinto for a year and a half. Richard Nixon volunteered for service even though being a Quaker he could have claimed consciousness objector status. He applied for sea duty but was assigned to various logistics and administrative assignments in the Pacific throughout the war. Lyndon Johnson served in the South Pacific, interrupting his congressional term to personally report on the situation to President Franklin Roosevelt. During his tour he got himself aboard an Army Air Force B-26 Marauder which was on a combat mission. There are differences in what happened during the mission, but alone among the crew Johnson, was recommended by Douglas MacArthur for, and awarded the Silver Star. Of course, Ronald Reagan, who had become a Reserve Officer in 1937, never left the Continental United States and was engaged in making training and recruitment films. Jimmy Carter entered the Naval Academy in 1943 but was commissioned too late to see service in the war.

Bush epitomized public service as an elected and appointed official, serving as a Congressman, Ambassador to the United Nations, Envoy to the People’s Republic of China, and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, before becoming Ronald Reagan’s Vice President.

As President he surrounded himself with competent professionals who were up to the challenges that his Presidency had to deal with. Unlike his predecessor, Ronald Reagan, there was no shady Iran Contra scandal, or Bill Clinton’s descent into extramarital forced fellatio with White House Intern Monica Lewinski and his lies about it. Neither can his response to Saddam Hussein’s Invasion of Kuwait in 1990 be compared to the criminal invasion launched by his son against Iraq in 2003.

Unlike many of his predecessors and successors he could not only take a jokes and parodies, but became a friend with one of his most successful imitators, Dana Carvey, from Saturday Night Live. Carvey’s parody of the President inspired me to learn to imitate him, Bill Clinton, Ross Perot, Bob Dole and others. Most people who have heard me think that I do Clinton the best, some say that my impersonation of him is scary, but I digress. At his final White House holiday party before he left office, Bush secretly invited Carvey. They became lifelong friends. But that is who George H. W. Bush was, and why I can appreciate him so much.

He was a devoted husband and father. He was preceded in death by his wife Barbara and daughter Robin.

May he Rest In Peace.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Filed under History, leadership, News and current events, Political Commentary, shipmates and veterans

Slice and Dice: George Will Dissects Trump, Moore, and the Evangelical Right

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

While many progressives and liberals may disagree with many of his political positions, there is no doubt that George Will is one of the most erudite writers when it comes to the use of literary prose and metaphors among all the political and baseball commentators of the last three decades.

Will is unusual for a conservative commentator. He is a genuine intellectual, he has been married twice, has an adult son with Down’s syndrome, is exceptionally knowledgeable about baseball; his book Men at Work: the Craft of Baseball is a classic, and even so he is a diehard and lifelong Chicago Cub’s fan. He was a commentator for Ken Burns’ masterpiece documentary Baseball and was parodied for his use of high flying literary metaphors about baseball by Dana Carvey on Saturday Night Live. http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/george-f-wills-sports-machine/n9910?snl=1

Last year Will, a lifelong Republican left the GOP due to the implosion of that party’s moral center after the nomination of Donald Trump. Since then he has been one of the most fearsome conservative commentators when it comes to criticizing President Trump, his policies, and his supporters, especially the block of Trump supporters known as Conservative Evangelicals.

Today in the wake of Roy Moore’s defeat in Alabama the master of conservative prose sliced and diced Moore, Trump, and the Conservative Evangelical supporters like a pathologist slicing up the rotted brain of a football player with CTE during an autopsy. In an op-Ed in the Washington Post which you can read at the link https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trumps-moore-endorsement-sunk-the-presidency-to-unplumbed-depths/2017/12/13/3c245482-e036-11e7-bbd0-9dfb2e37492a_story.html Will used his unmatched prose to expose the moral, ethical, and political bankruptcy of Trump, Moore, and their ardent Conservative Evangelical supporters.

Of Moore Will wrote:

Moore was such a comprehensive caricature — Sinclair Lewis could not have imagined this Elmer Gantry — that the acid rain of reports about his sexual predations, and his dissembling about them, almost benefited him by distracting attention from: the remunerative use he made of a “charitable” foundation. And his actions as a public official that by themselves sufficed to disqualify him from any public office. He is an anti-constitutional recidivist, twice removed from Alabama’s highest court for his theocratic insistence that his religious convictions take precedence over U.S. Supreme Court decisions, so he could not have sincerely sworn to “support and defend the Constitution” and to “bear true faith and allegiance to the same.”

