July 2, 2016
How Does a President Get a Law Passed?
An eight-year-old child, son of a DC attorney, recently asked his dad, “How does the President make laws?”
Searching for age-appropriate terms, the dad replied, “It’s complicated, but let’s use a make-believe example. Suppose that the President wants to stop people from chewing grape bubblegum. He begins by having an assistant write the first version of a law that says ‘Effective immediately, manufacture, import or sale of grape bubblegum will be prohibited.’
“But that’s just the beginning. White House staff members make changes. Prohibiting grapes would insult the memory of labor leader and civil rights hero Cesar Chavez, who organized the grape pickers. The staff changes the word ‘grape’ to ‘purple,’ but notes that Prince fans may object. They also change the word ‘bubblegum’ because some companies use the term in their product names. So the proposed law now says, ‘purple confections’ instead of grape bubblegum.
“The President’s staff then sends his request to the House of Representatives. Meanwhile, most of the congresspeople and senators contact lobbyist friends to learn how they should vote.”
“What’s a lobbyist,”asked the boy.
“ Lobbyists are rich people who make money representing companies or organizations, that want laws that help them make more money. Some companies want to kill the law because bubblegum is important to them. Others want Congress to approve the law with changes that make more money for their companies. Congresspeople and Senators listen to all of the offers and figure out how to make more money for themselves, without committing crimes that send them to prison.
“The proposed law is now called a bill and changes its name. The new name might be, ‘The Advanced Middle-Class Protections Against Purple Confections Act.’ Then the Senators and Congresspeople play games with it.”
“What kind of games, Daddy?” asked the little boy. “Video games like “Grand Theft-Auto?”
“No, these games are like Dodge Ball. The score doesn’t matter. The objective is to hurt each other.
“They send the bill to committees that argue. Then congressional staffs add thousands of new words to be sure no one will ever read or understand the law. After a few months, the leaders decide whether they have made enough side money, and may bring the bill to the full House and Senate to make speeches. This move provides the time when members can pretend to be experts and give interviews to cable news reporters.
“Then the Senate votes and passes the bill, with 46 members of one party voting ‘Yes’ and 44 members of the other party voting ‘No.’ The bill then goes to the President, who signs it into law in a big ceremony, with fifty people chewing or blowing bubbles with orange gum, signifying that purple is bad.”
“So then it’s a real law?” inquired the little boy.
“Well not exactly,” his dad responded. “Some states don’t like it and sue the government in court. No matter what the court decides, however, the losing side takes the lawsuit to a more important court. But that court’s decision doesn’t count either. The decision has to go to the Supreme Court. After years in all of the courts, four Supreme Court justices who hate purple bubblegum vote for the law, and four others vote against it. Then one 79-year-old man decides for the whole country. Insiders know that he often chews grape bubblegum, and loves it. So the law is soon dead, after seven years of effort.
“What did you learn from this, son?”
“I want to be a lobbyist when I grow up,” replied the boy.
Are Conservatives Real, or Urban Legends?
“Conservative” is a word used sparingly, except during presidential election years. Then every Republican tells the world that he or she is a ‘Proud Conservative.’ Though we have heard the word daily in 2016, no one seems sure of its meaning.
Apparently, the word represents few consistent beliefs. Some ‘Conservatives’ only care about abortion laws. Others are evangelicals; voting according to religious teachings. Some wear the Conservative label only because they favor military action. Some others favor isolationism and oppose military action. And others are only concerned about government spending. Due to their wide range of interests and beliefs, Republicans often disagree with each other on virtually ever issue, yet all call themselves ‘Conservatives.’
To learn the actual meaning of Conservative, we contacted RNC Chairperson Reince Priebus, who seemed puzzled. “I’ve never questioned it. I thought it was only an expression, like ‘Vote Republican’ or ‘I hate Democrats.’ I’m afraid I can’t help you. I suggest that you contact Bill Kristol, the Weekly Standard editor. He claims to speak for all Conservatives.”
Following the RNC chairperson’s advice, we traveled to Washington, DC to the office of The Weekly Standard, a magazine read by very few people, though often prescribed by doctors to cure insomnia. Though Kristol refused to speak with us at first, we reminded him of his ringing endorsement of waterboarding during Operation Iraqi Freedom and offered to provide a demonstration. He then reluctantly agreed to speak to us.
