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The Onion’s predictions for the Bush presidency

I don’t know when The Onion stopped being a must-read website for me. Probably sometime around the time Jon Stewart became must-see TV. Or approximately when the daily news became so depressing that Onion-style absurdity didn’t seem so funny any more. You know, ’round about the time the US invaded Iraq for no especially good reason.

This remarkable Onion story from 1/17/2001 is worth reading both as a reminder of how good The Onion can be (could be?) at times, and how prescient. Titled “Bush: ‘Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over'”, it’s very hard to believe this wasn’t written last week.

During the 40-minute speech, Bush also promised to bring an end to the severe war drought that plagued the nation under Clinton, assuring citizens that the U.S. will engage in at least one Gulf War-level armed conflict in the next four years.

“You better believe we’re going to mix it up with somebody at some point during my administration,” said Bush, who plans a 250 percent boost in military spending. “Unlike my predecessor, I am fully committed to putting soldiers in battle situations. Otherwise, what is the point of even having a military?”

On the economic side, Bush vowed to bring back economic stagnation by implementing substantial tax cuts, which would lead to a recession, which would necessitate a tax hike, which would lead to a drop in consumer spending, which would lead to layoffs, which would deepen the recession even further.

One mention of a housing bubble or collateralized debt obligations and I would have accused The Onion of having a time machine.

Looking for insights on the future – and perhaps a few investing tips – I turned to the Onion again in an inauguration week. Alas, while the Onion’s roduction values have gotten much better, the content… well.. here’s “Congress Debates Adding Elaborate Dance To Obama’s Inauguration Ceremony”.

4 thoughts on “The Onion’s predictions for the Bush presidency”

  1. I remember a reference to that article in 2004 or so when I saw Al Franken, Paul Krugman, and Kevin Phillips in Berkeley for a rountable panel. I think was Krugman who made mention of the Onion article and said back then, “It’s a scary day when the satirists are reporting the news.” And this was before Bush II even got in to his second term.

    I agree with you that the Onion started to be less funny only due to how sad the state of things were becoming, although ‘U.N. Acquires Nuclear Weapon’ was pretty funny on last week’s print run.


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