I really, really want to be a member of the Bush administration. I wish I'd realized what a cool job it was earlier, but there's still time. Let's look at the perks.
For one thing, I could get a nickname. I've never had a nickname. It could be Jon-Boy or Mr. Toasty or Smallfoot -- the president does not have a flair for nicknames, only a penchant -- but quality is not really the issue. I mean, Scooter is a dopey nickname, and yet Scooter Libby still got to be the assistant to the Eater of Worlds. He would still hold that job had he not been caught lying.
That's another thing I could do as a member of the Bush administration: I could lie. I could lie to Congress and the FBI and pretty much everybody, knowing the president had my back. If I ever got caught (not likely), brought to trial (less likely) and convicted (heh!), I'd just have to wait until after the sentencing and get a pardon or a commutation or a surgical extraction from a minimum-security prison.
And, if all that fails, I'd still have the Supreme Court on my side. Scalia could write an opinion explaining that it was never the intention of the framers of the Constitution for me to go to jail. Heck, they didn't even know me.
If I were a lawyer, I might worry that a felony conviction would hamper my ability to practice law. But then I would remember: I haven't practiced law in 30 years. I could become a lobbyist and hang out with my friends, or I could just retire with my ill-gotten gains.
Another advantage of being a member of the Bush administration: ill-gotten gains.
And suppose I were to invite a pig to a meeting of my top aides. If some disaffected ex-employee mentioned my habit of bringing pigs into the room, I could say that I have no recollection of any pig in the room. When faced with evidence to the contrary, I could say that, although I have no memory of a pig being in the room, I now accept that there was a pig in the room. All I remember about the meeting was the cookies in the center of the table. Apparently, the pig also remembered the cookies.
Eventually, I might have to resign to spend more time with my family. But I like spending time with my family. It's pretty much a win-win for me.
The best part of being a member of the Bush administration is that I could do anything I wanted. Suppose I want to dig a gold mine in Colorado. (I like gold.) Congress might pass the No Digging for Gold in Colorado Act, but then the president would issue a secret signing statement saying that the administration reserved the right to dig for gold in Colorado if it were an issue of national security.
Then I would subcontract the actual digging part to a private enterprise, which would charge twice what it actually cost, but I would not care because the government would be paying for it.
This is an important part of being part of the Bush administration: remembering that I hate the government, even though I am part of the government. The thing I really hate is taxes. I want taxes to be so low that they cover only the costs of whatever war my administration wants to fight, plus pay my mining people. The rest of it: Hey, isn't that why we have faith-based private organizations? They take up the slack. They fill the need. The government doesn't fill the need; it just digs the holes.
If things got really hot for me, I just could declare that I was a separate branch of government. The Department of Gold and Wars, which I head, is not really part of the executive branch because my duties include "laying down the law" to insubordinate underlings, which clearly falls within the purview of the legislative branch. So, actually, no laws at all apply to me at any time, ever, and I am free to kill any celebrities who annoy me.
Finally, I would get to appoint my friends to stuff. Are you my friend? Would you like to be a federal prosecutor? How about an inspector of mines? Plenty of positions open at the Park Service. Want to wear a cute hat and point at squirrels? We could get a special secret appropriation for your salary (whaddya think? $300K? Sound about right?), and you could live in a brown building surrounded by lonely young men and women.
Maybe I'll just appoint myself to that job. The gold mine does not seem to be yielding, you know, gold. Also, and this would be optional, I could wear one of those cool earpieces with the curly wires going down into my coat. And I could talk into my wrist. No microphone necessary; just my wrist.
© 2007 The San Francisco Chronicle