The Nossiter Net
The net that shall enmesh them all
Edited, Written, and Published by Josh Nossiter
Leadership
Thursday, February 16th, 2006
The Nossiter Net is cast  to snare some of  the riper rascalities of the day.  Comments?  editor@nossiter.net
As his staff filed into the Oval Office, President George W. Bush put his iPod down and swung his snakeskin boots off the massive desk, made from timbers of the HMS Resolute and presented to the US by Queen Victoria.  Putting his feet on it made the president feel important. Andrew Card and Karl Rove took their places, while a clutch of economic, political, and military advisors sat down behind them, notebooks poised.  The president hunched his shoulders, narrowed his eyes, and addressed the room.

“I called y’all in ‘cause it’s about time we started getting stuff done. Seems to me we’re slippin’ hereabouts, and I don’t allow that on my watch.  I’m gonna fix what needs fixin’, and I’m gonna do it right now, ‘cause that’s what presidents do.  You remember my idea to paint one of our U2 jets in UN colors and shoot it down over Iraq, to jump start the war?*  Well that’s not the only idea I ever had, believe you me.  Plenty more where that came from.  Now, starting with the economy, what’s our numero uno problemo today?”

The economic advisors shuffled papers and avoided the president’s eye until Rove broke the awkward silence.  “The economy is performing very well, Mr. President.  No major problems to report” he said.

“Is that so?  Well how come everybody’s so worked up about our trade deficit with China?  What’s that all about?

Katherine Baicker of the Council of Economic Advisors cleared her throat.  “Well sir, our $201 billion trade deficit with China last year WAS a record.  It arises because we import vastly more Chinese goods than we export US made goods to them.  The Chinese are able to produce goods in great quantity and very cheaply, thanks to a huge and inexpensive labor force.  According to one study, China’s hourly labor costs are about 64 cents, compared to ours of over 21 dollars.”**

Mr. Bush scowled at the economist.  “So yer tellin’ me we pay our workers 21 bucks an hour, and the Chinese pay theirs 64 cents?  Well ‘course their makin’ stuff cheaper than us if that’s the case.  That’s just not right.  How can our companies compete?  So here’s what we do.  We start payin’ our workers 63 cents an hour.  We underprice the Chinese, and sell ‘em our stuff cheaper than they can buy theirs.  That’ll fix the trade deficit pronto.  Won’t it?”

Ms. Baicker’s eyes widened, but as she gathered her wits to respond, Chief of Staff Andrew Card cut her off.  “Up to a point, Mr. President.  We’ll get on it immediately.”

The president continued.  “Okey, so we had Brownie and Chertoff testafyin’ in Congress about that consarned hurricane in New Orleans.  I keep readin’ how I was biking in Texas and Cheney was fly fishin’ and Andy was at his lake house in Maine, and Karl was on vacation, and Condi was shoe shoppin’, and nobody was mindin’ the store when the hurricane hit.  Well who the heck wants to be in Washington in August, for pete’s sake?  But I’m tired of hearin’ about it.  We gotta fix the situation, and fix it fast.  So here’s what we do.  We all go on vacation again.  We get the Corps of Engineers to breach a levee someplace and cause flooding.  The Sacramento Valley would be good, out there on the left coast. Make old Arnie sit up and pay attention, mebbe drown a few Democrats too. Just make it look like an accident, is all.  Only this time, see, we know it’s comin’.  So we respond instantly, get everything cleared up in a jiffy, and prove that bein’ on vacation doesn’t impair our ability to function.  Hot idea, or what?”

Karl Rove, the first to raise his dropped jaw, said “Up to a point, Mr. President.  I’ll see to it right away.”

“All right.  Seems I got to do all the thinkin’ around here.  So, what else?  More Abu Graib pictures.  The Iraq election returned a bunch of Islamist radicals, and that Al Sadr terrorist suddenly becomes a king maker.  Meanwhile, Cheney shoots some guy full of birdshot right here at home.  None of this looks good, not good at all.  So we kill two birds with one stone.   Heh, heh.  We send Cheney to fight in Iraq.  Put him in the front lines.  Let him blaze away at them Iraqis to his heart’s content – seems he likes to shoot people anyway.  Fix it so he accidentally hits Al Sadr.  The story will be huge.  And if Dickie don’t make it back, it’ll be even huger.  That’ll turn Dickie from a goat to a hero, and fix our Iraq problem and our Cheney problem all at once.  Ain’t that right?”

Andrew Card forestalled the military advisors’ protests.  “Up to a point, sir.  I’ll arrange the matter personally.”

As the president dismissed his staff and returned, humming, to his iPod, he reflected that it wasn’t so hard bossing the US, provided you had the smarts to do it right.

*http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/4675724.stm
**http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/dec2004/nf2004122_6762_db039.htm

©Joshua C. Nossiter, 2006
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