OK, that's it. I'm throwing in the towel on saying anything nice about President Bush.
For a year or so, I used public opinion polling data to come up with suggestions along the lines that the president's advisers were pointing their boss in the wrong direction.
Finally, last week, I pointed out many of the good things about Bush's America.
Now, it seems the same conservatives who have cursed me for so long for not "supporting the president" are now equally annoyed at my defense of him.
After last week's column, I received scores of e-mails from around the country. One and only one of them said something positive about the president (or about me).
This tells me two things. First, the conservative base in America has basically given up on the White House, at least temporarily.
Second, the public's mood has grown so surly that writing straight political analysis is no longer safe for my health.
So I'm going to try analyzing and interpreting public opinion in a farcical way. At the least, maybe somebody will get a chuckle out of what seem to be mostly somber circumstances.
Remember though, levity means light-hearted. So if I miss my mark in trying to bring a smile to your face, write it off as a not-so-funny day on my part -- and not as maliciousness.
My sense of humor was shaped by the 1960s television classic "The Beverly Hillbillies." This silly rural comedy, in fact, offered riotous commentary about people and the society they live in.
In marveling at the Bush White House -- where an epic staff "shake-up" has been predicted for weeks -- I've found myself wondering whether we're about to witness the end of the domination of the innocent and kind-hearted Uncle Jed (a.k.a. George Bush) by the slick and obsequious banker Mr. Drysdale (real-time identity dramatically withheld for now).
It's not a bad analogy. After all, Uncle Jed struck oil much the way George W. struck political riches -- by firing a lucky shot in the right place at the right time. And up came a bubbling crude. Power, that is. Texas "P."
Sure enough, since taking the reins, Bush seems to have had the happy-go-lucky attitude of "I know I'm being played, but really I have the upper hand." Just like Jed.
Then there's the brilliant Miss Jane Hathaway (a.k.a. Condoleezza Rice). With her perfectly ordered notebooks and her perfectly enunciated French words, she's goading the newly crowned powerbroker in this direction or that.
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