Of Moore and Trump’s supporters in the Conservative Evangelical circles Will wrote:

Moore has been useful as a scythe slicing through some tall stalks of pretentiousness: The self-described “values voters” and “evangelicals” of pious vanity who have embraced Trump and his Alabama echo have some repenting to do before trying to reclaim their role as arbiters of Republican, and American, righteousness. We have, alas, not heard the last from them, but henceforth the first reaction to their “witness” should be resounding guffaws.

I totally agree, these Christian theocrats should be scorned and opposed for their anti-American and un-Constitutional positions, but also if you actually believe the faith of the early American Christians like Virginia Baptist leader John Leland who spearheaded the movement for the Bill of Rights and the First Amendment protections of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of association. Leland wrote:

“The notion of a Christian commonwealth should be exploded forever. … Government should protect every man in thinking and speaking freely, and see that one does not abuse another. The liberty I contend for is more than toleration. The very idea of toleration is despicable; it supposes that some have a pre-eminence above the rest to grant indulgence, whereas all should be equally free, Jews, Turks, Pagans and Christians.”

I’m sure that the atheist Will would agree with the Baptist Leland. The frightening thing is that Moore, a Southern Baptist would so oppose the faith and beliefs of men like Leland who fought for the rights of everyone, and the 80% of Evangelicals who support Trump in his election, and the more than 80% of white Alabama Evangelicals support political and social positions that are more in tune with the Taliban and ISIS than Leland.

But will did not just single out the Evangelicals, he excoriated national Republicans who put their money to support Moore despite the evidence of Moore’s total unsuitability for office. Will wrote:

When reports of Sen. Al Franken’s misbehaviors against adult women surfaced, the National Republican Congressional Committee pounced: “Democrats who took Senator Franken’s campaign money need to . . . return his donations.” (Combined, they totaled $15,500.) When, 18 days later, Trump endorsed Moore, the Republican National Committee immediately sent $170,000 to Alabama. If the RNC, which accurately represents the president’s portion of the party, did not have situational ethics, it would have none.

Of the President’s support for Moore Will wrote:

Although the president is not invariably a stickler for precision when bandying factoids, he said the Everest of evidence against Moore did not rise to his standards of persuasiveness. This fleeting swerve into fastidiousness about facts came hard on the heels of his retweeting of a video of a Muslim immigrant in the Netherlands beating a young man holding crutches. Except the villain was born and raised in the Netherlands. Undaunted, Trump’s remarkably pliant spokesperson, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, defended her employer from the nitpickers: What matters, she said, is not that the video is unreal but that “the threat” (of turbulent Dutchmen?) is real.

He added:

By basking in the president’s approval, Moore became a clarifier. Henry Adams, great-grandson of the second president and grandson of the sixth, was unfair to the 18th when he wrote, “The progress of evolution from President Washington to President Grant, was alone evidence enough to upset Darwin.” By joining Stephen K. Bannon’s buffoonery on Moore’s behalf, the 45th president planted an exclamation point punctuating a year of hitherto unplumbed presidential depths. He completed his remarkably swift — it has taken less than 11 months — rescue of the 17th, Andrew Johnson, from the ignominy of ranking as the nation’s worst president.

Of course other conservatives with a conscience including Jennifer Rubin, Ed Rogers, Ross Douthat, and Joe Scarborough, not to mention Senators Richard Shelby and Jeff Flake have added their voices to the cacophony to expose the fraud that is the Trump Presidency and the hollow soul of what used to be the party of Lincoln. As a former Republican I can only say let this zombie party die and maybe from the ashes something will arise that resembles men like Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. grant, Theodore Roosevelt, and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

I am now a Democrat and I am certainly a liberal and progressive, but I am also a realist. I will not be like the German left in 1932 that in the face of an existential crisis refused to come together to stop the rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party. That insistence on ideological purity and refusal to work with other opponents of the Nazis didn’t work out so well for them. Because of that I will herald anyone who opposes the un-Constitutional words and fascist like actions of men like Trump, Moore, Bannon, and their Taliban like supporters.

Politics in a democracy is always a matter of cooperation and compromise without sacrificing who we are. It is what the best Presidents and legislators of all parties understood in years past. I am sure that my words today will infuriate some of my readers who are conservative Evangelicals, and my lack of insistence on ideological purity will disappoint some of my liberal and progressive readers. But the words and actions of the President and his most loyal supporters are an existential threat to our Republic. George Will understands this, and people of goodwill can work through their differences to benefit the country and support and defend the Constitution.

