February 3, 2009--Washington, DC (AP)
Amid the snow and ice, a gaggle of White House reporters gathered in DC's Malcolm X park to witness Presidential history being made. Having lived in DC for far too long, the press corps lacked the prerequisite "flinty Chicago toughness" and soon grumbled to leave. However, the record they were about to see smashed was not a formidable one, though it has stood since the Truman administration.
The new president stepped to the free-throw line at the park's asphalt basketball court and sunk bucket after bucket with a hardened, slick ball. The press corps, Secret Service, and gathering crowd of spectators soon marveled at President Obama's efficiency and poise as he drained 273 consecutive free throws, smashing President Truman's previous record of 12 set on August 9, 1945.
As is often the case, President Obama was humble in the face of this historic accomplishment. "Really," the President said, "I must thank Bill Bradley for this day. If it weren't for my trying to top his Senatorial record of 553 [consecutive free throws], I don't know if I could've ever overcome President Truman's formidable record. The credit really goes to Bill."
However, Obama's triumph and ice cream social were cut short as news broke of Tom Daschle's withdrawing his name for consideration for Secretary of Health and Human Services. With a burgeoning tax scandal looming over his head, Daschle decided that his nomination was too much of a distraction for the new administration. His withdrawal threw Washington into a tizzy--as everyone expected him to weather this storm and become the new head of HHS--causing yet another scandal within the new administration.
Quickly, President Obama went into action, shedding his sweaty gym clothes, grabbing a shower back at 1600, and calling in reporters to explain his actions. It is with these words to Fox News's Chris Wallace that the new POTUS once again broke a presidential record:
"I mean, I think that Tom took responsibility for the mistake on his taxes. I think it was an honest mistake and I made the assessment — I made the judgment — that he was the best person to achieve health care reform and bring people together.
But, you know, what became clear to me is that we can't send a message to the American people that we got two sets of rules: one for prominent people and one for ordinary people. And you know, so I consider this a mistake on my part, and one that I intend to fix and correct and make sure that we're not screwing up again."
On February 7, 1984, President Ronald Reagan claimed full responsibility for sending the Marines into Lebanon only to withdraw them after a suicide bomber killed over 200 American soldiers. Only days before, Reagan presciently said, "If we do [cut and run], we'll be sending one signal to terrorists everywhere: They can gain by waging war against innocent people." While never quite claiming defeat, Reagan told the American people that if there were any person to blame for the Lebanon debacle it was him and that he took all the blame.
Not since that day in 1984 has a single President taken blame for a single mishap, mistake, or wrongdoing committed by himself or his officers. From "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" to the ubiquitous W. Bush claims of "mistakes were made," there has not been one mea culpa issues from the Oval Office in over four administrations. This streak of 9,127 days of denial has far outstripped the previous record of Ulysses S. Grant's denial of the Whiskey Ring scandal. That lack of culpability only lasted some 3,653 days.
Reached for comment at Dupont Circle's Subairi Salon, TV historian Michael Beschloss noted with his trademark wry grin: "While this may indeed be a sad day for American politics, it is also a great day for the American Presidency. 'The Streak,' as it were, has lasted for far too long. While President Obama may not be able to 'change the tone in Washington,' we might see him actually bring at least an ounce of credibility and responsibility back into the political process. How's my hair?"
His hair fine, Beschloss then went on, "Team of Rivals, my ass. I made that--!!!"
Neither President Bushes were available for comment. However, we did catch up to President Clinton on his way back from Davos, Switzerland. Clearly, he was disappointed in seeing "The Streak" end. The President said, ruefully, "Hillary would've kept it alive," before he rejoined his Saudi entourage.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
February 3, 2009--Washington, DC (AP)