Monday, April 21, 2008

An Open Letter to President George W. Bush

Dear Mr. President,

How are you? I am fine. I just thought I would write and let you know what I decided to do with the money I’m getting from your Economic Stimulus Package. It felt like the American thing to do.

Originally I thought I was going to have to use my piece of the refund pie to pay off some self-employment tax, but since I wound up with a rebate, I decided to blow some of it by buying a pair of retro Air Jordan IV’s from an e-Bay vendor out of China. I know you’re more of a baseball guy, but the Air Jordan IV’s are the model Michael Jordan was wearing when he hit a mid-range jump shot over Craig Ehlo in Game 5 of the 1989 Eastern Conference first-round series. This was long before Jordan started leading the Bulls to three-peats in the 90’s, and almost a decade before he pushed off of Byron Russell to win the ’98 title over the Jazz. For a long time I have felt like there was something missing in my life—a home, a spouse, children—but now I understand that what I really need are black patent leather mid-tops with a visible air bubble and red trim. So thanks, man.

While I’m at it, I thought I would include some suggestions for stuff you can work on while you’re still President. If you had faked your death sometime after 9/11 and hung out with Elvis and Wilt Chamberlain the rest of your life, your legacy would be pretty set. But since we don’t know how this whole Iraq thing is going to pan out in the long run, it might be smart to get a few more steaks on the grill, so to speak.

Here are my ideas:

1. Grow a soul patch.

It’s been a long time since the days when Abraham Lincoln made his mark on the Presidency with a sweet Amish-style beard. Facial hair has been a rarity for a President since then. So why not break the mold a bit and grow a fly soul patch? It wouldn’t be too over the top like mutton chops, but it would still say, “hey, I’m leader of the free world, plus I like to get my groove on.” It's done wonders for Howie Mandel's career. Can’t lose with a soul patch.

2. Get Led Zeppelin to do a reunion tour.

I’ve found over the years that if your own personal approval ratings are suffering, it’s good to latch yourself on to someone who is really popular, because that association makes people like you, too. No one would care if you helped put together an Eagles’ reunion, because only half of their songs are any good, but everyone likes Led Zeppelin. They played a reunion concert a few months ago across “the pond” in England—they’re British, you see—but that was just a one-shot deal, and now their lead singer is on some folk tour with Allison Krauss. If you could convince him to hook up with Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones again (their original drummer is dead, but his kid is pretty good), America would always remember you as the President that got Led Zeppelin back together again, and you would always be cool. Or better yet, you could start your own band, and then people could say, "well, I don't know that I agree with some of his foreign policy decisions, but his band rocked."

3. Make treadmills illegal.

I was thinking about this whole “legalize marijuana” thing, and I realized that when people want to legalize something that is bad for them, they always argue that if you don’t legalize it everyone will do it anyway, only they will use unsafe methods to do so. But I think there’s a big psychological thing going on here, and I think that maybe if we made something illegal that was good for the American people, we might be able to really help some folks out. If we made treadmills illegal, people would start buying them on the black market like crazy and store them in their basements. Then in the dark of night, America would be working hard on its obesity crisis instead of watching TV. Local gyms could set up secret “Treadmill Clubs” that would only be available to those in the know, and if single guys like me met girls there, we would score double points because they would think we’re health conscious and we’re the “bad boy”. You wouldn’t have to step up law enforcement, because you’d really want people to use treadmills, and people are less angry at the government when they think they are getting away with something. It’s a win-win.

4. Build a friggin’ high tower someplace.

I for one am getting tired of hearing about how some ultra-rich prince in some foreign country is trying to build the tallest building in the world with my gas money. That totally sucks. If we are truly the world’s only superpower (other than the emerging People’s Republic of China, which is Communist, or at least “Communist-Lite” if you consider their whole economic thing), we should have the tallest building in the world. Nuts to this “mile-high tower in Dubai” thing. I don’t even care if we just stick some high-rise rollercoaster in Iowa somewhere, America needs the “tallest manmade structure” title.

5. Get Giordano’s to open a pizzeria in Utah.

I’ve already gone over this in a previous letter, but in spite of verbal eloquence and rising blog traffic numbers, no one from Giordano’s ever got back to me. So now I turn to you. Mr. President, the pizza in Utah blows. We’ve got tons of good places to eat like Red Iguana and Q4U, but when it comes to pizza, the closest thing we’ve got is a place out in Holladay called Gepetto’s, which has great Calzones, but still comes up short when compared to the deep-dish goodness of a Chicago original. I keep hearing that Giordano’s could never open a location in Utah because the crust would never rise properly at our elevation in the midst of the Rocky Mountains, but I think that’s bull. If we can make DVD players that know when to bleep out F-bombs and naked bits, we can make a deep-dish pizza in Zion.

