Here's a good one from Mark Morford, one of the best wits out there, who writes for the San Francisco Chronicle.
11 Hard Questions for the President (my half remembering of the title, probably not the exact one that Morford entitled his piece).
In which our columnist sits down with the prez for some truly tough talk. Can Dubya handle it?
By Mark Morford, San Francisco Chronicle
Thank you for your time, Mr. President.
Just a few questions, purely for clarification, so the American people might understand you better. I know you're busy, packing for another vacation or something. This won't take but a few minutes. Here, have a soda. Let's begin:
1) Mr. President, if a train leaves San Francisco at 10 am carrying 1,000 happily gay happily married couples and travels at 85 mph for three hours, while at the very same moment a train departs Crawford, Texas, loaded with 2,000 vaguely miserable Christian fundamentalists and nail-wearing fanatics of "The Passion of the Christ" and travels in exactly the opposite direction at 65 mph for the same amount of time, at what point will almost every single fundamentalist secretly wish s/he could be the towel boy for the hot-tub parties on the other train?
2) Dubya, as you're apparently comfortable with the fact that more than 700 young U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq (over 125 this month alone!) and thousands more have been wounded and hundreds more will doubtlessly die in the coming months, not to mention the countless thousands of innocent Iraqi/Afghan civilians who've been killed, all as a result of your aggro-American policy to rid the world of all those who would stand in the way of your oily corporate stratagems, does this mean you are able to laugh in the face of death and mock the vagaries of time and fate?
Are you able, in other words, to transcend the physical body and the ego and attain a superhuman spiritual mastery of the earthly form? Are you a god? Or just a petty and small-minded warmonger controlled by thin-lipped master puppeteers? Did I just answer my own question?
3) You are called by God. You believe you are the chosen one. The Lord Himself has happily green-lighted your decisions to bomb the living crap out of pip-squeak and nearly defenseless nations for decreasingly justifiable reasons. You are born-again, re-sobered, a former hardcore binge drinker and rumored huge fan of various illegal substances back in college, and you had at least one DUI arrest and went AWOL from the National Guard, and you've stashed away from public view all records of both your tenure as Texas governor, and those SEC investigations into your alleged insider trading. You are a failed oilman and a failed businessman and have been spoon-fed your entire career.
So then: Do you sleep peacefully at night, or do your dreams involve small armies of angry sharp-toothed fairies, tearing you limb from limb and sucking the pith from your withered soul while they casually erase your entire portfolio as you scream, silently, unable to move due to all the leeches? Don't bother answering. Your expression says it all.
4) Nearly 1 million radiant women marched and sang and chanted in front of your very own office in Washington, D.C., just recently, angrily protesting your ongoing antichoice efforts to hack away at women's reproductive rights. This was so important to you that you were, meanwhile, up to your cute monkey ears in pink bubbles in your favorite bathtub at Camp David, taking yourself yet another completely undeserved mini retreat and shrugging off the protest as you further locked in your ranking as the most-vacationed president in U.S. history.
Now, then: Would you, or would you not, allow your famed party-girl daughter Jenna to take RU-486 were she to "make a mistake" with one of the Young Republicans at an all-night beer-bong bash at Sigma Alpha Delta?
5) You have a secret, Dubya. Deep down, you really don't know the difference between Fallujah and a fajita. Shiites and Baathists? Sound vaguely familiar to your twangy Texas ear, reminding you of what you holler when you stub your toe and fall into the mud at the ranch: "Shee-yite! Now I need another bubble baath." That joke always cracks you up.
This gul-dang Iraq mess has turned far more complicated and nasty and primal than Uncle Dick ever warned you it might. Don't you wish you were back at Yale, hammered on rum and Cokes and dreamin' 'bout baseball and playin' Go Fish with Dad? Can you point to North Korea on a map? How about Vietnam? Never mind.
6) A recent NASA satellite survey of the Arctic has revealed that the temperature increase there over the past 20 years is a whopping eight times higher than the total rise recorded over the past century. That is to say, Shrub, that global warming is more obvious and deadly than ever and there are reams of published studies proving that it's no longer a looming threat, but, rather, a present and lethal event happening right now, and the only quasi-scientist who denies the whole thing is your own White House lackey.
So, then, as you were gleefully easing all the laws regulating the nation's biggest industrial polluters and accepting cigars and gobs of campaign cash from those crony CEOs, which of their punch lines did you like best? "Don't spend it all in one place"? "Don't let it burn a hole in yer pocket"? or "Now go buy yerself sumthin' purty"?
7) Hindus practice nonviolence. Buddhists practice egolessness and nonbeing. True Christians practice deep love and acceptance. Sufi masters practice enlightenment through whirling mystical transcendence. Pagans practice veneration for the earth and the divine feminine.
Whereas many born-again Christians, well, you tend to practice the belief that all other beliefs are damned and sinful and deserving of much scorn and derision and possible military shelling. Do you know what God really thinks of you, Dubya? Let me help you with this one: She doesn't, much.
8) Your résumé of accomplishments is the most embarrassing and humiliating of any president in U.S. history. Examples: You know full well you gouged the hell out of the elderly over Medicare. You cut benefits for war veterans at the very same time you were busy waging a whole new war. Under your watch, 3 million Americans lost their jobs, you bankrupted the Treasury, the deficit skyrocketed, the U.N. became irrelevant and you set the record for government-spending increases. Oh, and your environmental record is the worst of any president in American history.
So, a philosophical question: Which best describes your approach? Is it willful ignorance, like the Creationists? The Buddhist notion of (bad) karma? Descarte's mistrust of the flawed human senses? Or the Sartre concept of the petty bourgeoisie (that's you, Shrub), who wake up at 50 just in time to watch themselves die? All of the above?
9) The Distillers or Yeah Yeah Yeahs? Sammy Hagar or David Lee Roth? Rostropovich or Fournier? Dylan: acoustic or electric? Hangar One or Grey Goose? Astroglide or Liquid Silk? Small of back or nape of neck? Tattoos or nipple rings? Why is Shania Twain famous? When will Fiona return to blow away Norah and Avril and Michelle?
Why, Dubya, are you so obviously, painfully detached from modern culture and society? Why are you such an intellectual and spiritual alien, unreachable by the countless millions who find nourishment in art and music and sex and creative juice? All answers count as one.
10) Astronomers have recently discovered that not only is the universe expanding at a mind-boggling rate, but this expansion is actually accelerating, propelled by an astounding and mysterious force called dark energy that pushes the boundaries of our universe outward faster and faster and baffles the world's greatest minds and throws into question our most basic understanding of gravity and space/time and the galaxy and our place in it.
I don't really have a question here. Just wanted to point out your ultimate, staggering smallness, relatively speaking.
11) Some believe the mind and body are merely rote machines, Dubya, ugly dumb congestions of cells and carbon and water and electric impulses whose only real purpose is raw animal survival and desperate procreation until death and decay and nothingness.
Others believe the human animal is a potent divine vehicle, that this flesh is merely how our ageless, formless spirit experiences density, and that we are here, in short, to learn mandatory messy earthbound information and then merge what we learn with the Great Mystery.
This is the last question, Shrub, and perhaps the most important of all: What will your contribution be? With what sort of divine openness and creative energy are you choosing to pass through this world? What will you lay at the feet of the divine besides a small mountain of dead bodies and an oil-rich stock portfolio?
Thank you for your time, Mr. President. Enjoy your vacation.
©2004 SF Gate