“When you ask about the meaning of Conservative, you’re asking about my personal journey,” he began. “As cable-news viewers know, it’s ‘all about me.’ Always!
“I create Conservative opinions, and the entire world reads them in the Weekly Standard. To understand the meaning of Conservative thought, you need to start with my childhood in New York. As you might have guessed, no one liked me. I was even more insufferable as a kid than I am now. Boys competed for the right to beat me up, and girls all laughed at me. I was only an average student, had no athletic skill, and couldn’t play the violin. I needed something else to be ‘my thing’ just to survive high school. Then I read books by Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley, Jr., and began creating my brand of Conservatism. But I had a problem. I knew the ‘talk’ but didn’t have the ‘walk.’ I had the language, but no content. Then I met a man named Bernie Madoff who counseled me, saying ‘if you pretend that you have riches, people will pay for your secrets, even if there’s nothing else there.’ Once I understood that, I had invented modern Conservative thought.
“The following summer, I had a few beers with my chubby cousin Gladys from New Jersey. She was a sorority girl at Columbia and a bit mischievous. We hatched a sorority prank that Gladys would play. All of her sorority sisters were part of it. Every girl would choose a target at every party and ask him, “What are you?” His answer would earn him some specific reward, like a kiss on the cheek. But if he said, ‘I’m a Conservative,’ he would immediately earn an evening of carnal bliss. Guys throughout the campus and neighboring colleges heard about what had happened, and soon told every girl, I’m a Conservative.’ The ritual became a national sensation. Without my modern Conservatism, millions of bad marriages might never have happened. I’m quite proud of that.”
Somewhat astonished to learn the true meaning of Conservative, we asked Kristol whether this Conservative ritual still existed. He answered, “I tested that a week ago, at Liberty University. I walked up to a young woman and declared, “I’m a Conservative!” “No, you’re not. You’re a dirty old man!” she replied, before kicking me in the most Conservative area of the male anatomy.”
Trump’s Shocking New White House Plan
Growing more confident of becoming President, Donald J. Trump spoke recently to a group of his financial donors, to discuss plans for his first days in office. Meeting with approximately 50 very wealthy people, he spoke casually, with a hand-held microphone, wandering around the room like a lecturing professor.
Trump startled his audience by announcing a plan to move the entire White House staff to New York City. “There’s no reason for Melania and me to move to a lower quality home in a backwater city, Trump proclaimed. With a few alterations, Trump Tower will be a far better location for the Executive Branch.
“We have already begun redesigning the exterior of the first two floors, and ordered beautiful sheets of white Alabama marble as facing. That will automatically make Trump Tower a White House, actually the Whitest House.
“When our staff move is complete, the building currently called the White House will become the “Diversity House.” Using Embedded LEDs, the Diversity House will feature various beige tones on its exterior walls. Once a month the walls will project a rainbow of colors to honor the LGBT community.
“Here in the Big Apple, the Whitest House will offer luxury suites to each Whitest House staffer, and special rooms with hidden exits for Secret Service people who entertain guests beyond the eyes of the media.
“To make this project profitable, I have arranged to sublet Washington’s former White House, to Mitt Romney, who spent nearly a billion dollars trying to live there in 2012. Mitt has already sublet some key attractions. For example, George Soros will occupy the Lincoln Bedroom for $5-million a year.
“Most profitable of all will be upscale business franchises on the lower floors. Bill Clinton has contracted to run a Hooters franchise, where he will personally interview all waitress candidates. John McCain will operate an indoor paintball franchise, specially equipped with live Iranian prisoners. Al Gore is negotiating for a laboratory where he will invent the world’s first Climate Change Control via Internet. His supporters have already notified the Nobel Prize judges in Oslo to ready another trophy.”
Pausing for dramatic effect, the billionaire exclaimed, “There’s something here for everyone, especially people who always wanted to live in the White House.”
“AND THAT, MY FRIENDS, IS THE ART OF THE DEAL!”
Dropping the mike, Trump departed, to the sound of thunderous applause.