"Mr. President" seems way too stiff and stilted for you, our most populist-appealing president ever. So, I certainly hope you won't mind if I chat with you here just as though we were in a humble diner down South. Just try to think of me, dear Sir, as another Joe in the neighborhood, with an awful lot on my mind.
Now, Barry Honey, can we talk about hypocrisy?
You see, dear Sir, I was intently listening to nearly your every word during your campaign for the Presidency. I seem to recall your claiming to be a new kind of politician, a supporter of open and honest government, and what many of us females would call an archetypal Knight-on-a-Gallant-Steed President, riding into D.C. to save the day from slimy, self-centered lobbyists and crooked, disingenuous, old-style politicians.
Instead, Barry Honey, you've gotten in bed with the lot of them, and I'm about as disillusioned as an old girl could be.
America seems to have just bought the Money Pit from the slickest, low-down, rotten realtor on earth.
Please say it just ain't so.
Your façade is sharp looking; I'll give you that. But that GQ-cover look you've got going doesn't make up for the fact that real bi-partisanship entails a whole heap more than inviting Republican lawmakers to fancy-shindig cocktail parties and an intimate viewing of the Super Bowl with the Watcher in Chief. When those same lawmakers tried to give you actual bipartisan input, you shushed them with a purely-petulant, "I won." The shutout on ideas was so complete that not a single Republican House member, and a mere three Republican Senators actually voted for this social robbery of a bill. Nancy Pelosi had the gall to lock Republicans out of the drafting of the bill altogether, and you didn't even call her to task for this blatant high-handedness.
So, that bipartisanship you sold was all window-dressing tomfoolery, a house eaten through by termites, all ready to collapse the minute after the votes were counted.
Your pledge to make our government open and transparent is as ramshackle as that false bipartisanship. Lobbyists were given the social robbery bill before legislators. You put such a rush-rush on the 1400 page, $787 billion bill that not a single legislator even bothers to claim he read it before voting on it.
Couldn't our legislators have read the bill while you and Michelle were gadding about in Chicago on the V-Day weekend, then hold the vote on Tuesday?
Did Imperious Nancy need that Roman Holiday on the taxpayer dime more than the public needed a reading of this humongous bill?
Barry Honey, are you sure you're in charge up there? ‘Cause it's starting to look like the women and the subordinates are really calling the shots.
But let's get real, here. It wasn't Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Michelle Obama, David Axelrod or anyone else that made all those highfalutin promises on the campaign trail. The Presidency, according to the Constitution is a one-person, decision-maker job. Yet two of your favorite words, so far, are "task force." If you'll be so kind as to check that November ballot, Barry Honey, I don't think you'll find the name of Task Force anywhere on it. Folks are waiting on that mighty healing touch you've promised for our politics, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting.
And I've a strong suspicion that the words voter backlash are beginning to form in your innermost thoughts on at least an occasional basis.
You promised -- quite explicitly -- that you would post online every single bill passed by the Congress for five whole days before you signed it into law. Now, any way one adds it up, this 1,400 page, biggest-lump-sum- spending bill in the history of these United States was only passed 3 days before it got your Denver-hoopla signature.
Where's the transparency?
Down the Money-Pit hole, apparently.
I've read parts of this bill, and I have to say that when you told the American people during your prime time sales conference that this bill didn't contain an ounce of pork, you either had not read the bill, or you lied. As far as we know, $30 million to restore the wetlands around San Francisco is still in the bill, and at least a large chunk of that will go to one of Imperious Nancy's long-championed, favorite causes: saving the salt marsh harvest mouse. (An earmark by any other name...still an earmark.) And Harry Reid, not to be outdone by Madame Speaker, managed to sneak in $8 billion for modern rail projects, which could be used for one of his own pet projects: to build a 269-mile magnetic levitation train line between Las Vegas and Anaheim, Calif. (If it looks like an earmark, walks like an earmark, quacks like an earmark...it's an earmark.)
The problem with handing over huge sums of taxpayer money to government bureaucrats, who've done not a single thing to earn any of it, is that they tend to squander it on pet projects or give it over the constituency with the loudest voice or the biggest clout, a fact you seemed to acknowledge as bad policy during your campaign. This bill is big on money, honey, and gives extremely short shrift to specificity. None of this lends any credence whatsoever to your campaign promises of honesty and accountability.
Now, Barry Honey, I am loath to call anyone a hypocrite. As you may be aware, there is really nothing on God's earth that Americans hate any worse than a hypocrite - a man who says one thing and then does another. But after four weeks of double-dealing, closed-door meetings, pre-selected questioners at press conferences, exorbitantly priced cocktail parties, failure to give more than a passing fancy to promised bipartisanship, and gadding about on taxpayer dollars during "the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression," every time I see you in public now, I'm seeing a chest-sized, bright-red "H" emblazoned on your GQ shirts.
This has been an inauspicious beginning, to say the least, and the words, "voter backlash," ought to be forming now fast and furious in those innermost thoughts of yours.
You don't want to go down as the worst hypocrite in American history, now do you?
Until our next little chat, Barry Honey, I remain your faithful dissident constituent.
A special tip of my bonnet goes to Dave St. John for supplying the idea for this column.