George W. Bush: My Life as a Democrat
What if President Bush woke up one morning — as a Democrat?
As he steps out of the shower, Mr. Bush — the newly minted Democrat — finds his first challenge of the day.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is on the phone, expressing his outrage by the White House’s liberal spending spree that has fueled a record-setting budget deficit.
Meanwhile, on the television in his bedroom, Fox News commentators are blaming the general disarray in U.S. foreign policy on a party that is famously feeble on national security — the weak-kneed Democrats.
And over on CNN, a "military analyst" is working overtime to criticize the president's misguided attempts at nation-building.
The analyst is linking current problems in Iraq with the United States trying to serve as the world’s policeman. "What else can you expect from a president who went out of his way to avoid Vietnam," he sneers.
The sound of a prominent conservative talk radio host drifts into the room: “The United States should not be in the business of removing dictators from power — just on the basis of human rights abuses. This White House has been ignoring the real threats we face — Red China and Stalinist North Korea.”
Stumbling down to the breakfast table, President Bush has the next unpleasant surprise waiting for him.
Peering out the window, he is shocked to find Special Prosecutor Ken Starr — rushed into place by a GOP Congress with plenty of experience batting around President Clinton — uprooting the Rose Garden.
This time around, Mr. Starr is digging into allegations of White House shenanigans — such as intelligence failures in Iraq, shady contract favoring home-state corporations — as well as Vice President Dick Cheney's secret meetings on energy policy.
Even more irritatingly, the Capitol Hill police are standing under the portico — and hammering on the back door.
They were dispatched by Congressional leaders to demand that President Bush finally deliver the detailed assessment of how much his plan to reform Social Security — estimated by outside observers to reach $2 trillion — would cost.
Regrettably, Mr. Bush also soon discovers that his fellow Democrats are none too happy about the hundreds of thousands of jobs lost on his watch.
There is also great unrest within Congress over the falling dollar, record U.S. trade deficits, soaring healthcare costs — and failing schools. And unlike their well-disciplined Republican counterparts, Congressional Democrats are quite willing to abandon their own president in droves.
“No one could have predicted the 9/11 attacks and an economic downturn!” Mr. Bush wails into the phone to the Reverend Al Sharpton. “You must be willing to shoulder responsibilities,” the Reverend counsels. “We Democrats can’t keep portraying ourselves as victims.”
The phone signals a call waiting. It is Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, browbeating the president about the enormous growth in the federal government — and especially the creation of the mammoth Department of Homeland Security.
“You need to devolve responsibilities to the states through block grants," Mr. Hastert recites from classic Republican doctrine. "Contract out all those transportation security jobs to the private sector — and cut these wasteful foreign aid programs to the bone!”
“Partisan hypocrites! How can they have turned on me?" a despondent President Bush says to himself after Mr. Hastert had hung up on him. "Congress and the press accommodated me before."
"These are the same policies I have pursued all along," he continues. Nothing has changed — except my party label.”
Jogging over to the West Wing, the president finds Vice President Cheney hidden behind a huge pile of file folders and financial disclosure forms.
“They have launched a Congressional investigation on Halliburton," Vice President Cheney yells. "I'm toast," he adds before disappearing through a trap door beneath his chair, headed to an undisclosed location.
At this point, the president is beginning to feel very lonely. His twins — Jenna and Barbara — have left the country for a long European vacation together with their mother.
They had simply become fed up with the withering criticism from conservative activists and family values groups, who were outraged that the twins' partying life-style was a poor example for American youths.
Turning on the TV, President Bush discovers to his horror that the same advertising team that declared it was “Morning in America” for Ronald Reagan had produced a 30-second spot called “Morning on the Mekong.”
The spot dramatizes Lt. Kerry’s heroic rescue of a fellow soldier — and will be running in the crucial primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire, as the opening shot of Mr. Kerry's effort to become the Republican candidate for president in 2008.
“My God!” the President shouts, “Kerry woke up a Republican!”