Up Front

Lost Opportunities

Now that John McCain has been dispatched to Sedona, we're already starting to miss all those things that a McCain-Palin administration promised and portended. Joe the Plumber will not be our do-it-yourself infrastructure czar (scratch the "Hundred-Million Plungers" program). Cartographers will not be busily redrawing our nation's map to designate which parts are "the real America" and which aren't.

We'll miss the chance to see how long we can stay in Iraq for the sake of simply staying in Iraq. We'll also miss out on seeing how high a clothing bill Sarah Palin can run up in the space of four years and whether it will boost American consumption enough to end the recession.

Then there are those promises that may or may not be kept. Will Bristol Palin really marry Levi Johnston? Inquiring minds want to know.

Obama Makes Amends

Over the course of the election, conservatives warned that Obama was "palling around with terrorists" and other un-American types like the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and '60s activist Bill Ayers. Obama vehemently denied it, of course. But now that he's been elected, the right wing must be frightened Obama will be re-paying -- with plum government jobs -- those he stiff-armed and disavowed on the way to the White House. So let's look at conservatives' nightmare scenario:

Obama will appoint his old buddy the Rev. Wright to be director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives -- redirecting funds from ministers who God-damn America because it tolerates gays to ministers who God-damn America because it enslaved African Americans.

And after sitting in the same room with him at school-reform meetings of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, Obama will surely appoint Ayers to be secretary of education, in which capacity the old Weatherman is sure to convert No Child Left Behind into a madrassah program that teaches kids to become Muslim terrorists.

Rep. John Lewis of Georgia was the most recent person dissed by the Obama campaign, which responded with less-than-full-throated support when the civil-rights icon made comparisons between John McCain and George Wallace. To make amends, Obama will probably appoint Lewis to head the Commission on Civil Rights, where Lewis will make Wallaces out of anyone who defies Obama.

Obama's Halliburton

It's not just personal debts he'll have to repay. Now that Barack Obama is the president-elect, he's going to need a shadowy organization on which to shower financial favors -- a Halliburton of his own. If ACORN's fanciful right-wing critics (OK, that's redundant: all of its right-wing critics were fanciful) are to be believed, it would be the perfect organization to accomplish these important national-security tasks:

With provincial elections in Iraq set for January, ACORN should be contracted to help Iraqis register to vote, provided they can avoid registering Saddam Hussein.

That said, a little old-school subversion could go a long way in Iran, where ACORN could flood local election offices with enough bad registration forms to destabilize the regime.

And since everyone on the right agrees that ACORN forced the collapse of Lehman Brothers, why not send some ACORN activists to China to lobby for low-income housing? The fall of Chinese communism would be imminent.

Move over, CIA! The ACORN of conservative nightmares would be the perfect organization to wage a new cold war.

Facts on the Ground

OK -- for the record, our president-elect is not now nor has he ever been a fundamentalist Muslim terrorist, black-nationalist radical, or member of the Communist Party. Nor, high-ranking sources tell us, is he the Antichrist.

But just to irritate the "real America" set, let's review some true facts about the man we've elected to the highest office in the land. His middle name is indeed Hussein. His father was really a Kenyan polygamist alcoholic. His mother was a lefty, globe-trotting anthropologist. He admitted to doing coke and smoking pot in college. He began his political career as an urban community organizer in the mold of Saul Alinsky, author of Rules for Radicals. And he really did attend a black liberationist church, whose pastor married him and baptized his two daughters. And on Nov. 4, with all these facts long in the public domain, the American people elected Barack Obama president.

Restores your faith in democracy, no?

***

The question: What will be the first thing Obama does to disappoint us?

"Declines to make freestyling over the 'A Milli' beat mandatory for taxpayers earning over $250,000."

-- Spencer Ackerman, reporter, Washington Independent

"Fails to immediately socialize the oil industry and redistribute the profits to ACORN."

-- Brian Cook, associate editor, In These Times

"Admits he lied to the public about his identity. His middle name is not Hussein; it's Paul. He says he was just testing us."

-- Heather Gehlert, managing editor, AlterNet

***

Parody by T.A. Frank

Bush White House Yearbook, Staff Superlatives, 2000 to 2008

Most athletic: George W. Bush

Best Tailored: Hank Paulson (Goldman provides.)

Most resented by cabinet colleagues for not being complete failure: Robert Gates

Best sense of humor: Michael Mukasey and the entire "repaired" DOJ

Most likely to try unsuccessfully to cushion news of Hague indictment with awkward appearance on SNL: Dick Cheney

Most likely to make the case for an Obama presidency being a small price to pay for eight great years: Karl Rove

Smoothest talker: Scott "Snow to Eskimos" McClellan

Most likely to be mistaken for someone even remotely competent: Condoleezza Rice

Most likely to be remembered as a completely immoral doofus: Alberto Gonzales

Pimpest: Ari Fleischer

Most likely to think in retrospect there are one or two things he might've done differently: Colin Powell

Most likely to say, "Maybe we'll look back on all this someday and laugh": Michael Brown

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