That my friends is what I am about. I am a progressive realist in wonderland and George Will did all of us a favor today.

Until tomorrow,

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Filed under ethics, faith, History, News and current events, Political Commentary

Padre Steve’s World at Five Years: Writing My Way to Freedom as a Passionate Moderate

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“If you want to be a writer, you have to write every day… You don’t go to a well once but daily. You don’t skip a child’s breakfast or forget to wake up in the morning…” Walter Moseley

Friends of Padre Steve’s World. Five years ago I began to write on Padre Steve’s World…Musings of Passionate Moderate.

The name was chosen for a number of reasons. Padre Steve’s World hearkened back to one of my favorite Saturday Night Live skits and later films, Wayne’s World. The idea of musings is fairly self explanatory, these are, regardless of the subject my musings, inspired by whatever muse inhabits me. Finally the idea of a “Passionate Moderate” hearkened back to my days in seminary. Passionate and moderate are not terms that one generally links together, in fact when I was in seminary the term moderate was a term of distain used by some Christian Conservatives and Fundamentalists to vilify those that did not match their definition of a conservative. I chose the two ideas because to many people, on the right and the left cannot imagine a “Moderate” being passionate.

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However that moderation does not mean that I do not have strong ideas, beliefs and convictions, even when I can see truth in what others who do not agree with me have to say. Over the past five years my identity has become more established. I am a moderate, but in some ways I am a progressive liberal, in others a conservative. Regardless of where I fall in the religious, social and political continuum I am passionate about what I believe, I do seek the truth, but at the same time I attempt to maintain a moderate view that allows me to hear what others say and believe with an open heart.

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Padre Steve’s World began as a place to share my struggles with faith, PTSD and its effects on my life and coming home from war changed. It was something that was born out of pain, but also born out of love, love for writing, love for truth, love for justice and love of knowledge.

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As I began to write my life was coming apart, and writing became a place where could express my inner angst, find community and begin to heal. Engaging my creative muse enabled me to share those things that it was hard to do anywhere else. Many times those were the hardest things to say, the hardest things to put down in pen and ink, the things that were the secrets of my heart. Sometimes, just trying to write them was gut wrenching and filled my eyes with tears. But as I wrote, I discovered myself, discovered people for whom what I wrote resinated, and others that Stephen King said something that finds an echo in my life and heart:

“The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.”

That being said when I began much of what I wrote about was either dealing with my struggles or about things I knew a lot about. Those subjects included history, military subjects, theology and the Christian life and baseball. As I began to expand my writings the topics broadened to include political commentary, music, civil rights and the role of religion in public life.

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When I did this I decided not to shy away from controversial topics and to risk the rejection of some. The consequences of this his became quite real in September of 2010 when I was told to leave a church that I had served for 14 years as a Priest. Since then I still write about topics that are controversial, though I do try my best to be fair when I do so.

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Mark Twain advised writers to “write what they know.” Fortunately for me that was not hard, I know a lot about a lot of subjects. That is not a boast, but merely a recognition that between a lot of academic study, a lot of reading and a lot of life experience I have a pretty good repository of knowledge, including a lot of odd knowledge. That would make me a Keeper Of Odd Knowledge, or KOOK. I can live with that too.

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That being said I am not one to think that I know it all, I follow the advice of the late manager of the Baltimore Orioles, Earl Weaver that “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” Since PTSD and the Moral Injury that I had suffered in Iraq was kicking my ass when I began to write, and I was finding that I really didn’t know much of anything that I thought I knew about life I did take this advice to heart.

Stephen King noted that “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”  The fact is I have always been an avid reader, mostly of history, military history and theory, church history, theology, biography and other more academic writings from the social and political sciences. I do not read a lot of fiction, however that being said there are some books as well as book series that I like. I love fiction that deals with history, as well as mysteries and science fiction, the latter because both lure me into the realm of possibility and mystery, subjects that fascinate me.

