By Jack Engelhard
Obama Never Wanted To Be President. He Just Wanted To Be Loved.
The Stimulus Bill weighs in at 1,588 pages – not exactly a page turner. The same lawmakers who wrote this heavyweight boondoggle, and voted for it, never read it, and that’s why there’s all this amazement about those bonuses for AIG. Nobody knows what’s in this package, except for $850 BILLION of our money that’s going, going, gone.
According to my calculations, that’s one thousand dollars per word, or maybe a million dollars per page. That’s a writer’s dream.
Mark Twain got a nickel a word and Ernest Hemingway maybe a dime or a quarter.
“Moby Dick” runs 464 pages. On those rates (if he were writing for Congress) Herman Melville would have died wealthy instead of poor, or started the novel with, “Call me Rich,” instead of Ishmael. “War and Peace” ends at page 1,296. Using the same math, Leo Tolstoy died poor for no reason except for the fact that he wrote novels instead of legislation.
(How do I get in on this?)
I actually heard three senators say that they never read the bill, that, indeed, nobody in Congress read the small print or even the BIG PRINT. Nada.
But they voted for it because Obama and Pelosi wanted it done now! Pelosi was especially hot for this. This lady has access to our entire treasury; that’s like giving me, a chocoholic, the keys to Hershey, Pennsylvania. Yum yum. Now, when it’s too late, they’re trying to ACTUALLY READ what they wrote and what they passed.
For the record, the Stimulus Bill was passed February 13, 2009; 246 Democrats in the House voted yes, seven voted no. Republicans voted zero. At the moment, however, we’re still in the dark as to what’s in this bill and what exactly we’re getting for our money — $850 BILLION. Nobody knows what bangs we get for our bucks – least of all our lawmakers.
There’s something in all this that smacks of amateur hour. People, for gosh sakes, spend more time making the next move in the board game “Monopoly” than it took to get this legislation on and off the floor. I hate to put the knock on President Obama. I may not have been his biggest fan at the start but he is our president and he deserves some slack. Besides, electing our first African American to the presidency glorifies this nation.
At the same time – as I continue to contradict myself – why the rush? Obama pretty much arm-twisted the Congress to get this done and never mind the details – don’t ask questions, just sign on the dotted line, which Congress did. This re-defines don’t ask-don’t tell, except that the public – We, The Taxpayers – want the telling.
Now Obama is back on the campaign trail, spending an hour with Jay Leno. It’s my guess that Obama never wanted to be president, he just wanted to be loved. Those campaign stops all across the country (and even in Europe), where the multitudes cheered him and adored him – how he must long for those days! What went wrong?
He became president, his first mistake. Any man who takes this office is asking for trouble. Just ask George W. Bush. The trouble began as soon as he – Obama – took his first seating in the Oval Office. No more campaigning as the outsider with thousands chanting. “Yes We Can.” (You mean, we can’t?) Time to get down to business — the business of running the United States of America.
That’s no fun. Campaigning is fun. Germany is fun. Jay Leno is fun. Can’t we keep on doing this (Obama must be asking)? Do we actually have to worry about DETAILS? In the movie, “The Candidate,” Robert Redford plays the candidate Bill McKay (by coincidence a liberal in the grip of a political machine). After all the blood, sweat and finagling – he finally gets elected to the Senate. He’s a winner!
Outside, as throngs cheer his triumph, Redford (McKay) secludes himself and, quite baffled and dejected, asks: “What do we do now?”
Novelist Jack Engelhard, author of the novel “Indecent Proposal” and most recently “The Bathsheba Deadline,” can be reached at his website www.jackengelhard.com