Past, Meet Present
Those of you who read C&J, including our devoted oral historians who commit each column to memory and pass them down to future generations around the campfire, know that I have always compiled the definitive year-in-review extravaganzas. But like the last three, I’m throwing this year out the window. No way am I gonna slog through 2020 again. Best thing for us all is to encase these 366 days in cement and toss 'em off a pier.
Instead, we're doing something different. You may have read in the papers that a Democratic challenger clobbered the Republican incumbent 537 electoral votes to 1 in last month's presidential election, and will embark on his first year in office 20 days henceforthwith. Notably, he was the previous Democratic president's vice president. So this morning we thought it'd be fun to look back—via C&Js we posted in 2009—at some highlights from Year 1 of the Obama-Biden administration.
It's a timely reminder of what it was like when we last had an adult in charge of the executive branch, and a preview of what it'll be like having another one behind the resolute desk. Enjoy…
Note: In the interests of world peace, C&J will be off tomorrow so that we may spend some quality time drunk in the gutter. We'll return Monday for another year of homespun mediocrity delivered from a wingback chair under the Monet in the drawing room. We wish you and yorn a safe and happy New Year's holiday. Don’t forget to feed the cat. —Mgt.
C&J Remembers the Obama-Biden Administration’s First Year
January: During his first 100 hours in office, President Obama puts in motion an end to the Iraq War, re-legitimizes contraception to reduce unwanted pregnancies and the spread of disease, strikes fear in the hearts in our enemies and euphoria in the hearts of our allies, takes science off the Bush terror watch list, restricts the reach of lobbyists, and gives the nation a new sense of hope, mission, and identity. After Obama takes the oath, now-"former" president Bush boards a helicopter and flies back to the only state where he feels welcome: denial.
"Shortly after his inauguration, Obama spoke on the phone to the leader of the Palestinians and the leader of the Israelis. Both men started their call by asking Obama, 'Hey, what was the deal with Aretha Franklin's hat?" —Conan O'Brien
February: President Obama signs an expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)—which Bush had vetoed—into law. He also makes history by being the first black president to address a joint session of Congress, offering a sober assessment of the way things are and how to rebound (duct tape and $20 trillion in unmarked bills). The response: 67 outbursts of applause and 37 standing ovations. Also, for the first time ever during a presidential speech, the Supreme Court justices start a wave. Several injuries are reported.
"I hereby appoint myself the president's Tell-People-Where-to-Go-and-What-to-Kiss Czar. Fox News, if you want an exclusive: pucker up!"
March: First Lady Michelle Obama and a gaggle of kids turn over sod on the south lawn and plant vegetables in the new White House "kitchen garden." They would've used the north lawn but they kept running into the bodies of Nixon's enemies.
April: The Obamas welcome a rambunctious new puppy. Newt Gingrich adds his magic touch to the moment, saying: "I think that this whole thing is fairly stupid." Mainly because he knows they won't be kicking it.
May: President Obama creates an uproar when he orders a cheeseburger with "Dijon mustard." The Senate Culinary Committee hearings are brutal and he barely escapes impeachment.
June: Speaking in Egypt, President Obama threads a needle and gives the Middle East a pep talk in which he promotes respect for religious diversity, women's rights, peaceful co-existence, political freedom, nuclear disarmament, and fighting terrorism. But even more impressive, he accomplishes one thing that historians consider a high point in the first year of his presidency: knocking Joe Scarborough off the TV for an entire hour.
July: President Obama has a lovely meeting with the Pope in Vatican City. The two exchange gifts (a book on bioethics for Obama; DVDs of Sister Act and Sister Act 2 for Benedict), and then visit the Vatican cafeteria where they look for Virgin Marys in the grilled cheese sandwiches.
August: Diabetics across America celebrate as the Senate approves the nomination of one of their own, Sonia Sotomayor, as the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Hispanics are somewhat jazzed about it, too.
"Rush and his ilk have come up with a name for the first Hispanic on the Supreme Court that's been 99 percent white men for 200 years, and that name is 'reverse racist.' Sonia Sotomayor is a racist and someone has to stop her because for too long white men have been kept down by powerful Puerto Rican women!" —Bill Maher, 2009
September: The government reports that household income increased by two-trillion dollars in the second quarter of 2009. Unfortunately it all goes to one household—the Gladys Higginbotham residence in Dubuque. Economists agree: that was one helluva scratch ticket.
October: After President Obama wakes the EPA from its eight-year slumber and gives it a chance to wipe the pixie dust from its eyes, the agency announces it's taking steps to control emissions from power plants, factories and refineries; denies 79 permit applications for mountaintop-removal coal mining, citing the Clean water Act; and launches a sweeping overhaul of the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976. But they promise to work even harder on day two.
November: Democrats suddenly discover there's a midterm election coming up, and announce their intention to create a big jobs bill to help knock down the 10.2% unemployment rate. Among the expected national projects: roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, and President Obama's long-sought U.S.-Kenya Chunnel.
President Obama in Oslo, accepting his Nobel Peace Prize: I'm living testimony to the moral force of non-violence...the creed and lives of Gandhi and King. But as a head of state, sworn to protect and defend my nation, I cannot be guided by their examples alone. ... Our challenge is reconciling these two seemingly irreconcilable truths—we can understand that there will be war and still strive for peace. Jon Stewart: Unghh!! Obama forcing us to live in an area between absolutes. BRAIN HURTS! COMPLICATED!!! —The Daily Show
December: Less than 24 hours after President Obama holds a "Jobs Summit," the unemployment rate falls two-tenths of a percent. The White House is so excited by its success that they immediately schedule a Jobs Conference, Jobs Roundtable, Jobs Gaggle, Jobs Bazaar, Jobs Meet-Up, Jobs Huddle, Jobs Amish Barn-raising, Jobs Flash Mob, and Jobs Canasta Tournament in Joe Biden's Living Room.
And one more...
Real presidents get vaccinated:
Happy New Year! See you Monday morning. Floor's open...What are you cheering and jeering about today?