Now that MSNBC’s fondest wish has come true, and the U.S. economy really is collapsing thanks to *&%#BUSH#!@%, all this talk about restructuring, and lean and mean, and less is more, etc., has got me to thinking . . .
I mean, out here in Hollywoodland, people are actually getting canned. Not just the studio suits who, like their counterparts in Major League Baseball, are hired to be fired and then spin through the revolving door and land elsewhere. I’m talking about big-name producers like Scott Aversano and Kathleen Kennedy being let go from their housekeeping deals at Paramount and Universal, along with the Industry grunts like junior execs, baby agents, and the development execs at hapless independent production companies that haven’t actually made a movie in years. Things could even get so bad that we’d have to stop spending $230 million on a movie that consists entirely of chase scenes, like Quantum of Solace. As Mrs. Lovett sings to Sweeney Todd: Times is hard.
Not, however, for our political class. My guy, Barry Hussein Junior II, managed to scarf up nearly a billion dollars in order to run against Grandpa Munster for an election that was, in retrospect, never really in doubt, and is getting ready to party hearty in Washington on January 20. And then there was the one-third of the Senate who had to fundraise, not to mention every single freakin’ one of the honorable Representatives who — for some obscure reason hidden in the penumbras of the Constitution — now spend their entire two-year stints in Washington running for re-election. There’s gotta be a better way.
And there is: Downsize America!
Let’s start with this foolish election business: thanks to gerrymandering, House districts are almost all “safe” for whichever gangster organization — I mean, “political party,” to use the Chicago term — controls them, so why bother with campaigns? Just have a lottery every two years in which a random 5 percent or so of the incumbents arbitrarily lose their seats and are replaced by the other guy. Who would be able to tell the difference? Campaign cost: $0.00.
As far as the Senate is concerned, the solution is even more elegant: repeal the 17th Amendment and have the Senators appointed by the state legislatures, the way the Founding Fathers envisioned until some crackpot “progressives” came along and gave us the Four Worst Amendments of All Time, and right in a row, too: 16 (the income tax), 17 (elected senators), 18 (prohibition) and — sorry, ladies — 19 (women’s suffrage). One of them, you’ll notice, has already been repealed, so we only have three to go! Campaign cost: $0.00.
But why stop there? Is there really any compelling reason to have 50 states? Talk about massive redundancies — governors, legislatures, hookers. . . Let’s get rid of a few:
New England: It’s patently ridiculous to have a dipstick state like Maine, which used to be part of Massachusetts anyway. Why not reunite them, merge Rhode Island with Connecticut and combine Vermont and New Hampshire? (You know you want to.) Presto: three fewer states, governors, legislatures, bureaucracies and sets of elected officials. Since there are basically no Republicans left in New England, we could go even further and combine ‘em all.
Mid-Atlantic: Savings abound when we merge three of the worst states in the Union — New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey — into one vast, ugly, smelly, sprawling toxic-waste dump. Since none of these commonwealths provide any meaningful services other than the lifetime employment of corrupt politicians and shiftless government workers, or have any real identities beyond their foul weather and their terrible roads, no one would miss them, and the IQ-challenged residents who haven’t moved elsewhere are too dumb to notice. We also merge that ridiculous place, Delaware, with Maryland — which it’s obviously a part of, geographically. Plus New York City becomes its own city-state, like Berlin. It’s a win-win situation!! (I still haven’t figured out what to do with Long Island.)
The South: Who needs it? This redneck backwater rarely votes for us, anyway, so downsize away: Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi — who can tell them apart? — become one, as do Virginia and West Virginia (that slavery beef is so yesterday), and Kentucky and Tennessee; besides, the reunification of your Carolinas is long overdue. We keep Louisiana and Arkansas as theme parks of fine food and hillbilly culture, respectively.
The Midwest: Gee, from all the fuss over BO II’s former buddy, “Big Rod” Blagojevich, you’d think Illinois and the other flat hick states were one vast criminal enterprise run out of Chicago by the Combine, the Daley Machine, and the Jake Lingle Society. So let’s just draw a discreet veil of obscurity over the place and revisit this in, oh, say, four years. Shhhh . . . the media is sleeping.
Texas: Merge it with Oklahoma and give them both back to Mexico. Bonus side effect: Bush automatically becomes an illegal alien. Problem solved!
The Big Square Ones: Just look at a map, for crying out loud. Then toss in Wyoming. Can you spell o-n-e-s-t-a-t-e?
The Dakotas: Two of them? You cannot be serious! Nobody lives there, so one Dakota should be plenty, and it won’t matter to the cows.
The Pacific Northwest: Oregon, Washington; Washington, Oregon — you choose.
California: Paradise. Wouldn’t change a thing.
Ah, but Dave, I hear you say: this is all great, we save a fortune by getting rid of half the Congresscritters and their staffs, plus the Electoral College will be so small it could meet in a broom closet, but how does it help with the staggering cost of a Presidential election?
Here comes the best part: what presidential elections?
For half a century, the same few families have stuck their mugs in our faces every four years. It started with the sainted Jack Kennedy, who begat Bobby who begat Ted who begat RFK Jr., who begat Patrick, etc., and even with the natural culling of the herd that takes place from time to time on ski slopes and from drug overdoses, there will always be plenty of Kennedys. There’s even talk that Sweet Caroline will take the Wicked Witch of the East’s senate seat, assuming Hillary gets around the plain language of the Emoluments Clause and the media looks the other way as she slouches toward Foggy Bottom.
But we’ve also had the Doles, the Clintons, the Bushes, the Romneys, the Albert Arnold Gores, Sr., Jr., and III, and now, with Beau looming on the Delaware horizon, the Bidens; the Doles are thankfully gone, but there’s no end in sight to the other clans and while we’re all undoubtedly looking forward to the day when one of Mitt’s fine strapping Mormon missionary sons takes time out from serving his country by working for his dad and takes on Chelsea or George P. Bush or . . .
What we have here, my friends, is our very own War of the Posers, er, Roses. So after the Obama administration unfortunately emulates the mayoral regimes of Harold Washington and David Dinkins and vanishes into history with the thanks of a grateful press corps, you can bet the American aristocracy will reassert its prerogatives and its hereditary right to the White House.
Since there’s nothing we can do about it, we might as well make the best of it. And that’s where Hollywood comes in, with an interactive TV and online show that combines the bloodline-mayhem of Lancaster v. York, the hand-to-hand combat of American Gladiators, and the personal drama of Desperate Housewives.
Picture if you will: It runs for six months every four years and entirely replaces our current cumbersome and error-prone “election system” with a series of audience-posed challenges that get progressively harder and bloodier. Like Highlander, there can be only one: the last scion standing wins the big enchilada, while the losers lick their wounds, breed, and prepare for four years’ hence. Best of all, it’s absolutely free.
You know what I’m going to call it, don’t you? Of course you do: Family Feud II: This Time, It’s Personal.
And before you tell me I’m crazy, ask yourself: If we had done it my way the past 50 years, how would things be any different?
– David Kahane is full of bright ideas, only some of which are meant satirically. You can put in your two cents at [email protected]