Michael P. Ackley has worked more than three decades as a journalist, the majority of that time at the Sacramento Union. His experience includes reporting, editing and writing commentary. He retired from teaching journalism for California State University at Hayward.More ↓Less ↑
Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell which is which.
Bulletin! Bulletin! Bulletin!
Venerable Washington, D.C., columnist Howard Bashford was granted a no-holds-barred, one-on-one interview last week with President Barack Obama.
Below is an abridged transcript of Bashford’s chat with the president of the United States, in which the famed correspondent asked the kind of questions the lap-dog White House press corps never asks. The transcript is abridged because Mr. Obama took at least five minutes to answer each question:
Bashford: Let’s deal with this right off, Mr. President. Why won’t you allow the media to inspect your actual, paper, long-form birth certificate? After all, you were comfortable enough to joke about it for Betty White’s birthday gala. WND has cited experts who say the electronic version you released is a forgery.
BO: (Chuckling) Well, of course the electronic version is, shall we say, doctored. But that’s only to protect my privacy. And any citizen’s privacy trumps an archaic, constitutional eligibility provision. …
Bashford: But what about your other records? We know that George W. Bush was a “C” student, because we saw his academic records. When will you release your academic records and writings – from Occidental College in California to Harvard Law?
BO: Let me be clear about this: My academic records will remain under seal because I didn’t give up my right to privacy just because I was elected president of the United States. Besides, those Oxy records might show I received financial aid as a foreign student. Beyond that, my academic writings are embarrassingly Marxist (more chuckles). And I don’t mean Groucho Marxist. …
Bashford: Makes sense. Let’s move on to policy matters. How can you say, “We have to learn to live within our means,” and then call for trillion-dollar deficit spending?
BO: We’ve called for cutting the deficit by $2 trillion. …
Bashford: The “deficit cuts” are to be spread over 10 years, Mr. President, and there’s no guarantee they actually will happen. What about the trillion or so we’re overspending this year?
BO: We’re emerging from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. We’d endanger the recovery if we didn’t spend beyond our means. … Besides, spending is fun!
Bashford: Do you think the American people understand the difference between the deficit and the debt?
BO: (Laughing uproariously) No way! Administrations and the Congress have been getting away with the deficit-cutting dodge for decades, reducing projected increases while running up the debt. …
Bashford: This brings us to monetary policy. How can you say you’re defending the middle class when fiat money supply is sapping middle-class savings and spending power?
BO: Ha, ha! Hardly anybody understands monetary policy. I know I don’t. … Since nobody understands it, I can say pretty much what I want to.
Bashford: Have you noticed that the health-care law you promised would reduce health insurance premiums has resulted in increased premiums?
BO: No, I hadn’t noticed that, because as president I don’t pay for health care. Besides I don’t believe it because I don’t want to. Furthermore, the real savings from the reform bill won’t kick in until the middle of my next term. …
Bashford:You mean real costs, don’t you?
BO: Yeah. I was just kidding. But let’s be clear: Some of those real costs have already hit the market, but with unemployment where it is, people aren’t paying attention because they’re worried about finding jobs. … It’s win-win!
Bashford: Speaking of jobs, do you think it is legal for your National Labor Relations Board to decide where an American corporation can create jobs, as with Boeing?
BO: Legal schmegal. The unions didn’t like Boeing going into a right-to-work state, so I don’t like it, either. …
Bashford: More on jobs. Why did you really scotch the Keystone pipeline?
BO: I put the kibosh on that because Congress pushed me when I wanted to wait until after the election. Nobody pushes Barack Obama. I am the president! I am chief executive! … We’re heading for a new energy future! An alternative energy future! … And we will reach that future because I say so! And … and … and … Sorry. I just get a little upset when my authority is challenged, like by that ornery Arizona governor.
Bashford: Very understandable, Mr. President. What is a reasonable period of time for deciding whether or not our public investment in alternative energy is paying off? Didn’t Jimmy Carter try the same thing in the 1970s?
BO: We’ve come a long way since the ’70s. Why, the Carter administration only wasted a few hundred million dollars on alternative energy. We wasted more on Solyndra alone! …
Bashford: The Republican presidential candidates have dug far into each other’s pasts to challenge their opponents’ qualifications. Mind if I ask something about your history?
BO: Go for it! My life is an open book (Have you bought my books?), and I’ve run the most transparent administration in history, unless you count Fast and Furious and a few other, minor matters. …
Bashford: Very well. Didn’t you – a lawyer – know it was unethical and illegal when you, as board president of a federally funded organization in Chicago, nominated your wife to be its paid executive director?
BO: Wow! Nobody has ever asked me that question! But there’s a simple answer: Anti-corruption laws hardly ever apply in Illinois. … Besides, Michelle and I needed the money.
Some readers may believe Mr. Bashford made up the entire interview. To this we say: So what? If the president of the United States can make up stuff, why shouldn’t Bashford?