Weekly Breakdown: Presidential Vices

• The biggest news from the past week was Mitt Romney’s selection of Congressman Paul Ryan as the Republican vice presidential candidate. Both campaigns rushed to define him, with Republicans arguing that he is a bold proposer of entitlement reforms that would save Medicare, and Democrats countering that his budget plan cuts programs for the middle class in order to pay for tax breaks for the rich. Meanwhile, old southern women have defined him as “a tall drink a’ water with handsome eyes, who I’d be smitten to go tumblin’ ova’ a high cliff for, if ya’ll are catchin’ my drift.”

• Seeking to regain the spotlight, current Vice President Joe Biden said he was in Virginia when he was actually in North Carolina, then took on a southern accent and told a largely black audience that Republicans would “put ya’ll back in chains”. When advised that “any publicity is good publicity” was actually not the first rule of politics, Biden responded, “Well then where did I get that from? Ten Commandments? Fight Club? Or is that the one where you don’t ever talk about it? I hope that’s not politics because I wouldn’t be good at that one.”

• The next day, actually in Virginia, Biden rhetorically asked, “’Folks, where’s it written we cannot lead the world in the 20th Century in making automobiles?” When asked for comment on the gaffe, Biden’s new counterpart Paul Ryan responded, “It’s actually a riddle, and the answer is old USSR history textbooks.” Because Paul Ryan is brilliant.

• On Thursday, Biden attended a meeting with President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Many speculated that the meeting could be about Clinton moving into the VP slot. The White House announced later in the day that they’d be sticking with Biden, who personally added, “I was the one who called this meeting. I wanted to assure Secretary Clinton that I will not let Republicans put her back in the kitchen.”

• On The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, First Lady Michelle Obama scolded multiple Olympic gold medal winner Gabby Douglas for eating an Egg McMuffin to celebrate her gymnastics victory. In response, Douglas queried Obama, “I’m sorry, how many straight backflips can you do? Or did you win your Olympic medals in the wet blanket competition?”

• A man stranded on his jet-ski swam 3 miles to shore, climbed an 8 foot fence, and walked undetected across the JFK runway right into the terminal. The incident was viewed as a huge indictment of the airport’s new, supposedly state-of-the-art security system, and a sign of vulnerability to terrorists. But let’s be honest, if the terrorists become capable of creating an Aquaman/Spiderman hybrid with invisibility powers, then we’ve got much bigger problems.

• Following similarly unusual purchases by the Department of Homeland Security and even more oddly, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Social Security Administration released a solicitation for 174 thousand rounds of bullets. When reached for comment, an SSA spokesman stated grimly, “We heard about Paul Ryan’s plans for Medicare. The Social Security Administration will not go down so easy.”
 
• On Wall Street, stocks went up on rumors that they might be unchained, and on a heavy US investment in gold.
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