Junior Bush had his moment to show what he’s really made of, and came through for his puppeteers in grand fashion on Monday afternoon. His hand no doubt forced by his primary handler, Dick Cheney, Bush took a break from his boat party with Putin to commute Scooter Libby’s sentence, meaning that one of the driving forces of his disastrous regime has been spared the petty indignities and bad bedding of prison life. Libby’s outright lies to a federal grand jury are as good as forgiven. The only thing left to do is the complete pardon on Bush’s way out the door and, what the heck, how about a Medal of Freedom?
Despite the latest outrage and the threat to our democracy, not to mention law and order, by the always imaginative Bushies, the timing of this could not be better for me personally. Some of you don’t know that I am at heart an entrepreneur. I have in development a board-game that should be ready in time for the holiday season. It will be called: What If A Democrat Did It? WIADDI will be a revolutionary board-game – more educational than Trivial Pursuit, more tricky than Jenga, more mysterious than Clue. There are no wrong answers in WIADDI. The only limit is your – imagination!
As you play WIADDI, you progress through four levels: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced and Expert. As a Beginner, you are presented with simple, easily-managed problems. At this level, you should be able to determine what would happen If A Democrat Did It without too much trouble. For instance, Bush selected a losing Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate and political hack who presided over the most negative campaign in Wisconsin history to an ambassadorship in Tanzania. Now – altogether – What If A Democrat Did It?!? (This phase is meant to be shouted by everyone in the room and everyone has to take a drink.) Points are given for each keyword hit, for which the moderator rings a bell. The obvious answer: Radio wingnuts (ding!) would accuse Democrats of blatant cronyism (ding!) and political payback (ding!). Three bells means a perfect score. See? It’s easy – and fun!
Higher levels present more challenging facts to really get your Cranium cranking. Let’s say a wealthy Democratic contributor and lobbyist for mining interests is put in charge of the Mine Safety Administration. The fox watching the chicken coop! Kickbacks no doubt expected! Contributor probably sleeping his way to the top! Can the head of EPA be far behind? You get the idea.
Here is a secret tip for success at all levels of WIADDI: All you have to do is think of everything that the mainstream media hasn’t done in response the Bush Outrages and assume they would do what they should have been doing all these years If A Democrat Did It. Given everything the lapdog media has failed to do in the Bush Years, you have thousands of options to choose from.
At the higher levels, the stakes get greater for the Hypothetical Democrat. Imagine a Democratic Vice President locks all his routine daily work in a man-sized safe every night, scrubs the Secret Service records of who has visited his mansion and, ultimately, declares himself a member of the legislative branch, untethered by executive branch requirements. WIADDI? Public flogging? Impeachment, surely, but that would be too good for him.
At the Expert level, the mind reels over what would happen If A Democrat Did It. The first problem at that level is a classic – the shutting down of the recount in Florida in 2000. This answer requires a thousand-page essay not about whether, but how the Republicans and the media would prevent the Democrat from taking office. What if a Democrat, after 9/11, used the tragedy as a bludgeon to grab power for himself, start a phony war in the fragile Middle East, wiretap phones without a warrant, and even hold people in a sun-baked prison, incommunicado for more than five years, complete with torture and secret renditions to countries who really know how to "get the job done"? You can almost hear the reporter outside the White House: "A delegation of Democratic congressional leaders went to the White House today to tell the President that the time has come to step down..."
At this level, it will be tempting for you to leap immediately to impeachment for such a lawless regime. But, remember, points are given for creativity. You have to let go of your disbelief about what Bush has managed to get away with. Forget also that a Democrat would never even think of pulling stunts like any of the Bush Horrors. Remember that, whoever the Democratic nominee and eventual president will be in ‘08 and ‘09, they will be run through the personal and professional wringer and held to a higher standard than the Republican, as they always are. Mountains will be made out of molehills, and, no matter who it is, you will feel icky marking the ballot for them. But, in WIADDI, you get to imagine what would happen if the Democrats really did elect a lawless dolt. The ultimate WIADDI challenge: What if it was the Democrats who nominated George W. Bush? Talk about an ass-kicking!
After the board-game takes hold, I plan to syndicate the game on the comics page, like the old There Oughta Be a Law or Sudoku, with problems ripped from the day’s headlines.
Today’s WIADDI: What if a Democratic president commuted the sentence of a key aide who was convicted of lying to investigators and a federal grand jury about his involvement in a political smear job that resulted in the outing of a CIA operative?
Answer: What, are you kidding me? Maybe we should just take bets on how long it would take an administration like that to be run out of town on a rail.