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When Satire becomes Ironic

In January 2001, mere days before Dubya took office for the first time, satire magazine The Onion published a then-funny piece about president-elect Bush giving a speech assuring the country that ‘Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over’. Bush pledged to end the Clinton era — “eight long years characterized by unprecedented economic expansion, a sharp decrease in crime, and sustained peace overseas. The time has come to put all of that behind us.”

According to The Onion, Bush promised to attack the environment, send the nation into massive debt, deregulate dangerous, greedy industries, start “at least one Gulf War-level armed conflict”, bring back economic stagnation, and heal the “terrible wedge President Clinton drove between church and state”. They satirically had Bush concluding:

We as a people must stand united, banding together to tear this nation in two. Much work lies ahead of us: The gap between the rich and the poor may be wide, be there’s much more widening left to do. We must squander our nation’s hard-won budget surplus on tax breaks for the wealthiest 15 percent. And, on the foreign front, we must find an enemy and defeat it.

The ironic thing is, their over-the-top predictions came true. Pity that.



  1. Shawn wrote:

    If its one thing you can say about Bush is he knows how to epic fail!

    Monday, January 19, 2009 at 2:00 pm | Permalink
  2. Fiona wrote:

    The irony would be funny if the truth of it wasn’t so sad.

    Monday, January 19, 2009 at 2:07 pm | Permalink
  3. Jay Heiser wrote:

    This one is almost too ironic to be true, so I made a quick trip back to the Wayback Machine to verify that this article actually did exist. Here’s the link to a copy archived on Jan 18, 2001

    Monday, January 19, 2009 at 2:44 pm | Permalink
  4. Gregg Collins wrote:

    On the eve of the 2009 inauguration for Obama I would say that this time with the Dems in office we can really see a change that can hold fast and strong so long as both sides realize they are going to be filthy rich no matter what… Just print the money and our leaders will find a way over the next ten years to arrest it from the people and transform it into their gain.
    Former patriot of the system, now an advocate for the people! G. Collins

    Monday, January 19, 2009 at 3:07 pm | Permalink
  5. Fractal wrote:

    the only thing they didn’t guess was all the disasters he’d (cause/allow to happen)…. 911, Katrina, etc…

    Monday, January 19, 2009 at 9:29 pm | Permalink
  6. Aaron wrote:

    Fractal…He caused 9/11? He caused Katrina? None of these things were allowed to happen…but they did and it is unfortunate that it did. It wasn’t the disasters that defines the Bush administration, but the response.

    Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 1:05 am | Permalink
  7. Kale Radford wrote:

    Aaron dude, you are so right.
    The little deranged lefties do not have enough brain power to do anything other than Bush hate.
    Too bad they make up a majority of the electorate.
    Now we will really see their “change they believe in”.

    Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 12:27 pm | Permalink
  8. Tony wrote:

    It’s awesome that Bush SINGLE HANDEDLY destroyed the economy and ruined America. I think it’s so cool that ONE MAN can do that.

    Thursday, January 22, 2009 at 10:44 pm | Permalink
  9. Ben wrote:

    Aaron, I have to agree with you about the response.

    Tony, no one suggested that Bush did it all by himself. However, it was all on his watch. He gets the blame basically.

    Friday, January 23, 2009 at 7:25 am | Permalink
  10. penfold wrote:

    Bush’s incompetence upsets me
    Bush’s idiocy upsets me
    Bush’s style of Rovian politics that divided the country upsets me
    But more than all of this, Bush’s total inability to understand why people are angry upsets me. Katrina a “disappointment”, no WMDs a “disappointment”, the partisan nature of politics a “disappointment”.

    The mark of a good man is not always getting it right but being able to take responsibility for things. He’s not a man, he’s a worm.

    Saturday, January 24, 2009 at 7:39 am | Permalink
  11. rambler american wrote:

    Bush once famously said that he was a uniter, not a divider. How prophetic were those words. 80% of Americans believe that he was a failure.