6. Build tons of roundabouts.

It will take a while for everyone out here in Utah to get adjusted, because my fellow drivers are among the most oblivious on the planet, but I think if there’s one thing we really need to emulate about Europe (as opposed to Health Care and an occasional habit of getting overrun by Nazi’s), it is the roundabout. The day of the four-way stop is over. I live right next to a five-way stop, and it’s horrible to get through because everyone sits around looking for someone else to go, until someone finally decides to just hit the gas even if they were the last person to get to the intersection, just because they’re tired of sitting around while some soccer mom in an inexplicably pimped-out Cadillac Escalade tries to figure out if she should wait because the person across the way got there first or if she should go because she is to the right of the other guy, and she could swear that in Driver’s Ed they said something about the dude on the right having the right of way, or maybe it was “choose the right when a choice is placed before you”, or maybe that other guy should have just gone instead of sitting there texting smiley-face logos to some girl he was after but has no chance with because he should really play hard to get because that in the long run is much more appealing in a socio-cultural structure that favors traditional male-female dating roles and makes the male more attractive in an unattainable, “bad boy” way, which would be all the more complete if he were to buy an illegal treadmill.

7. Break off and form your own political party.

One of the coolest Presidents ever was Teddy Roosevelt (who also had facial hair, by the way). One of the reasons he was so cool was that he started his own political party. Not only that, but he gave it a killer name: The Bull Moose Party. Nobody really knows what they stood for, but they remember the name, and they remember the man. So really, what can the Republican Party do for you now? Why not distinguish yourself as an innovator? You could call it “The Super Friends”, or “G-Man and the G-Men”, or “The Rolling Stones.” Tons of good options here.

8. Annex Mexico.

So you rubbed a lot of people the wrong way when you tried to pass off that “it’s not amnesty, but it’s really amnesty” deal for illegal immigrants. Let’s face it, it’s a problem that isn’t going to get any easier, and it’s probably a problem that won’t be solved without making someone feel put out. That’s why I say, if everyone in Mexico is so desperate to come to America, why not bring America to them? And I don’t mean let’s go build a McDonald’s in Chihuahua or open a Ford plant in Mexico City; let’s make Mexico a state. Yeah, you’d probably rub big business the wrong way, but let’s be serious’re a lame duck president…what do you need big business for anymore? The next six months are the only opportunity you will have to just let it ride, baby. So cash in while you can.

9. Make sure McCain picks a good VP.

You’ve already made a formal endorsement of Senator John McCain for President, so now what you need to do is make sure he picks someone good as a running mate. See, John McCain has lots of experience, but he’s really old, and if he gets elected all we’re going to hear are re-hashed Dick Cheney heart attack jokes for four years. So I’d make sure he snags someone young and good-looking, who wouldn’t cause people to panic if he chokes on a Chili Dog.

Here’s my short list:

Mitt Romney

Pro: He’s got an extensive economic success record, which would be critical in lieu of the recent housing crisis. Plus he’s LDS and he’s got great hair, so he’s got the honesty thing and the Reagan thing all locked up.

Con: He can be a little slow on the uptake sometimes, like when his kid prank calls him using sound bites from Arnold Schwartzenegger. But then again, that’s why you guys pick advisors, right?

Samuel L. Jackson

Pro: Unlike Bill Cosby or Colin Powell, Samuel L. Jackson is a cool black guy that no one will ever accuse of selling out to the Republican Party. So you’ve got that diversity thing, plus a guy that no one wants to mess with. Honestly, if you were Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and you had to sit across the negotiating table from Julius from “Pulp Fiction”, would you feel cocky?

Con: There’s no real downside here.

Kate Beckinsale

Pro: If good looks are a bonus for the guy candidates, imagine what it would do for a female candidate. Plus Beckinsale is already married, so I wouldn’t have to worry about her schedule being too busy for us to ever date or anything.

Con: She’s British, but I don’t know if there’s any rule against a foreign person being the Vice President, and she had a pretty decent American accent in “Pearl Harbor”—real patriotic movie!—anyway.

10. Drill for oil in Alaska.

So this gas thing is killing me, man…seriously. It doesn’t make any difference to go to Maverick and use my Adventure Club Card anymore. The big problem as I see it is that we keep depending on foreign oil to gas up our Humvee’s (our watered-down, consumer-friendly Humvee’s, anyway), and as long as that’s the case we’re going to be tied down to manipulative speculation and a region of the world where most people are flat-out crazy. So I say let’s nail Alaska. For one, the place is huge (you need to look at it on a real globe, cause the little cut-away illustration on paper maps—the one next to Hawaii—doesn’t do it justice), and we could still preserve tons of space to just sit around and be natural. No one lives up there other than salmon fisherman—their only basketball player plays for the Jazz now—and they would probably appreciate a second gig drilling oil during the off-season. Think of it, if we started producing our own oil, then by November, you could call a big meeting with all the oil barons from Saudi Arabia and Iran and Venezuela, then five minutes into the conference, you could stand up and say, “suck on this, amigos”, give them the double-bird and walk away from the table. That would be the coolest thing ever.

So there you go, sir…ten relatively easy ways to ensure that the Bush Jr. Administration leaves a positive mark on American history. It will take some time to work out the rest of the stuff, but if you pull off at least three or four of my ideas, you’re guaranteed to be in the top 50% of all-time Commander-in-Chief’s at least. And you’ll be way cooler than Jimmy Carter.



PS: Say hi to Condi for me.