Obama Wants to Be a Millionaire

In Eternal Corporatehood, Good in the Hood?, Mortal Personhood, Patient, Waiting on April 11, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Free Lunch, Charles Dana Gibson, 1911

Jon Jost correctly points out in his comment to Krugman’s, “The President is Missing” that President Obama is but a pawn in the con game of our politics.  The President is missing:  all the answers to what should be easy questions.

Once a large enough audience was amassed under the auspices of a down-to-the-wire government shutdown battle, the presidential version of  “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” could commence.  MC’d by a press hot enough only to produce waffles, who warns the public to stay back lest they burn their fingers (in the form of helpful rejections of comment posts), they write questions bland enough to please all their corporate sponsors,  but spicy enough to try to conceal the fact that the show is but an afterthought to the centerpiece of the commercials.

Presidents from McKinley to Hoover have tried, and now Obama thinks he has a shot.  The first softball toss is:  Is confidence on Main St. the same thing as confidence on Wall St.?   The audience, not comprised of sponsors, but working people feeling the effects of 20 years’ “wageless” recovery, starts screaming, “NO! NO! NO!!!”

The President tilts his ear like something is tickling it, but his eyes barely register concern with all the noise in the room.  He calmly presses the buzzer, dazzles MC Steve Doocy from FOX news with his million dollar smile, and says, ” Yes! Certainly they are indistinguishable, Steve.  I can elaborate with an essay answer about all the ways investor confidence is the engine of this country, with peripheral generalizations about hard-working Americans and running cars into ditches…”

“No, no, thank you, Mr. President…we’re just trying to get you warmed up here…Next question, Which historical strategy is best for America to tighten its belt today?  1) Hoover: Liquidate! Liquidate! Liquidate 2) McKinely: Pro-Tariff Republicans to restore a gold standard   3) Reagan: marginal tax rates up to 50%  4) FDR: creation of WPA programs to  counteract private sector unemployment and low consumer demand.”

The audience screams incoherent answers, but there is a loud chorus demanding 4! 4! with a smaller sector for 3….The President is looking genuinely confused, even alarmed…he was reflexively going for answer 3, with the mellifluous ring of Reagan’s mere name in his ears…but halted when he heard taxes.
“You have one lifeline left.  We force that lifeline to be Donald Trump, and we have him on the line now if you want advice,” Steve helpfully offers.

“Well, might as well take the call, since, after all, he is one of those millionaires I aspire to be…”

“Pres O, my man, The Donald says 1 and The Donald has spoken.  If you don’t choose 1, you will regret it,” intones Trump.

This sends the audience going wild screaming 4, 4 , 4, drowning out all other cries…The President now has a confident smile, crisply dings the buzzer, and sings, “1, Steve, the answer is 1!  Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate! I had a moment of hesitation there…but, I’m not used to being in public this long without a teleprompter, you know…”

“O.K., great going, Mr. President!  Keep in mind, this is a tough question, and you have no lifelines left.

Who should go to jail as a scapegoat so the rest of America’s executives can swim in pools of cash without impediment?  1) Bernie Madoff 2) Philippe Dauman 3) Jeff Immelt  4) Ian J. McCarthy” (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/10/business/10comp.html?scp=2&sq=executive%20pay&st=cse) and (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/10/business/10gret.html?pagewanted=2&sq=executive%20pay&st=cse&scp=5)
“Well, Bernie’s already in jail, and still the Taibi’s of the world are looking for bigger quarry.  Jeff’s busy creating jobs for Americans overseas.  Or maybe it is jobs he, the American, oversees, for anyone overseas who wants to apply for dual citizenship so the U.S. can lower its unemployment numbers without having to actually hire anyone.  That’s imagination at work for you!  Philippe should be my next donor target after Blankfein, uh, I mean, these are my good friends, and I need to treat them well…So, I don’t care what anyone says!  4 it is.  I never heard of him anyway.  4 is my final answer!”

