Presidential Pets: Where Do They Stand on the Issues?

Last month, George Bush’s approval rating dropped to 31%. It would have dropped even lower had President Bush’s Scottish terrier, Barney, not participated in the latest telephone poll:
          “Press One for English, Two for Spanish, and Three if you’re a dog… Bark once if you disapprove of President Bush’s performance; bark twice if you approve of President Bush’s performance.”  “Woof! Woof!” If only peoplewere capable of such loyalty! Long after Karl Rove, Alberto Gonzales, and other top aides have bailed out on the President, Barney sits attentively as his master rehearses another presidential address Bush: “We have made great strides in Iraq…”
Barney: “Woof! Woof!” But cats, unlike dogs, have an independent streak, and the presidential cat, India, is no exception. (Bush naming his cat “India” angered some people in India, but think of how much worse it would have been if Laura had gone with George’s original choice, “Islam.”) India has been registered as an Independent all of her life, which, understandably, has been an embarrassment to the Bush administration.
Whenever India passes by Barney, she walks aloofly, with her nose in the air, as if to say, “stupid dog.” She is routinely cropped out of official White House photos because of this attitude. Nonetheless, India has been allowed to stay in the White House, where she is a source of constant irritation to Dick Cheney – hiding dead mice in his West Wing office and using the Vice President’s “out box” as her litter box.

       Being a bird, the presidential cockatoo, Gilbert, is incapable of holding any political opinions of his own. He merely mimics what others say around the White House. Unfortunately, Gilbert spent Bush’s first term within earshot of the Vice President’s office, where he picked up some foul language, totally unbecoming of any Christian bird (Squawk! F–k you! Squawk!). As a result, Gilbert’s cage was moved into the President’s Oval Office for the second term, where his language got even worse (Squawk! Take the Fifth! Squawk! Executive Privilege! Executive Privilege!).

Did Bush really stray from the true conservative values championed by Ronald Reagan, as some political analysts argue? I don’t know. There does seem to be some similarity between Bush and Reagan. Bush, like Reagan, believes in delegating authority, and as a result, he’s not always fully aware of his surroundings. This “keep me out of the loop” management style is not just confined to the President. It has filtered down to Bush’s aides and Cabinet members, who sometimes sound like Sergeant Schultz from Hogan’s Heroes: “I KNOW NOTHEEN!”

          Take, for instance, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. It’s been two months since his resignation, and already, he only has a foggy recollection of ever being Attorney General. This is not surprising, when you take a look at a typical workday in the Attorney General’s office:

          Gonzales: Good morning, Jane.

          Secretary: Good morning, Mr. Gonzales.

          Gonzales: What do I have on the calendar today, Jane – you know, I mean, lunch. I haven’t had Chinese in a while.

          Secretary: Well, Mr. Gonzales, before lunch, you have a meeting at 10:00 with Kyle Sampson.

          Gonzales: Kyle Sampson?

          Secretary: Your chief of staff.

          Gonzales: Jane, if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times: no telephone calls and no meetings! Can’t that Sampson guy find something else to do?

          Secretary: Well, Mr. Gonzales, Mr. Sampson was very insistent; he wants to talk to you about firing those U.S. Attorneys.

          Gonzales: BOOOORING! Thank goodness I remembered to bring my iPod to work today.

The Bush administration will certainly go down in history as the “Know-Nothing Administration.” And it’s not just limited to the Justice Department, either, as shown by this transcript of an early 2007 Bush Cabinet meeting:

          Bush:  Alberto, what’s this I hear about you attending a meeting on November 27 to discuss the firing of those U.S. Attorneys?

          Gonzales: It’s OK, Boss; I had my iPod turned on real loud the whole time – I didn’t hear a thing. Can I have it back now?

          Bush: You’ll get your iPod back after the meeting, if you sit quietly and pay attention. Dick, what do you know about “Scooter” Libby leaking the identity of that CIA operative?

          Cheney: Huh?

          Bush: It’s been in the paper for weeks.

          Cheney: Mr. President, I’ve warned you before about reading newspapers, with all their liberal bias. But in answer to your question, I don’t recall ever meeting this Scooter fellow, but if I ever did, he was just a casual acquaintance.

          Bush: He’s your chief of staff.

          Cheney: Oh…well, I haven’t been in the office much lately.

          Bush: Well, maybe it’s best you stay away a little longer. Dirk Kempthorne, my Secretary of the Interior: Is that your real name, “Dirk Kempthorne”? Sounds like the private eye from a cheap murder mystery.

          Kempthorne: Yes, Mr. President, “Dirk” is my real name.

          Bush: I saw on the news today that there’s strip-mining going on in Yellowstone National Park.

          Kempthorne:Never been to Yellowstone myself, Mr. President. Is that in Canada?

          Bush: You knucklehead! Even I know that Yellowstone’s in Maine! Well, that’s just great! NOBODY KNOWS ANYTHING ABOUT ANYTHING AROUND HERE! Let’s keep it that way. And if you ever do learn anything about anything, always remember to forget it. I don’t want any more scandals in the waning hours of my administration.

Gilbert:Squawk! I KNOW NOTHEEN!