September 11, 2009
It sure is a good thing that the bumper Hopium crop from my Obama Chia heads has finally come in.
And not a moment too soon, with all that anger this week over federal health care that won't increase the deficit one thin dime.
Loyal readers know I've been tending my President Barack Obama Chia heads -- both Happy Obama and Determined Obama -- since I scored them moments before Walgreens took them off the shelves. I've been watering their terra cotta scalps, fertilizing, weeding with a tweezer.
And the other night, to prepare for the president's health-care reform speech to a joint session of Congress, I finally broke down and harvested the greenfros. My mix: 75 percent Happy Obama and 25 percent Determined Obama.
Then I cranked up the Jefferson Airplane for my favorite federal health-care tune, "White Rabbit," and watched the president's speech. An amazing calm washed over me.
"I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits either now or in the future. Period," said President Obama.
National health care and no deficits? Period?
"Most of the cost will be paid for with money already being spent -- but spent badly -- in the existing health-care system," he said. "The plan will not add to our deficit. The middle class will realize greater security, not higher taxes."
He'll accomplish this miracle by cutting wasteful spending?
If there's one thing the federal government is famous for, it's cutting wasteful spending. Our leaders slice away at costly programs, and when finished, there's no need to raise taxes. Then every deficit-free American can have a no-cost brownie sundae at Denny's and contemplate our shining future. When the feds promise to live within their means, you just know they'll do it.
Years ago, when Republicans were in power, they pushed Hopium's dangerous GOP equivalent -- Dopium. They, too, promised to cut wasteful federal spending. Yet government just kept getting larger.
Now Republicans claim to be worried about deficits again. But you know what they'll do if they get back in power. They'll pull their Dopium pipes from their congressional office freezers where they've stashed them, and spark up and buy more fighter bombers.
When the president spoke in Washington, it was obvious that at least one Republican hadn't smoked his Hopium. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) rudely shrieked "You lie!" when Obama said he would not extend federal health coverage to illegal immigrants.
Wilson's outburst shocked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi so much that she even made a face, an act once considered impossible. Pelosi moved her cheeks and jaws just enough to wrinkle up and register disgust.
Naturally, political writers of the left used Wilson to denounce incivility, but even that proves the powers of Hopium, because many forgot the booing of a Republican president by congressional Democrats just a few years ago. But that's Washington.
In Chicago, just hours before the president's speech before Congress, the Hopium clouds wafted over City Hall.
City aldermen weren't bothering about deficit-free federal health care that won't increase the deficit. They were pushing a 2016 Chicago Olympic Games at a pep rally disguised as a democracy.
Mayor Richard Daley got a 49-0 vote from his pet aldermen, and now our politicians have put taxpayers on the hook for any cost overruns.
But don't worry. Take a puff.
History teaches that when it comes to fantastically expensive public works programs, those cost overruns are the result of corruption, graft and greed. Yet the other day, Chicago aldermen promised to do what they do best: watch over everything and protect the taxpayers from insider deals and graft.
Unfortunately, some critics are still at large, complaining that the mayor's cronies will cash in on Olympic gold. But the mayor, in his wisdom, says such critics are paralyzed with fear. He might be right.
Maybe the naysayers can't see the rosy economic future, once Chicago hosts the No-Graft Games of 2016.
"There's uncertainty about any change," Daley said. "You have to have vision about the future. ... You have to have confidence that the future can be bright."
It's so bright my eyes hurt. Our federal government will cut wasteful spending to pay for health care. And Chicago politicians will ride herd over Olympic corruption.
What worries me is what happens to my perma-grin if I run out of Hopium. My Obama Chia heads must have sensed my apprehension, and they began singing in the voice of Grace Slick, imploring me to plant more crops. Their soothing voices still ring in my deficit-free brain:
Just remember what the dormouse said.
Feed your heads. Feed your heads.
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