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The fact that I read a lot inspires me to write on a wide variety of subjects. Likewise the more I write the more I become conscious of life as well as a desire to seek out truth, and when I write, whether it is something to do with history, faith, baseball or even my occasional forays into fiction and fantasy. As I do this it makes me appreciate the other writers even more, because I no longer see them just in light of what they write, but how they struggle with the same things I struggle with, I can appreciate the truth and beauty in what they write, and it decreases my sense of isolation, which since Iraq has often been crushing. I can agree with Annie Lamott wrote:

“Becoming a writer is about becoming conscious. When you’re conscious and writing from a place of insight and simplicity and real caring about the truth, you have the ability to throw the lights on for your reader. He or she will recognize his or her life and truth in what you say, in the pictures you have painted, and this decreases the terrible sense of isolation that we have all had too much of.”

I read all the time and I try to write every day, if I cannot do that I feel that I have missed out on something. If I do not write it is almost if I have missed breathing. My mind is constantly musing on things to write about and sometimes it is only the fact that I have a day job that keeps me from writing even more than I do. Like Hedley Lamarr (Harvey Korman) in Blazing Saddles I have to admit that “My mind is aglow with whirling, transient nodes of thought careening through a cosmic vapor of invention.” But I digress…

Admittedly I do write a lot and I do try to write every day. Not counting what I do for work, academic pursuits or teaching I have posted over 1700 articles on this website since I started it in February 2009. If I ever take the time to organize and edit what I have on this site there is probably enough for several books.

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For me writing has been part of my quest for healing, the discovery of truth and the desire to be part f a community of people that is bigger than me, or anything that I can do on my own.  It really is about life, and if as some would think that I am a fool for doing this, then that is their loss. I don’t mind being considered a fool in this quest. Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451 wrote:

“If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads.”

I can agree with Bradbury’s thoughts on this. I do not know what the future holds. If I were God I would live to be one hundred years old and be active reading, writing, thinking and interacting with others who seek truth.

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So tonight I wish the writers, artists and thinkers who read this the best. To close I provide you the benediction of Bradbury:

“I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories — science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”

Peace

Padre Steve+

 

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Yet another Meaningless Debate and Looking back to the Best Debate Parody Ever

Tonight is yet another in a series of rather meaningless Presidential debates for the Republican-Tea Party.  It should be relatively predicable unless Rick Perry was to draw his gun and shoot Michelle Bachmann.  Apart from something like that it should be about the same as the last two debates.  Everybody will attack Perry and Perry will shoot back hopefully in a figurative sense and beat on his chest about all of his Texas accomplishments while painting President Obama as a Commi Pinko Socialist who needs to face some Texas justice.

The rest will either be variations on the theme “Obama is evil and I am less like Obama than the rest of these dumb asses” or “if you elect me President I will wear a tri-corner hat at my inauguration and usher in utopia.”

Let’s face it, the debates we have now are simply time for every candidate to create his or her truth and sell it to us even if it is a complete lie. But then to quote Seinfeld’s George Costanza “It’s not a lie if you believe it.”  This is true of the candidates of both major parties.  Right now it just happens to be the Republicans in the spotlight.  However the title could be the 1992 same as the Saturday Night Live 1992 Presidential Debate “The Challenge to Avoid Saying Something Stupid”  and we know that is always a distinct possibility.

Of course there is the hope that Michelle Bachmann will say that Rick Perry supports illegal immigration which benefits Herman Cain’s Godfather’s Pizza chain and that Ron Paul sells marijuana to debate newcomer Gary Johnson from an illegal lemonade stand outside of Rick Santorum’s house while Newt Gingrich ogles her ass even as he accuses Mitt Romney of secretly wanting to marry John Huntsman in Massachusetts in a ceremony presided over by Barak Obama or something like that.

Unfortunately none of that will happen and we will be treated to the usual just on a different channel than last time.  For that reason I have my television on the MLB Channel and probably will put on season four of Boston Legal where Rick Perry’sBoston alter ego Denny Crane is played by William Shatner. As or the debate itself I will simple catch the lowlights later.

Unfortunately I cannot find the video of the 1992 Bush-Clinton-Perot debate anywhere on the web I will post the script here.  As you will see it is far more entertaining than anything that will be said tonight.

Saturday Night Live Debate ’92

Jane Pauley…..Julia Sweeney
Bernard Shaw…..Tim Meadows
Sam Donaldson…..Kevin Nealon
Bill Clinton…..Phil Hartman
President George Bush…..Dana Carvey
Ross Perot…..Dana Carvey (on tape)

Announcer: NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” will not be seen tonight, so that we may bring you this NBC News Special: “Debate ’92: The Challenge to Avoid Saying Something Stupid”. And now, here is your moderator, Jane Pauley.

