Southern Parody

L.Roscoe Poats was in hog heaven.

”Hussein,” as he and his colleagues called him, would be a one term president after all.

Hellfire, said Roscoe to himself, knocking the ash off his Swisher Sweet. We could run that witch lady from Delaware and still drive Obama out of the White House.

Poats was a former Georgia governor, now directing a secretive PAC channelling hundreds of millions of dollars into attack ads, many of them total distortions of fact, personal slander, with overtones of violence and racism. A little rough but OMG, those Koch boys paid sweet money.

kid n civil war cannon
The atmosphere feels very 1860. Anti-union forces marshall their forces to knock down the Ft. Sumpter of FDR and the New Deal. Feels like the Civil Wahr. Photo: ©1975 Boyd Lewis

He punched up the FOX Broadcasting channel on his IPod2 for President Obama’s press conference. “Hussein” was expected to announce the agreement of himself and his party to outright privatization of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in exchange for a token raise in the ceiling on the $14 trillion national debt. It wasn’t much, but it was all we could get, under the circumstances, Obama told the nation after the Great American Default of 2011. No one believed him.

It has been one week since Republicans, answering to hot-eyed Tea Partyists and Big Money masters, refused to extend the ceiling on the national debt for the first time in American history.

Their goal was simplicity itself. Destroy the economy. Blame Obama. Then Destroy Obama. Of course there might be collateral damage, but the free market would see to it that it wouldn’t last too long.

For the first week after the U.S. defaulted on its bonded obligations (they’re like credit card bills for things we’ve already bought), there was relative calm despite a lot of alarmist talk by pundits, Wall Streeters and the opining classes of cable teevee.

Then on a following Monday, all hell broke loose on financial markets around the world.  Money dried up. Prices of everything skyrocketed. Interest rates took a steep jump. Lending to the U.S. was now risky. It lost its AAA bond rating. The Communist Chinese called in its U.S debts due to the catastrophic (and coincidental we’re told)  collapse of its urban real estate bubble. Suddenly, the U.S. had to find another two trillion dollars to satisfy the loan sharks over at the People’s Republic.

Roscoe, the Brothers Koch, Tea Party this and Tea Party that, $900,000 per hour hedge fund managers, bailed out crony capitalists on Wall Street thought: Hey man, this is going splendidly.

Now for Phase II.

They would pour lots and lots of marketing money into all media to make sure the public blamed President Barack Obama for causing America to default and bring all this misery. A quarter million jobs disappeared just in the first week. The streets were filling with angry men and women. Often they were met by the same mobs who brought guns to anti-”Obamacare” rallies. Lives were being lost in the endemic street fighting. Rachel Maddow had been murdered. The MSMBC offices at 30 Rock, New York got bombed.

The Presidential address was about to begin. Every sentient Democrat knew Obama had stumbled into a fiendish trap. “Oh God,” Nancy Pelosi was heard wailing to an aide. “It’s going to be the Thirty Years War all over again.”

Goodbye 2012 the election and hello 2012 the movie was now the Beltway accepted wisdom.

Republicans, L. Roscoe Poats among them, could smell the making of an historic triumph. Obama would retreat, as he always did. While other white conservatives regarded Obama as a Marxist Kenyan revolutionary, Poats knew Obama could mouth liberalish ideals, but in the end, the boy was just a lawn jockey for Goldman Sachs and that whole Harvard/Wall Street crowd. He had been a flapdoodlin’ conservative since left those dopers at Oxy.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the United States.”

Barack Obama, 44th president of the United States, walked with a little jump to the podium. Michelle Obama was with him. She stood to his left side, looking steely.

“Hello,” thought Roscoe,taking a drag off the cigarillo. “What kind of press conference is this?”

“It gives me great pride to introduce my husband Barack Hussein Obama,” Michelle said. “He is our president. He is a Christian, not a Muslim. He is American born and did not sneak in through the back door from Kenya, Indonesia or anywhere else.”

“It hurts me beyond telling to hear the vicious lies some are telling about this man, the love of my life and president of all of us. The racial epithets he gets every day drip with pure evil.  Before he speaks, let me say I have never been prouder of him, or our country, than I am tonight.”

Poats snorted and used the lit end of the Swisher Sweet to light a new cigarillo.
Are we through with the powder puff foreplay? Get on with it.  Just concede defeat, you jug-eared jackass. Then get off the stage. The New Tea-brewed Order is coming to rock your world.

Michelle Obama stepped down and walked to a seat in the front row of the White House Briefing Room.

“There are limits to compromise. Negotiation can be circumscribed by real world conditions,” the president began.

Poats spoke to the screen of his IPod2: “So you finally figured that out, eh Snowball?”

“Nothing has satisfied the Republicans or the Tea Party core within it despite our willingness to cut everything benefitting the poor or middle class and keep the millionaires and billionaires untouched.

“Our default on the debt worldwide has set off a depression is slowly accelerating that will drive standards of life down in every country, by every measure.

“ In order for the Tea Party Republicans to vote to raise the debt ceiling, there’s a now a new demand: they now want a Constitutional Amendment requiring a balanced budget regardless of war, need or national emergency.”

“Go on, say it, say it,” urged L. Roscoe Poats, sensing history balancing on a needle’s point. Agree with us. You have to.

Barack Obama raised his eyes slightly above the lens line, then snapped it directly back to center and into the viewer’s soul.

“My response is that I am hereby invoking the fourth clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Here it says it is required that the United States will pay all of its debts. Therefore, I am issuing an executive order lifting the ceiling on the national debt, pay our bills and move on. I can do this. It’s in the Constitution.”

