Paul Greenberg

For those fortunate souls who didn't have to sit through the president's State of the Union speech Tuesday night out of a sense of duty, or maybe just masochism, here is a brief summary and free translation -- very free:

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, distinguished guests, fellow Americans and faithful subjects:

The State of the Union is much better thanks to my efforts over the past three years to improve your poor wretched lives -- efforts unparalleled since Abraham Lincoln, Lyndon Johnson, and maybe Martin Van Buren -- to restore our nation's economic health. Those efforts have been highly successful, no matter what you think. Or feel or see or know.

Thanks to our federal government's having invented the fracking process to extract natural gas from shale formations, much the way Al Gore invented the Internet, we are making dramatic progress in solving the Energy Crisis and generally repairing the damage done to the middle class by the previous administration. (Middle Class: a general term for everyone in the sound of my voice who can vote.) Rest assured: If anything's wrong with this country, it's George W. Bush's fault. But I must be honest: It wasn't all his fault. Some of it was Dick Cheney's.

But now, every day in every way, we're getting better and better thanks to my brilliant leadership. My fellow Americans, you can take my word for it. Who are you going to believe, me or those lying unemployment figures? You can feel the progress. Just look around you, but not too closely. I told you we would keep joblessness below 8 percent, and I only missed it by a percentage point or two. Why quibble? Besides, I killed Osama bin Laden.

I say we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules, except maybe Solyndra and a few other companies, banks and investment houses too big to fail, or that have political connections with my campaign, or that have had the foresight to become Government Sponsored Enterprises.

We are fast approaching that messianic time when the oceans begin to recede, the planet to heal, and payroll taxes are put off again. Deficits? What's a few more millions/billions/trillions between friends? Pay no attention to that national debt behind the curtain. Just remember that I killed Osama bin Laden.

My fellow Americans, if Congress will just get off its duff and spend more there'll be pie in the sky and enough for everybody who votes right. This I believe: American business and industry can compete with anyone in the world if those fat cats will just pay more taxes, stop exploiting the masses, and generally follow my orders. Look at Mitt Romney's tax return, if you can lift it, and notice all the tax breaks he gets just for investing in the American economy. I say to American business tonight: I'm from the federal government and I'm here to help you. I killed Osama bin Laden, didn't I?

My overseas contingency operations are completely unlike George W. Bush's war on terror despite a certain superficial resemblance in goals, methods, successes and everything else. Mainly because the name is different, and because these wars -- I mean military operations -- are mine.

Just as I vowed, we are going to close down the stockade at Guantanamo and refrain from trying war criminals in military courts. Just as soon as it's not too dangerous and impractical. Maybe by the next decade, or the next century, or whenever we're no longer threatened by terrorists. Eric Holder at Justice will tell us when it's safe.

As not only president of the United States but governor of each of these states, I will see to it that we outlaw drop-outs and keep those little suckers in school till they graduate and become the colleges' problem. Our universities don't have to teach near enough remedial courses as it is. And I killed Osama bin Laden.

My fellow Americans, we all know Washington is dysfunctional, and I want to assure you I have nothing to do with it. I don't even live in this town, I just drop by now and then.

I can't emphasize this too much: I have nothing to do with Washington's petty, partisan politics. Only those obstructionist Republicans in the House are responsible for all this gridlock. My roots are out in the country, on the campaign trial.

Now to sum up foreign affairs in 100 words or less: I want to assure all those brave, freedom-loving heroes who launched the Arab Spring that we shall never desert you in your hour of victory and until then will exercise the greatest discretion. We will also prevent those madmen in Iran from developing a nuclear weapon until the very moment they have one.

I think that about covers it. God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America. Did I mention that I killed Osama bin Laden?

At this point, members of Congress applaud for 5.7 minutes, and then file out singing, to the tune of Britannia Rules the Waves, 'So-lyn-dra, So-lyn-dra, So-lyn-dra rules the Sun!' Followed by the hymn "How Great We Art."

The End. Mercifully.


Paul Greenberg

Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.