I think we can all agree that this has been a year that won't look any better in retrospect than it did the first go-round. So, once again, we bring you 2009: the Year in PREview:
JANUARY: President Barack Obama is sworn in with his hand on the same Bible Lincoln used at his first inauguration. He has a Christian, anti-gay-rights minister give the invocation and a Christian minister giving the benediction. He invokes God multiple times during his speech. Right-wing bloggers and pundits insist this just proves that Obama is, in their words, "A Muslim. Or an agnostic. Or something. We're not really sure what, but we know it's something really bad.
Maybe he's a Goth. Yeah, that's it. A Goth."
FEBRUARY: Two weeks after the inauguration, Fox News airs the first of a 470-part series of reports (hosted by theoretically Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman) on "the Failed Obama Administration." The first one is entitled, "So Where's That Economic Turnaround, Mr. Smart Guy? Huh? HUH?" A motion at a Democratic Party meeting to censure Lieberman is voted down because, as Majority Leader Harry Reid says, "we're a big-tent party that encourages different viewpoints, even unfair and stupid ones."
MARCH: President Obama states that he does not intend to investigate or prosecute alleged war crimes by Bush administration officials who authorized the torture of detainees. "We believe," he states, "in looking forward, not looking back." O.J. Simpson immediately files an appeal of his armed robbery conviction under the new legal theory of "Hey, let's not dwell on the past."APRIL: Hollywood is shocked when insanely maternal actress Angelina Jolie and husband Brad Pitt accidentally adopt a Japanese Little League team while passing through the Los Angeles Airport.
MAY: The Obama family, fully settled into the White House, adopts a dog, a male sheepdog they call Rags. Hard-core Hillary Clinton supporters declare the choice of a male dog "a slap in the face to hard-working females everywhere and proof of Obama's sexism and misogyny," while the Republican National Committee immediately files suit to force the disclosure of the dog's AKC papers. When the White House announces that Rags is not registered with the AKC, Fox News begins a nightly series of investigative reports on "Rags-Gate: What Is Obama Hiding?"
JUNE: The Big Three automakers return to Congress to ask for another $75 billion in loans. When asked what they'd done with the previous money allocated to them by President Bush, Chrysler's CEO Bob Nardelli looks at the ground sullenly, shuffles his feet and mutters, "I don't know. Stuff." GM CEO Rick Wagoner holds up a crayon drawing of an electric car he claims they're designing. Unfortunately, after being questioned more closely, Wagoner admits that car's electric engine has to be charged by a generator that runs on gasoline. "Clearly," Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker claims, "this is entirely the fault of the United Auto Workers." The automobile industry is saved at the 11th hour when Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie adopt Nardelli, Wagoner, and the entire United Auto Workers.
JULY: A total eclipse of the sun causes right-wing bloggers and pundits to claim that the Obama administration is a "complete and dismal failure." "If we had only elected John McCain," theoretically Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman states while guest-hosting the Rush Limbaugh radio show, "the Moon Dragon would never have dared to eat the Sun."
AUGUST: Several banks and Wall Street investment firms return to Congress, also demanding additional bailout money. "It's those danged autoworkers, ya know?" one hedge fund manager shrugs.
SEPTEMBER: Hollywood paparazzi appear before Congress and request a $10 billion bailout, claiming that their business has been thrown into turmoil due to the lack of crazy antics by pop singer Britney Spears. "She hasn't shaved her head, dropped her kid, or attacked a car in months," dejected photog Guido Kleinmann tells a Senate subcommittee. "We're dyin' out here. Also, autoworkers." A compromise is reached when Congress agrees to fly drug-addled UK pop star Amy Winehouse to L.A.
OCTOBER: Theoretically Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman disrupts a presidential address to Congress by throwing a spear at the podium while President Obama is speaking. Senate Democrats vote down a measure to have Lieberman stripped of his committee chairmanships while in federal custody because, in the words of nominal Majority Leader Harry Reid, "Hey. What can I say? We're chumps."
NOVEMBER: President Obama, following the tradition of presidents before him, pardons the White House turkey. Congressional Republicans immediately demand an FBI investigations into whether the pardon was politically motivated, while Rush Limbaugh, through a mouthful of his special-recipe oyster and Oxycontin stuffing, lambastes Obama as a "phony" for eating Thanksgiving dinner anyway.
DECEMBER: Just in time for Christmas, Sarah Palin releases her political manifesto, "I Betcha You Think You're Pretty Doggone Smart, Doncha?" In what her literary agent (Joe Lieberman) calls a display of her "authorly maverickness," the book contains no actual words, just pictures, crude cartoons, and the occasional pop-up page.
Here's to the passing of a kidney stone of a year! May 2009 be better all around.