Roscoe Poats spit out his cigarillo. David Koch was immediately on the line. Nancy Pelosi, after a stunned silence, threw a glass of Napa Valley Char to the ceiling. Over in the Senate, Harry Reid looked befuddled. Vice President Biden could not be located.

“Nearly all of our Republican friends have signed a secret oath to a man whose announced goal is to reduce government so much that one may drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the tub,” the president continued. “His name is Grover Norquist and he keeps these signed secret oaths in a secret safe. Grover Norquist says that he believes all taxation is a form of theft, taking from the haves and giving to the have nots. But taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.”

“You promised me! You promised me, you schmuck!” David Koch’s voice bugled into Roscoe’s earpiece. “You promised you could lean on this son of a bitch’s Goldman Sachs buddies to kill socialism once and for all and stop taxing the job creators!” Roscoe opened his mouth but Koch let loose with a cosmic, crockery-shaking “Schmuck!” and hung up.

President Obama continued. He was warming to the task. The awkward pauses had vanished.

“The moment when the all-cuts/no revenue crowd eliminated nutrition for poor infants and children, I knew enough of the social safety net had vanished. No more. Not one cut more.
“To keep America paying its legal and legitimate debts I am today calling on an independent commission to examine all congressionally mandated tax cuts going to corporations and the top two percent of individual incomes as to their (1. impact on the national debt, (2 effect on job creation and (3 effect on our economic well being.”

“I am creating special prosecutors vested with subpoena powers to investigate the manipulations of our markets and economy by Big Oil, Financial Services, Healthcare, Big Pharma, Wall Street, media conglomerates, and companies that shelter their profits in places like the Cayman Islands and Kuwait.

“ In a related note, it is with regret that I accept the resignation of Jeff Immelt from my presidential council on jobs and competitiveness. He is returning to his job as CEO for General Electric, a company that does billions of dollars in work for the federal government.  When Jeff settles back into his commander’s chair, I have asked him to find out why GE, which made over $14 billion in profits last year, paid not one cent in corporate taxes to the government which has enriched its executives and shareholders.

“Jeff has agreed to find out why GE has laid off 2.9 million workers in the U.S . while hiring 2.4 million workers abroad during the past decade. And Jeff will find out how GE managed to rake in $3.2 billion from taxpayers in the form of rebates when they never paid taxes in the first place.

“Two out of three major American corporations pay little or no tax. I know there are various credits, depreciations, loopholes and some ungodly thing called GOGs, but Jeff and I will find out why corporations enjoy boom times while one in five of the American work force is unemployed or barely working.
“There are some gaping revenue holes that need to be closed.

“The IRS reports the richest 400 Americans, whose income is greater than 130 million of their fellow citizens, paid half the taxes three years ago than they did in 1995 while their income from dividends and capital gains–not honest work–doubled over the same period. We need to change this.

“The income gap between rich and poor in this country is a profound disgrace. We are becoming a feudal country of baronial estates and the shacks of serfs and peasants.

“To address that, I am introducing legislation to create two million new jobs in public and community service by next year, six million by the year after that and so on until this unsustainable 10 percent unemployment rate is reduced to no more than 4 percent.

“To pay for this, I propose a graduated but rapid end to military actions abroad, permanent repeal of the Bush tax cuts, Reagan tax cuts and yes, Clinton tax cuts. Excess profit taxes will be levied on the oil and petrochemical companies, Big Pharma, Wall Street, and on the unimaginably rich–hedge fund managers, commodity speculators and others whose wealth has been extracted from the working people of America.

“Our new bottom line must be this: The very first sentence of the Preamble to our Constitution says one of the purposes of this government must be to “promote the general welfare.”

“The attack on the General Welfare of our citizens could not be more clear.

“It has not come from torpedo planes attacking our fleet or terrorists hijacking airliners. The attack comes from the secret machinery of fanatic greed that dominates every sphere of our public life and all three branches of government.

“It shall be met with the same national determination we witnessed after September 11 and December 7.  This anti-government and ultimately anti-American attack has awakened a sleeping tiger.

“The troops are coming home. From everywhere. A new GI bill will help them retool their skills for peace. Plants that build useless stealth bombers will be retooled to build a rail system across America with high speed and local train service.

“A thuggish mentality has prevented solution to this debt crisis and pending collapse of the American Dream.

“We do not compromise with forces that want the people’s government to be dragged into a tub to be drowned to death. The Conservative movement today, the Republican leadership, Tea Baggers (he actually said it!) are usually described as moving in total unwavering unity “In lockstep” as the press puts it.

“Marching in lockstep and government don’t go together unless you a fan of 1930s newsreels. This not political discourse. This is totalitarianism on the march.

“It will be sunshine in America again. The bright promise hasn’t died. I call us away from the edge of this dangerous, potentially fatal cliff. Greed and fear have brought us to the brink. Let’s get back on the road and show the world what resilient, compassionate and hard working people we really are.”

“Thank you and God bless the people of the United States of America.”

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Boyd Lewis

Boyd Lewis

New Orleans family. War baby. Family moved a lot. Secondary and college education in Memphis, TN. Just before 1967 graduation, commissioning and tour of leafy, lovely Vietnam, banged up in auto accident. Decided to go into journalism. Tennessee mountain weekly, small Mississippi daily and nearly three decades in Atlanta. Black and alternative newspapers, freelance photojournalist, public radio news and documentary producer, news writer for CNN. Married Deborah James, followed her to Los Angeles for job. Quit the dismal trade and became middle school English teacher in LA barrio school. Quite happy.