The Speech Not Given

What if These Proposals Had Made It Into the State of the Union?

Posted January 21, 2004 at 4:02pm

President Bush could only talk so long. Americans, after all, are used to the MTV way of life — and the remote control is never far away. So, alas, many of his proposals had to be left on the cutting-room floor. While there was room to discuss steroids in professional sports and money for prison release programs, there was just no time for the following ideas. Just think of all the lost opportunities to reach out to new constituencies.

“America’s children are in crisis. They are, well, just plain fat. I will direct the FDA to eliminate the Food Pyramid and other traditional nutritional guidelines. They just aren’t working. America’s children need a new set of guidelines. Beginning in the new school year, all school cafeterias will begin to follow the Atkins Diet. No more bread, pasta and, most importantly, no more French fries. From now on, it will be beef. Houston beef. Austin beef. Dallas beef. Fort Worth beef. And Halliburton has been contracted to provide food service for America’s schools.”

“Sports fans all across America are inundated with games to watch, starting with the NFL playoffs in January, then NCAA playoffs, then the Masters and the six-month baseball season, which overlaps the NBA playoffs, and before you know it, it’s Labor Day and the football season — pro and college — has started, and then the baseball playoffs come along. And wow, every other year we’ve got golf’s Ryder Cup and every fourth year — like this year! — we’ve got the Summer Olympics. It’s an overwhelming crisis for sports fans — we’re inundated, overwhelmed, we can’t keep track of it all. To help ease our crisis and eliminate some of the choices we are faced with as fans, tonight I call on Congress to pass my proposal to eliminate the NHL! Seriously, not many people watch it anyway, it just gets in the way of SportsCenter highlights and it’s a game played mostly by Canadians — French Canadians, to boot! We must end the NHL to preserve the sanctity of sports everywhere!”

“Let’s face it: It’s just too difficult to say ‘nuclear.’ Beginning in fiscal 2005, we will rename the Nuclear Regulatory Commission the ‘Nukular Regulatory Commission.’ We will also consult with the folks at Webster’s Dictionary to change the spelling and pronunciation of ‘nuclear.’”

“The reality TV craze has gone too far. Who cares who ‘The Mole’ is or who the next American Idol will be. There’s too much sex, too much greed and too much deceit. It’s time for Hollywood to return to programming based on traditional Americans values: Bring back ‘Dallas.’ After all, I’m still trying to figure out who shot J.R. If you want real reality TV, just turn on the Fox News Channel or the ‘700 Club.’”

“Speaking of the moral decay of our society, let’s turn to two of my closest conservative allies who deserve our compassion in their time of need, William Bennett and Rush Limbaugh. These two upstanding, moral, conservative leaders recently were forced to face demons in their own lives. So I propose establishing a gambling and drug addiction center for prominent Republicans. We would help the Democrats as well, but our goal to cut the deficit in half in five years prevents us from committing the hundreds of millions of dollars that would require.”

“Corked bats in baseball are seriously putting the game in jeopardy; yes, Sammy Sosa said it was an accident last year, but it raises serious questions about the game and booming home-run records. So tonight I call upon Congress to establish rules that will ensure all baseball bats are not corked.”

“Speaking of Sammy, I may not be a shrewd judge of baseball talent. After all, I traded away Sosa. But I know the Hit King when I see him. Pete Rose was an outstanding baseball player — one of the best of all time. And he deserves a place in our collective memory, but not a place in the Hall of Fame. That’s why I call on Congress to pass the Shoeless Joe Act, legally barring any banned player from enshrinement in Cooperstown.”

“In football, a crisis of drunken fan behavior is making stadiums unfamily friendly. NFL stadiums are packed with drunken louts, the sorts of people I used to be myself before I found God at 40. We need to crack down on this criminal behavior. One town has it right — Philadelphia, where they established a court in the basement of the now-defunct Veterans Stadium, overseen by local Judge Seamus McCafferty, who’s up there with the first lady tonight. Hello, judge. So tonight I’m calling on Congress to pass my $100 million plan to ensure every major professional and collegiate sports stadium and arena has a court and prison on sight, with mandatory minimum sentencing for all offenders!”

“While we’re on the subject of prison releasees and the help we owe them, let’s not forget another neglected group of people who need our help: former Cabinet secretaries. No one knows the trauma and difficulties these former public servants go through better than I. So I propose spending $1 billion to establish the Paul O’Neill Secretary Rehabilitation Program. Secretary O’Neill has agreed to leave his new post as director of the Center for the Deaf and Blind to administer the new program.”