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.”

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.

  1. Although this is a tongue-in-cheek article, it’s almost scary on how many fronts this is true, and could be our future.
    There are many middle class Americans wondering right now if our leaders will hold us hostage and contribute to the downfall of our society. Yes, there must be compromise to start balancing the budget, but there must also be some compromise on raising revenues. Any middle-class worker knows that if you have too much debt, you look at paying down your debt AND getting a second or third job so that you have more income to do so. How many Americans are currently doing just that to survive? Why is this such a hard concept for so many to understand?
    We can complain and obfuscate, but in the end, we must pull together to get this country back on track. Once again, I question, why is this so hard to understand?
    If our ELECTED officials do not understand this concept, why should they think that they will continue to be our ELECTED officials going forward? As mentioned previously, there are many more middle class Americans out there that are voters than the privileged few.
    When angry demands from constituents do not seem to impact the actions of our elected officials, maybe it is time to give prayer a chance.

  2. Back in June, our friend Warren Stephens, the Lord of Little Rock, in a video interview with the Wall Street Journal, announced that he had a solution to our economic problems. Other journalists quickly noted his call to “unleash the job creators.” Which prompts the following reaction:

    “Unleash the job creators”?

    More like, “unleash the Job creators.”

    “Unleash the mess makers,” would be more accurate.

    What Warren Stephens calls “the job creators” are the people who “make work,” because they’re either unwilling or unable to do anything for themselves.

    Oh, except keep their own scores in golf. That, it turns out, is the essence of the “personal responsibility” conservatives tout with pride. No accountability to anyone else on the golf course. The Republican field of dreams. “Now watch this drive.”

    Dubya has been designated honorary head of “The First Tee.” Perhaps Stephens’ exclusive Alotian Club is to be the headquarters of the new “Tee Party.”

  3. Frank Povah

    I was told, in front of a group of people, by an 18 year-old pundit, that the country of my birth (Australia) has death panels that decide who gets hospital treatment. When I told him that they didn’t exist when I left there a little under two years ago he replied that it was because the press there is probably under the control of the communist government and people don’t know what’s going on.

    1. The Stupid Fairy has flown over our fair nation and has sprinkled Stupid Twinkle Dust over too many people.

  4. Lee Leslie

    Hey Boyd – I almost got a chill reading it – what, with the audacity of hope and all. I love feel good endings in the movies and in real life – especially when there are such vivid distinction of good and bad as we have now. In addition to the 14th Amendment, which may not hold up long with the Robert’s Court (if intent of Congress is important to a ruling, after today, the House would have passed two debt extensions), is something else that could come into play – we are not only at war, but failure of Congress to act to increase the debt limit would set up a situation of necessity for Obama: he, and his administration, are stewards of the wishes of Congress. The spending laws and tax laws, which created the deficit are real. Obama cannot fulfill his promise to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed” in a situation when laws so obviously contradict – nor can he wage the war he has been empowered to fight. Following in Presidential footsteps of precedent, including Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, he must act independently with his “inherent powers” – that, I believe may well stand up in a Robert’s Court. Though, I suspect, it might be the Senate that caves – how hard could be to find 13 Senate Dems to join with Republicans and kick this can to next Spring?

    1. The way out of the looming nightmare that is approaching us is just that. The president needs to grow a pair and exercise his “inherent powers” to stop this totalitarian assault on our nation wearing the guise of fiscal responsibility. I want to shake a Tea Bagger until his teeth shake and demand to know why raising revenues by going after the loophole boys and taxing the unimaginably rich is “off the table.”
      When I hear the squeals of the undeserving rich exceeding the crying of poor children losing what little assistance they are getting, then my soul will rest content. Fiscal conservatives who refuse to even consider raising revenue to ease the crisis are frauds and hollow sacks of hot air, and mean as hell to boot. Mr. President: If you collapse now, generations yet unborn around the world will utter your name as a curse. But stand against the TP-GOP Norquistian idiocy and you will present a profile of courage. Don’t surrender without a fight.