“Great answer! You are correct!  Just throw ’em enough red meat every once in awhile,  although something still has to be done about all those unruly states’ attorney generals…

O.K., let’s wrap this up with the final question.  Even though you’ve answered all the questions correctly thus far, you forfeit your right to compete, and  will walk away with nothing if you get this question wrong.  All your previous correct answers simply entitled you to answer this question:

Should the entire budget hinge on Title X funding?  1) No, that is a miniscule dollar amount, but elimination of health services and family planning creates an undue burden on millions of cash-strapped families in a sheer ideological war against women.  2) Yes it should!  Those feminists ought to go back to burning their bras, not wearing make-up or shaving their legs if they need birth control.  It will create abstinence-only by default, problem solved.  If they want to dress up like conservative marms, they will be treated like them, and their place is still barefoot and pregnant.”

“Well, being no drama Obama, I can’t stoop to the distasteful partisan political rhetoric of answer #2.   I thought “cash-strapped” was a term that could only apply to companies, but my answer is 1.  1 is my final answer.”

“Well, Mr. President, the good news is, you lost.  Because you know if you had won, we would have found a technicality and not given you the prize money anyway.  Now you save us the trouble!”

“Well, Steve, I just have to tell you: you have been such a gracious host, and in return for me taking up so much of your time today, I want to extend an offer to you of $10 million dollars!  I may not be able to pay it all at once, but I  am sure Malia and Sasha wouldn’t mind washing dishes for the rest of their lives if I don’t manage to come up with some creative financing. ”

“Oh, Mr. President, you just take your time getting your powder dry.  That sounds like a delightful offer, as long as we can get a few more cabinet posts.  Without them, I’m afraid you might need to come up with $100 million, or else you might find yourself in an environment that is difficult to navigate.”

“Sure, Steve…Listen, I just want to say to the American people:  You all are great! I love you! I love you! You just tell me, in what other nation on Earth could so many people spend their precious few moments of free time trying to make ONE guy rich, while ignoring hundreds of millions of people around them dying in squalor and poverty?
Where else can you have people willing to dine on right-wing garbage night after night as if were a gourmet meal?

Where else can you have so few people who see that the two parties are deeply, madly, truly ONE?   One corporatist party every bit as thuggish as a Mubarak regime?   After all, if both parties weren’t one, how could I be The One?  or  The Won?  After all “The Won One” is really just the same corporatist mask with hundreds of different flavors to try to win over whatever the historical swing vote happens to be at the time….Catholics, Blacks, Jews, Gays, Hispanics, Women, etc…  We aren’t kidding when we say Obamabots….Looking next for a Buddhist Chinese Male running with a Gay Latina to carry on the corporate mission statement of the United Corporation of The World, where you should never forget only corporations have person-hood, eternal person-hood, to which people are just mere figments of the Corporate Gods’ all-consuming greed which must be continuously fed at all costs, though the earth may perish in a ball of radiation and CO2 first.

But there will never be a  primary challenge because people can’t get past the primary challenge of seeing someone who is on the exact same level economically to disparage and ridicule.   You’ve always got to make things personal, so that disputes are always about personality, never about policy.  Get young so mad at old, right at left, urban at rural, that people think they are fulminating at each other in the voting booths, when really they are just maintaining the corporate coup and transferring 80 years of prosperity right back to the greedy little hands of the oligarchs they worked so hard to pry it from in the last Robber Baron age.  Amazing how they duck when we say socialist, and cover when we say healthcare, over and over again!

That’s all just confidential, between us, sorry to go on so long. We all know there’s no such thing as a free lunch for our school children, only for the corporate robbers who walk free, while petty criminals behind bars in some cases get better tax-funded, socialist healthcare than those unlucky souls who are paying off $500,000 in medical bills garnished even from their social security checks.  God bless America!  Land of Plenty of Filthy Rich!  God Bless! God Bless!”

Steve gets the final word of the night: “Yes, Mr. President, I couldn’t have said it better myself…as long as we can get people of all religions, all races, all creeds, genders and locales to ask, ‘Who wants to be a millionaire?’ it will never occur to them to ask, ‘Why aren’t a few thousand more millionaires in jail?'”


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