Saturday, February 11, 2006


Today I read that several nations are interested in sending people to the moon. Two years ago, operatives from the Bush administration said the president was going to announce a new moon mission as part of the '04 campaign. As it turns out, it never became at major plank of Bush's reelection campaign, but he managed to get a second term anyway.

But before any of that happened, I wrote a column for the Daily Sundial on the subject. When it hit print, some guy wrote me a letter saying I was a part of an evil cabal that included the New York Times and Michael Moore. In honor of that writer, I offer this piece from the archives...

(January 24, 2004)

It’s campaign season again, and that means it’s time for our leaders and perspective leaders to wow us with their deep thinking and stirring vision of the future. Candidates generally do this by standing in front of large banners that say things like “A Reformer With Results,” or “Patriotism and Pride,” or “Keeping it Real in the USA,” or even “Reforming Patriotism Resulting in Real Pride.”

Things are much better if you’re actually the president while campaigning. First off, you can stand in front of banners that say things like “I’m in Charge of Everything!” Who’s going to argue with that? You also get to fly around on Air Force One, preempt television programs for your speeches to Congress, and fire missiles at things.

Best of all, you have access to trillions of pretend dollars and you can make up fun ways to spend them. President Bush’s latest proposal to spend money and inspire people involves (wait for it) putting a man on the moon.

The president’s moon proposal is a bold and forward-thinking initiative. It will likely be embraced by the American public. I have reason to believe the president will go even further once his campaign really starts going. Through my extensive Washington contacts, I have been able to obtain a copy of a speech President Bush plans to give in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania late next month. Remember, you saw it first in the Sundial.

“My fellow Americans, our nation stands at a crossroads unprecedented in our history. Our economy is in distress, the cost of healthcare is spiraling upwards, our government is running substantial deficits, and international terrorism continues to threaten our borders. Many Americans are sharply divided on how to solve our country’s problems. As I mentioned last month, I believe we should go to the moon. But my vision for the future goes further than the moon.”

(look away from teleprompter, smirk if necessary)

“Tomorrow I will submit to congress a proposal to send a man across the Atlantic Ocean, in an airplane, by himself. The time has come for transatlantic manned flight. As a nation, we have come together to accomplish many great things. With hard work, sacrifice, and billions of dollars, we can do it again. I will devote sufficient resources to ensure we reach our goal by 2006. My administration will immediately begin a national search to find the hero who will pilot the new plane. The vice president will vet all the candidates. At the end of the search, the vice president will select himself to pilot the plane.”

(give the audience time to get joke, nod head to prompt audience if necessary, if all else fails, smirk)

“After we succeed at transatlantic flight, I propose we build a hot air balloon and circumnavigate the globe in 80 days. Man has always dreamed of one day floating through the skies, lighter than air. I believe we can develop the technology to make that dream a reality by 2007. The captain of the balloon will be able to bring back stories of exotic and savage lands far beyond our borders.”

(wait for applause, think about making “tiger claw” gesture to suggest exotic animals that may be found during the balloon tour)

“I have saved my grandest vision for the final year of my second term that Karl Rove has assured me I will get. America, it is time we explore the Louisiana Purchase. This vast tract of land is key to our country’s future. If we can discover a water route to the Pacific, we may be able to establish an efficient trade route to India. They have spices there, and we’d like some. In 2008, I will set aside 400 billion dollars to build a canoe and stock it with provisions. Two explorers will pick up a ‘native’ guide and explore the waterways of our new territory. The narratives and pencil sketches the explorers produce will inspire us all for generations to come!

“Now is the time, America! Seize your destiny!”

(smile, raise fist into air)

“Resist the Stamp Act!”

(wave, smirk, repeat)



At 10:44 am, Blogger Winter said...

I would have help fund the hot air balloon expedition if Bush was the pilot.


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