Jane Pauley: Good evening. I’m Jane Pauley, and welcome to St. Louis for the first in our series of three presidential debates. Tonight’s debate among President George Bush, Arkansas governor Bill Clinton, and diminutive Texas billionaire Ross Perot will begin in just a moment. But first, let me introduce my fellow panelists, CNN anchor Bernard Shaw and ABC News political correspondent Sam Donaldson. Now, let’s meet the candidates. Gentlemen. [ the three candidates enter the arena and stand behind their respective podiums ] The first question will be asked by Sam Donaldson.

Sam Donaldson: Governor Clinton, let’s be frank. You’re running for president, yet your only experience has been as the governor of a small, backward state with a population of drunken hillbillies riding around in pickup trucks. The main streets of your capital city, Little Rock, are something out of L’il Abner, with buxom underage girls in their cutoff denims prancing around in front of Jethro and Billy Bob, while corncob-pipe-smoking, shotgun-toting grannies fire indiscriminantly at runaway hogs.

Bill Clinton: I’m sorry, Sam, do you have a question?

Sam Donaldson: My question is: How can you stand it? Don’t you lose your mind living down there?

Bill Clinton: Sam, you must have watched too many of my opponent’s TV spots. I’m tired of the Bush campaign trying to portray my home state as some sort of primitive Third World country. The fact is, Arkansas did have a long way to go, but we’ve made progress. When I started as governor, we were fiftieth in adult literacy, and last year, I’m proud to say, we shot ahead of Mississippi. We’re #49, and we’re closing fast on Alabama. Watch out, Alabama – we got your number!

George Bush: Can I say something here? Two years ago, I went on a fishing trip in Arkansas with Baker, Fitzwater, Quayle, myself. We were chased and assaulted by a couple of inbred mountain people. I was sworn to secrecy as to those events, but suffice it to say, they felt that Dan Quayle – and I quote – “sure had a purty mouth.” Now, if that’s the kind of progress Bill Clinton brought to Arkansas.. I don’t think we need it in the White House!

Bill Clinton: That’s not fair. Just this year we passed Mississippi to become 41st in the prevention of rickets.

Ross Perot: Can I jump in here? Why are we talking about Arkansas? Hell, everybody knows that all they got down there is a bunch of ignorant inbred crackerheads! Peckerwoods, catch me? now, can we talk about the deficit? While we’ve been jabbering, our deficit has increased by half a million dollars. That’s enough to buy a still and a new outhouse for every family in Little Rock!

Bill Clinton: Will you shut up!

Ross Perot: Hold it there, cracker boy, I’m not finished!

George Bush: See that right there? Kind of makes you wonder whether these men have the temperament to be president. Would you tell Prime Minister Major to shut up? Would you call Boris Yeltsin a “Crackerhead”? Who wouldn’t you tell to shut up? Because you see, this election is about who can take the heat, who you want there when that secured phone in the White House rings at 3 AM. Do you want someone who will answer the phone politely: “Hello, this is the President. Speak slowly and clearly and tell me what the problem is.” Or do you want someone who’s cranky, who says, “This better be important,” or “Do you realize what time it is?” or simply says, “Shut up!” hangs up the phone and sleeps like a baby while the world burns!

Jane Pauley: Thank you, gentlemen. Now, Bernard Shaw has a question for Governor Clinton.

Bernard Shaw: Yes, Governor Clinton. If Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor the death penalty for her assailant?

Jane Pauley: Mr. Shaw, really. You don’t have to answer that, Governor Clinton.

Bill Clinton: No, no, I’m happy to answer that. Obviously, none of us want to see Kitty Dukakis raped and murdered, but if she had to be murdered I would hope it would be in Arkansas – because no state is tougher on crime. Last year we passed Florida to become #2 in executions by lethal injection, and first in crushed by heavy stones.

Jane Pauley: Mr. Perot? Rebuttal.

Ross Perot: I was hoping we’d get into the issues, but if this is the way the game is played – fine. So, if somebody were to lay a finger on Kitty Dukakis, I wouldn’t kill him right away. That’d be too easy. I’d wait for a hot Texas day, see? Tie him to a stake, get an ant trail going. You know, Texas red ants, inch long! Just love to bite into human flesh, catch what I’m saying here? See, they’re eating him alive, nice and slow like. And I’d sit with him in the shade under an umbrella, maybe with a lemonade, sit back and say to the fella, “How do you like them apples?” And he’ll be screaming, “When am I gonna die?” and I’d say, “I don’t know exactly, and frankly, I resent your question.” Catch my drift?