  5. If you read my take on what President Obama must do, is required to if he is to be true to his oath of office, you must be despairing at this point. Obama’s idea of compromise is to respond to the thief in the night by not only emptying his wallet, but by cutting his own phone line and showing the brigand the closet safe where he keeps grandma’s jewelry.
    If he refuses to invoke the 14th amendment giving him the power to rescue our (and the world’s) economy, he will have proven an abject failure as president and a moral abomination as a human being. I pray he proves me and kindred spirits wrong as hell. Let’s wait for Tuesday.

  6. you don’t get it. the government has no money. FDR and LBJ’s giveaway freebies were known to be unaffordable at the time and now the government expands when these programs face their worst deficits ever? why do you call Obama a lawn jockey? why all the violent teeth-shaking? weren’t we supposed to clamp down the violent rhetoric after Gabriel Giffords? She voted with Congress on the bill you hate so much. Oh, yes: only conservatives cannot speak freely. The democrats can call tea-baggers terrorists, racists and worse. With no evidence. And who calls Obama a lawn jockey? that’s you, boyd lewis, progressive hero to the masses. You are a racist. You wrote it right here! And no one says you are unacceptable. You just want to shake people who disagree with you until their teeth come out.

    I think the issue is your silly game of bankruptcy has been exposed for what it is, nonsense. You cannot tax all the “millionaires and billionaires” to pay for $75 trillion worth of unfunded liabilities (and growing). There is not enough money in the world to solve everyone’s problems. U.S. lost this game since FDR and there seem to be all the same problems and more after how many trillions spent and how many more to go? The Treasury Secretary doesn’t pay his taxes and twists and lies to the country about government spending that creates inflation, increases interest debt to foreigners and makes all fiscal problems worse, not better. Americans (well, some) know we do not have a tax problem — we have a spending problem. There is insufficient taxes to pay for the spending. So, step 1) stop spending and step 2) discuss making government solvent. Maybe increase some taxes but there is no point until federal government spends within sensible limits (should be <= 15% GDP in order for economy to grow).

    You whine and lie and scream because that is all you ever wanted, id. Only emotion and pathos. These cannot grow an economy. No one spends and invests (other than boyd lewis) on emotion and fear.

  7. OK Sparky, I’ll give you, and every damp Tea Bag Express Patriot Birther Deather Limbaughed Lock Stepping nimrod your turn on the field. Save your ultrarich friends any fees to live in this wonderful country, cede to them total control of all three branches of government, rig the voting system to prevent another Obamanation. repeal corporate taxes outright, bring back child labor, ban abortion, pollute the crap out of our surroundings, put illegals into camps, outlaw collective bargaining and repeal the laws of science and require every citizen to openly carry a firearm with clips of at least 12 round capacity.
    Let the corrupt hooligans in Congress repeal every last decent law and reform this country has enjoyed since the Civil War and the New Deal.
    It’s your turn Sparky. Our party, our president, have won a handful of small tin victories. They desert us just when we need them to continue the fight against this intolerant, deeply ignorant and downright mean creature whose voice we hear coming from the most evil spirit of our nation. Think slavers, witch-burners, Injun killers, robber barons, war lovers, segregationists, Klux and deeply perverted moral charlatans.
    Now let’s see how you can create jobs when the economy snaps and sinks like the stern of the RMS Titanic. We of the balls to the wall Left wait to see what you can do.
    The gibbous ghost of Ayn Rand is hovering in the wormy shades to see if you have it in you to dismantle the idea that one purpose of government is to promote the general welfare. (cf. Preamble U.S. Constitution).
    And if “Sparky” is too incivil of me, maybe it’s because nimrods on your side of the fence call our president a “Tar Baby” or “boy” Or in the case of House Speaker John (of Orange) Boner, you don’t even take a call from the president at all.

    1. Lee Leslie

      Boyd, you are my hero. I’m going to print your comment and tape it (framing seems a bit too over the top) next to my desk as a standard for combining great writing with gifted wit. You have raised the bar of sarcasm. The new Oscar Wilde. Thank you.

