[editor's note: it is supposed on the part of the writer that everyone is well and truly tired of his little "New Federalist Party" pipe dream sequence. The reader who perseveres and reads on to the end is promised that he or she will emerge a better person: the testing of one's patience can only make one stronger.]
Sitting, for the first time as an official member of the press corps [hereafter pronounced "Press Corpse"--ed.] for a State of the Union address, I was naturally a little anxious. At the inauguration, the president in question had simply read Thomas Jefferson's inaugural address. Most Americans, of course, had no idea. But this was different. With the State of the Union, one always has to wonder if the SNL version will trump it. And naturally, I wondered how my fellow journalists would react when I vomited at the 100th mandatory applause. These events had become a shameless clap-fest for party shills, and I was honestly nauseated at the thought of it. The sushi consumed at lunch had been expensive, and I didn't want to lose it. Luckily for everyone involved, the nation's first New Federalist President allayed my fear with her/his first sentence . . .
My Fellow Americans, the remainder of my speech tonight will be addressed almost entirely to you, but first let me address the assembled senators and congresspeople for just a second: I wonder if you'll all do me the favor of refraining from applause until the end, if not entirely. I don't believe the purpose of this forum is for the President to bolster the approval rating. And I'm secure enough with my self esteem to get by without the faux adulation of a bunch of glad handing bureaucrats who think their job consists of running for re-election. Most of you are not of my party anyway, and it would most likely be a little awkward for you, wondering when, or if, to applaud, and how long, or how loud. So let's forget about whatever directives your party bosses sent out in whatever memo and just turn off the applause sign for tonight. Let's get the people back to their regularly scheduled program, OK? Thanks.
Rhetorically speaking, I'm going to make a bit of a sandwich for you and slip the bad news between a couple thin slices of delicious, low-carb good news. And yes, there is good news. We all still live in the beautiful country that invented Freedom. It may be hanging by a thread, but we still have our Constitution--the most efficiently noble, and nobly efficient legal document ever conceived. Look around and you will see a wide variety of great, free people with infinite potential. We live in the most prosperous, and the most generous, country that was ever conceived. I'm not just spewing platitudes here. I think we need to be reminded from time to time that this nation is not a jumble of problems for some politician to solve. The biggest problems were solved in advance by our Founders. And that, my friends, is a beautiful thing. Of course, there is other good news that is more proximate. By bringing nearly all military personnel home to protect our own shores, we have made friends and taken billions of dollars out of the next budget before we even make it. By eliminating all foreign aid, we have made a few old friends angry, but with the same wonderful fiscal result. I hope I don't need to point out that as soon as we are out of debt, we look forward to being able to help struggling nations again. Anybody who only loved us for our money wasn't much of a friend at any rate, so to hell with them. While I'm on the subject of saving money, I hope you don't mind if I brag just a little bit. I have to say: cancelling the lavish inauguration festivities and giving the money to the National Endowment for the Arts and a host of reputable charities was pretty cool. I'm sorry if it made EVERY SINGLE PRESIDENT BEFORE ME EXCEPT JEFFERSON look like a complete ass. I'm kidding. Sort of. Anyway, let's hope this sets a precedent that others will follow. The idea of throwing million dollar parties for an employee who hasn't even had one real day on the job is simply ridiculous.
Now the bad news. I'm not going to varnish this. I am getting a ton of pressure, from angles I could not have conceived of, to act in ways that are contrary to the aforementioned Constitution. I got death threats when I tried audit the Fed. I get a real cold shoulder from democrats and republicans who think I'm screwing with their power base by turning things like welfare and abortion and gun control and education entirely over to the states, and by refusing to sign anything with an earmark in it. Sorry, but I just didn't want to be one of those presidents who promises to end earmarks and then signs record numbers of them into law. And you'd be surprised how angry people get when you start actually eliminating bureaucratic waste instead of just talking about it. In short, this job is a good deal more difficult than I imagined; and the timeline we posted is turning out to be fairly unrealistic. Gridlock, it turns out, is not so much a function of feuding political parties as it is the lovechild of a bureaucracy trying desperately to justify and perpetuate itself. I'm not giving up. No way. But you might have to wait a year or two before we can actually eliminate the IRS, or pass real Tort reform, or reduce the size of government until the national debt actually begins to shrink. For the moment we are still flushing millions of dollars of down the toilet of cronyism and sloth. I'm sorry about that. I can see now, at least partially, why nearly every president from Nixon to Obama promised responsibility and was, at least partially, unable to deliver. That said, we must not let my predecessors off the hook; and I hope you will hold me to my promises.
The other bad news is that there are bad people in this country. They are few, but they are powerful. They live by violence and theft. They have always been there and no one can eliminate them. I thought we could stop their political non identical twins, but I wonder now if I was wrong. I speak of the growing segment of the population who remain convinced that the world owes them a living. They think Freedom means they can sit around and get fat on someone else's dime. Though they might claim to despise their more violent kin, they continue to think that government of the people and by the people and for the people should be able to do things to some of the people that we would never let people do to each other. They think they can harm the person or property of others, as long as they do so indirectly, and they have found loopholes in our law that protect them. I don't know what to do about these idiots as long as there are politicians who rely on their support. I am stymied by individuals who think themselves compassionate because they perpetuate helplessness with other people's money, who have convinced themselves that there is nobility in forcing others to help. I don't know what to do about people who get angry because I propound undeniably true statements like "Stupid should hurt."
So, to sum up: We are in debt up to our earlobes. In fact the whole budget and the process by which it is made is corrupt. The noble and great in our society are being undermined by an ever growing contingent of the lazy and the stupid and the vulgar. There remain among us the violent, the ugly and the foolish, who live to undermine not only the prosperous, but also the merely unfortunate who might actually benefit from a little help. Politicians have grown fat and sassy pretending that a government program could eliminate either of these demographics. Furthermore, our government is diametrically opposed to change, and may even be incapable of real efficiency. I used to take hope in the idea that an inefficient government can't really oppress the people. But I've come to know that inefficiency is its own special kind of oppression. What can I say? You didn't hire me to blow sunshine up your skirt.
I know this sounds depressing. But let me end on a positive note. I may not know exactly what to say or do about the sad people I have mentioned. But I do know I will never apologize for offending them, even if it means I will never be elected to public office again. And I will try not to let their insidious philosophy get in the way of my belief that every human soul inherits nobility, and the capacity to achieve greatness. I will hold tenaciously to my understanding that an individual cannot truly grasp freedom to achieve without also taking a firm grip of the responsibility for failure. Every person within the sound of my voice can trust this: my administration will leave this government, more efficient, less invasive, and more bound to the constitution than we found it. To what degree we succeed may be in question. But giving up is not an option.
So the State of the Union is as follows: We are saving money and streamlining all we can at the federal level. We are trying our damnedest to turn power over to the various States of the Union. In an environment drunk with its own power, we are dedicated to a process which, though it may have more than twelve steps, will result in a people, and, by extension, a government, that has the serenity to accept the things it cannot change, the courage to change the things it can, and the wisdom to know the difference. I look forward to working with the legislators around me towards concrete goals that embody this philosophical premise. The modest success we have had so far indicates, in my very humble opinion, a very positive state of the union.
Thanks for listening. Let's get to work.
Maybe they were glad it was over. Maybe they were surprised at the brevity. But the applause of the assembled legislators was instantaneous and loud. It went on until it blended with the sound of the de-tuned radio static blaring in the car. The light turned green and I drove on.