    Saturday, January 24, 2009 at 4:27 pm | Permalink
  12. Reagan cut taxes and increased the deficit so that liberals could not increase spending. Americans and President Clinton really enjoyed the benefit of that plan! But by the second term, Clinton while having dalliances with interns allowed his lieutenants to run amuck; it was Rubin/Greenspan and friends that started the loose atmosphere at the Fed, the Treasury and the Securities and Exchange Commission that planted the seeds for the economic disaster of today. True, “W” didn’t slow this, but most today never to bother to realize that many seeds were planted before “W”. “W” wasn’t the sharpest crayon in the box, but a little investigation shows that some of what ails us started before “W”. His primary fault was being too lazaire faire about these issues. So now Obama plans to spend, spend, and spend some more to increase the deficit so much that no one including the dreaded conservatives will ever be able to cut taxes or reduce the size of government. I expect that at the logical conclusion of this tact, no one, save the welfare recipients will enjoy the benefit of that plan! Never ever in all of history has spending of others people’s money on other people been economically successful over the long run; in fact it eventually destroys economies….so spend, spend, spend is not likely to work this time either!

    Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 7:03 am | Permalink
  13. Frank Patton wrote:

    To piggyback on Ben Woodward’s comments, the first six years of the Bush administration saw the greatest increase in job creation (over 2 million new jobs), the lowest unemployment figures, and the highest stock market averages. The collapse of the housing sector was due to lending practices started in the Clinton administration and accelerated by Barney Frank and Chris Dodd in the Democratic congress. Banks were forced to make questionable loans or face stiff penalties. Most banks were smart enough to package them up and sell them off to Wall Street. Bank regulators went to Barney Frank several times to warn of the problems at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac but were ignored. This economic meltdown is the fault of the House Banking Committee and Wall Street.
    Also, many of the comments here from the “hate Bush” crowd are so shallow and uninformed. Don’t repeat what you hear from your friends, don’t take the easy way–go out and get the facts! The Katrina disaster could have been avoided if the governor of LA and mayor of N.O. had acted before the storm hit. The LA National Guard should have been called in. The 200 school buses that sat flooded in a parking lot should have been used for evacuation. Most of the people left behind bet that they could ride out the storm and lost their bet. Concerning 9/11, over two dozen potential attacks have been thwarted since 2001. I only hope that the next seven years are as safe.

    Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 9:59 am | Permalink
  14. Rey wrote:

    Frank, are you being ironic? Bush’s policies created approximately three million net jobs, while Clinton’s created approximately 23 million. While Bush was running for re-election, he was at great risk of being the first full-term president EVER to have ZERO job growth during his term of office. Bush, like Hoover, pushed for deregulation and tax cuts for the rich, and, like Hoover, caused a Depression.

    The Louisiana National Guard was in Iraq during Katrina. The “school buses” cite is so laughable I can’t even believe Freepers are still pulling it out, but please realize your argument there calls for school bus drivers to be the first responders in times of national emergency. FEMA, run competently, could easily have provided the necessary services during Katrina, as it did many times before for hurricanes during previous administrations.

    Concerning 9/11, it happened. Congratulating Bush for no subsequent failures to protect us is like congratulating the captain of the Titanic for no crashes since 1913.

    Wednesday, February 4, 2009 at 11:31 am | Permalink
  15. jeff wrote:

    holy crap frank patton. why are you not running for office? you have just got it all figured out. it was barney frank and chris dodd’s fault for the greatest economic collapse in history. totally.
    it wasn’t the years of deregulation of the banking industry during bush’s time in office.

    and you are so right about the LA national guard…they should have been called BACK FROM IRAQ to help with katrina. let me type that one out again because it seems like maybe you forgot about this detail…called BACK FROM IRAQ! forget trying to bring the iraqi people freedom. or wait…i’m confused…shouldn’t the national guard be doing that too?

    whoever you’re getting your news from is an idiot.


    Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 11:35 pm | Permalink
  16. Treece wrote:

    I honestly believe that had Bush NOT been in office, 9/11 would NOT have happened. It’s simple really: he didn’t listen to President Clinton about the “terrists”. Bush proves two things: 1) That one man CAN change the world and 2) Even an idiot can be the President if he is connected enough. So sad. Shut up, and give Obama a chance.

    Thursday, March 19, 2009 at 12:41 am | Permalink

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. Q marks the spot - Treasure Map 5 (Feb 2009) « Quaerentia on Friday, February 6, 2009 at 9:35 am

    […] Ouch!! When Satire becomes Irony – looking back at The Onion’s 2001 predictions about the Bush Presidency, it is shockingly prescient. I guess when originally written, they didn’t really believe it would all turn out like this. […]