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Back in the golden years when a Real ‘Murrican was in the White House rather than a Kenyan Pretender, fine comics artist Rob Davis and I chronicled his unelected administration in a weekly series of cartoons we called The Dubya Chronicles. I thought it would be instructive all these years later to reproduce our 2006 entry because it is a reminder that, while things are surely better now, the fact is that whoever sits in the Oval Office (or the Veep’s office pulling the strings) is gonna use that power in ways many of us find unacceptable.

(The cartoon is animated so you have to click above to see it.)

Another example? return with us to the golden days of the Great Penis Hunt (though that’s not mentioned in the piece, which is one of my weekly columns for the short-lived Main Line edition of Philadelphia Weekly). From the content, I’d assume this was published in early 1995, not too long after the 1994 election in which the GOP took over the House and it appeared the Clinton Presidency might be a one-term affair.

There’s an ancient Chinese curse: may you live in interesting times. I don’t know who it was around here who irritated an old Chinese (though I have to suspect Ingram, when it gets right down to it), and I don’t know how interesting this era is, but damned if it isn’t annoying.

It has come to my attention, for example, that Rush Limbaugh, paragon of the new media elite, has some 20 million listeners daily. A recent survey of the American public by a British newspaper reveals the intriguing fact that there are also just about 20 million among us who do not believe that man ever walked on the moon. Could these be the same 20 million, do you suppose? Coincidence or confluence, you decide.

I have no polling data to support this one, but I’d think it fair to say, based upon all available evidence, that the “moderates” among the Anti-Choice folks are now that benighted few who still believe that a woman seeking an abortion is entitled to a quick trial before she is summarily executed. Everyone else who supports a woman’s rights should, of course, be shot on sight.

Down Washington way, the First Lady invited a whole passel of women writers over to the White House for lunch and–after ever so coyly allowing herself to be coaxed onto the record–asked them to help her figure out why folks just can’t get it through their heads that she’s really just the girl next door. Newt’s Mom was unable to attend, being busy running from talk show to talk show to blurt out the B-word again and again to prove how that nasty Connie Chung took advantage of her, poor doddering old soul that she is. Good heavens, the woman is all of 68; it’s a wonder she’s still walking.

Meanwhile, upstairs at the Presidential digs, President For Now William Jefferson (“Ich bein ein Republican”) Clinton is reportedly confused as to why so many folks can’t figure out what he stands for. Some days he thinks it’s because of this, some days because of that, some days maybe both. Usually the White House staff is around to help him, but they’re all busy searching high and low for whoever it was who had the bright idea that the Prez ought to be pictured holding up two dead ducks on a Georgia hunting trip. Brilliant symbolism that.

Of course, the First Family and their ilk are essentially the political fringe movement at this point. The real action is over in the House, where the Coronation of Newt set hearts a-flutter all over the land two weeks ago. I couldn’t watch the whole thing but I was lucky enough to catch Jon Fox stammering nervously on C-Span while he acted as the point man on the legislation to establish a “super majority” requirement for any proposals to raise income taxes during this Congress.

Since our very own elected representative was out front on this one, I figure we ought to stop here and take a look at it. It’ll now take 60 votes out of 100 to raise income tax rates. All other taxes, of course, can still be raised by a simple majority vote. Aside from the fact that this is probably unconstitutional, it means that the only tax which impacts on the wealthy as much as it does the poor and middle class is now a protected species. Don’t mention this in public, by the way, or you’ll be charged with fomenting “class warfare.” Then again, that three-fifths vote limit only applies to raising income tax “rates”; a simple majority can still vote to eliminate exemptions, or lower deductions, which would effectively raise income taxes anyway. Hmmm….

Understand, things aren’t all bad. Here, for example, is my favorite 1995 moment so far. Speaker Newt told the press last week that he and his acolytes should not be held to the “details” of the Contract With America. “We’re not going to be trapped into doing something dumb just so you can all say we’re consistent,” he said. He was unfortunately unable to stay around and discuss this interesting implications of this statement as he had to rush off and fire his very own personal historian who, it turns out, is on record saying that the Nazis and Ku Klux Klan haven’t gotten a fair shake in history. Somewhere, Pat Buchanan is smiling.

“Details” are on the mind of Representative Dick Armey as well. He’s the one from Texas who isn’t Phil Gramm, a proponent of a flat income tax and eliminating the minimum wage. Republicans don’t dare reveal how they might cut the budget to meet the requirements of the Balanced Budget Amendment, Armey says, because then nobody would vote for the Amendment. Makes sense to me.

Back before times got so interesting, we had that nice George Bush and his Thousand Points of Light. Remember? Well, as it turns out, according to an examination of the financial records of the Points of Light Foundation by the Los Angeles Times, only 11 percent of all the funds raised by the organization actually went to charity and volunteer work; the rest was eaten up by such important things as salaries, promotions, travel and consultant fees. And darned if more than half the overall budget, $26.6 million, wasn’t from federal funds. And liberals said private charity wouldn’t work.

Hey, wonder if they set up any volunteer orphanages?

…the more the stay the same. T’was ever thus.

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