Jane Pauley: THank you. Now, let’s turn to the deficit. President Bush, during your term, the deficit has grown by over a trillion dollars.

George Bush: I know.

Jane Pauley: Honestly now, don’t you feel some kind of tax hike will be needed to reduce the deficit?

George Bush: Jane, the answer is no! I will never raise taxes again! Never, ever, ever, ever.. never, ever again! And I mean never, ever, ever, ever, never ever..!!

Jane Pauley: Thank you, Mr. Presi..

George BushNever, ever, ever!

Jane Pauley: Mr. President, please..

George BushEver, ever again!

Jane Pauley: Sam Donaldson, with a question for Governor Clinton.

Sam Donaldson: Governor Clinton, this week the big story has been your 1969 trip to Moscow, and your involvement in antiwar activities. Some have ven suggested that while in Moscow, you had meetings with KGB agents. Isn’t it fair to say that you haven’t really told the American people the full story?

Bill Clinton: Sam, this kind of attack shows how desperate the Bush campaign has become. Yes, I did go to Moscow by train in 1969. And while on the train, I struck up a conversation with a man in the seat next to me. He gave me a package to take to Moscow and instructed me to leave it folded in a newspaper in a kiosk across from Lenin’s tomb. I’ve explained this many times. Yes, the KGB did subsequently pay my way through law school, but that was the last contact I had with the KGB until years later when Hillary and I were having problems, and it was a KGB agent, Nikolai Kuznetsov, who let me stay at his place for a while until we patched things up.

Sam Donaldson: But isn’t it true that during one of the peace demonstrations you burned an American flag in Red Square?

Bill Clinton: I tried to burn an American flag once. I didn’t like it. It gave off toxic fumes, so I didn’t inhale.

Ross Perot: Can I say something here?

Jane Pauley: Mr. Perot.

Ross Perot: I think that’s just sad.

Jane Pauley: President Bush?

George Bush: Once again, it all comes down to trust. Who’s been there? I’ve been with Mitterand, I’ve met with Major, I know the White House. I know the door outto the Rose Garden doesn’t lock unless you pull it. I know the toilet in the Lincoln Bedroom will run all night unless you jiggle that handle. It’s not enough to flush it, you’ve got to jiggle it! I know Air Force One. I know that seat 8G does not fuly recline. If we are flying the Prime Minister of Canada to a trade conference, I alone can say, “Mr. Mulroney, seat 8G does not fully recline, I suggest you use another!”

Jane Pauley: All right, Mr. Bush, our time is up. Each candidate will be allowed a brief closing statement. Governor Clinton?

Bill Clinton: Thank you, Jane. We’ve talked about many issues tonight. But this election is really about one thing – change. Over the last twelve years, more and more Americans have found themselves working longer and harder for less and less. [ President Bush glances at Clinton and sees the vision of a hippy standing behind the podium ] We need to invest in our people again. Because together, all of us, pulling as a team, we can do it! Thank you.

Jane Pauley: President Bush?

George Bush: My fellow Americans, this election is about leadership and trust. Now, our opponents have tried to portray us as the party of the rich and privileged, ignoring the fact that our economic program has created more opportunity for more Americans than in any twelve-year period in history. [ Clinton glances at President Bush and sees the vision of an old lady standing behind the podium ] Well, let me tell you something: I’m not worth $3.3 billion, and I wasn’t educated at Oxford. But I know how to lead this country to victory in the Persian Gulf, and I can do it again here at home!

Jane Pauley: Mr. Perot?

Ross Perot: This whole thing fascinates me, really. See, you don’t have to be a Ph.D. at Harvard to know that our kids are going to inherit a $4 trillion deficit, and that’s just a crime. [ Clinton and President Bush glance at Perot and see the vision of a munchkin from “The Wizard of Oz” ] Now, if I’m president, we start cleaning up this mess on Day One. It’s gonna take some sacrifice, no doubt about it. But I know the American people are ready to sacrifice as long as it’s fair. This is your country, let’s take it back.

Jane Pauley: Thank you, Mr. Perot, don’t you have one last thing to say?

Ross Perot: No, I can’t. I’m on tape. [ looks at Bush ] Why don’t
you do it, live-boy?

George Bush: “Live, from New York, it’s Saturday Night!

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Filed under Just for fun, Political Commentary, purely humorous