      1. Your comment means a lot. Thank you.
        Oscar Wilde? Do I have to wear a cape?
        I don’t think the weirdo right that has America by the neck deserves one ounce of polite discourse, rational dialogue or factual refutation. These irrational snake oil salesmen deserve a rhetorical slap upside the head, an equally rhetorical kick in the butt and as supremely rhetorical feeding into the wood chipper. We’ve got to stand up to these totalitarian fuzz mongers and call them out for what they are.

  8. London rioters are your friends, Scooter. These people like handouts and loafing but hate “the man.” Youth coddled by an entitlement superstate. The state tells them they “deserve their” dole but they do not earn it. Then the youth finds they have no skills to exchange for a wage. The state teaches the yobs to expect something for nothing, hence they loot and steal property they think they’re entitled to from evil ultrarich people. Their primal urges to drink, fight and f*** drive them to smash what is “unfair” in their childish mindstate. The state perverts work ethics and adult choices. Scooter, do you see what your friends have done?

    You built many straw men in your responses and thrashed them. No one is talking about child labor, pollution or gulags. “Election rigging?” No party brings more corpses to the vote than Democrats. You cannot defend a state that borrows and taxes its most productive citizens to give money to the least productive through a comatose bureaucracy. There is no justification so you threaten violence against people who comment on your foolish statements. That is the orthodoxy of the “balls to the wall Left” and riotous yobbos.

    You think rich people are like the cartoon Scrooge McDuck, swimming in a vault of gold coins? Ultrarich people invest their wealth and do not swim it. If they are spendthrift, they provide jobs to skilled workers with a rich lifestyle of large houses, boats, cars, and motorbikes. If they are miserly, they hoard cash in tax-free municipal bonds that finance roads, schools and public parks and libraries. You hate public skilled labor and infrastructures, Scooter? Ultrarich investors do more for this country than the “balls to the wall Left” have done ever. The balls leftists (or, the children of their social engineering) are burning down buildings in London at this moment. They consider themselves very productive. Your friends are criminal rioters. The ultrarich make better friends. They have the most to lose when drugged up mobs burn cars and smash windows. The ultrarich require a society of productive competition and laws.

    The original point that undoes your yobbish theory is that even if you tax ultrarich 100%, there is not enough money to give everyone retirement, healthcare, university, food stamps, housing, beer, marijuana and prostitutes for a lifetime. This is impossible to achieve through taxes, debt or anything else. The general welfare clause is an introductory phrase in a document describing a limited government and ennumerated powers that is the opposite of yobbo Marx’s utopian notion “From each according to his ability to each according to his need.” The general welfare clause is not an amendment or law but an introductory sentence.

    As to freedom and fairness, investigate yourself and you will find that the top %20 earners pay nearly all federal income tax. The bottom half pay zero federal income tax. When punished with excessive tax, the very ultrarich can move their investments offshore and your tax-waffe cannot touch it. Instead, the yobbo tax bankrupts qualified professionals like doctors and small businessmen. Such people have roots in communities and they cannot easily move their capital away. They go out of business. They heal the sick and employ the workers. As thanks, Scooter’s yobbos want to beat them and burn down their buildings and cars like the ticking hands of a Clockwork Orange.

    The racist comments are yours alone. You are the only person discussing lawn jockeys and tar babies. No one uses this language but you. Your fantasy world is run by bigots and that is unhealthy and should embarass you. The Republican leadership speaks to the president but they disagree on policy, not skin color. The president does not submit budgets to Congress for two years and does not do his job. He is incompetent, votes present and reads from a teleprompter. Even Cenk Uygur and Krugman say this is so. No other president refused to submit budgets. President Obama demogogues like you and the crazy Debbie Wasserman Schultz talk on about racist straw men and slavery. Such people make Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman seem like true statewomen.

    When you balls-walling yobbos subject true Americans to rioting or wood-chipping, we’ll see whose teeth get shaken. We fought like hell to split from them and it’s no wonder why. Scooter, you are true blue Brit yobbo!

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