My Misery Index

By Maralyn Lois Polak

The Misery Index is not just something invented by wimpy political parodists suffering from too much sofrito on their seitan. Apparently the index has existed for decades, and like any agglomeration of statistics, it’s relatively meaningless, because it indicates, Right now, for most Americans, life is good, very good, very very good!

Huh? What drug are they on?

Even the normally clear-headed folks at FactCheck.org concede, “The classic “misery index” – which adds together the unemployment rate and the rate of inflation – currently is better than most years since World War II. In fact, it’s less than half the miserable level reached in 1980, the last year of the Carter administration, and better than in any of Clinton’s first four years …”

Like Jackie, the concierge, says, “I’m not just having a bad day, I’m having a Bad Century.”

No kidding, Jackie.

First it was the Not-So-SWIFT-ies.

Nearly every war has its Boat People. Even this one: the war for the hearts and minds of America’s voters. Those of us who lived through the Vietnam War, either on the battlefield or in front of the tube, know about Boat People: refugees, usually political, attempting to flee from their native country by boat.

And so we have this awful presidential cramp-pain, momentarily dominated by the pointless – and fallacious – SWIFT Boat Veterans for Truth meretricious torpedoing of Kerry’s military record. These Not-So-SWIFT-ies – temporarily swaying public opinion while kneeing and elbowing these canards to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list – provide meaningless distraction from real political issues of substance.

Actually, SWIFT may be a military acronym for an aluminum river patrol craft known as “Shallow Water Inshore Fast Tactical.” I’ll bite. Seems to apply equally well to Kerry’s critics.

My socialist friend “Ruby” believes slick Repug-Nican strategist Karl Rove engineered these swiftboat attacks on Kerry’s credibility and character, yes, to see how far they might go in derailing his reputation as an authentic American war hero. However, she also suggests Rove’s real target was eventual dismantling 527s – such as moveon.org – which pose a distinct threat to the Bushling’s candidacy.

Total treachery.

Recently, I had a nightmare. And in that nightmare, suspiciously resembling a political convention – swaddled in red-white-and-blue bunting, studded with five-pointed stars, and set in a temporary police state resembling New York City in an amphitheater better suited to feeding arrogant, elitist conventioneers to the lions – I heard the Repug-Nican jingoists, catalyzed by that great wannabe-American Action Figure, Ah-Nulled, transform the Dumb-O-Craps into Girlie Men, and it was bad, very bad.

How could it be otherwise? I heard those arch-masters of mendacity, DUH-Be-Ya, our putative president, joined by his handler, um, veep – “Chick Deney” – rewriting history. And yet they sounded soooooo much like strong leaders speaking the truth, they actually lulled a few more unsuspecting people into their ideological lair.

Fools!

Because they weren’t strong leaders speaking the truth. War is peace, remember – lies lurk everywhere, like landmines!

Even worse, “Rudy” Giuliani – that bogus, adulterated 9-11 local “hero” spawned by synthetic terror and painted as Hitler by street artist Robert Lederman, emerged as a credible future presidential candidate.

Shudder!

Meanwhile, still another tropical storm, this one “as big as the state of Texas” – thank you, Drudge Report – stalked and pummeled the electorally recalcitrant state of Florida, further evidence God is furious some of His servants hijacked the presidency in the last national election. Instant Karma, gang. Diebold, beware!

Then we have the burgeoning gas-pump crisis, which experts warn will only get worse.

To that, I say: Bring the troops home! A new scientific discovery will render the horrific bloodshed of wars for oil immediately obsolete and totally unnecessary.

Scientists have devised a method to transform manure into crude oil, bypassing complex geological processes normally requiring eons. The political and economic ramifications of this discovery are profound. No more will the United States be in hock to hostile nations, dancing to OPEC’s twitchy tune. Finally, this technique promises an end to drilling’s depredations upon nature’s precious ecological fragility.

While the crude-oil manure of choice is porcine, there’s no truth to the rumor scientists are considering creating an underground extraction center near Washington, D.C., our nation’s capital, now as never before an outstandingly productive enclave, with leading producers: the Bushling, those lipless wonders Cheney and Rumsfeld, the pouty Condo-Leaser, the sinister Rove-r, et al.

Yes, this administration – “knee-deep in doo-wah,” as some wag remarked – is an especially unprecedented resource.