This weekend, Hollywood’s “liberal elite” will converge in a decadent celebration of their ability to read lines convincingly, manipulate scenes and create fictional dramas that stir public emotion.

You know President Bush has to feel left out.

So in acknowledgment of the Bush administration’s similar achievements – in a somewhat different field – we humbly present: The Political Oscars, 2005.

Best Picture. One nomination for this prestigious award goes to a real dark horse: Andrew Natsios (CAS ’71), that beloved head of U.S. Agency for International Development. On Mar. 23, 2003, he claimed that the U.S. taxpayers’ contribution to the reconstruction in Iraq would be $1.7 billion. “We have no plans for any further-on funding for this,” he claimed.

Come on up, Andrew. Since the House of Representatives’ Budget Committee now estimates that total reconstruction cost to the U.S. will approach $75 billion over the next five years, your wildly inaccurate estimate ranks as one of the best financial pictures ever provided for the Iraq reconstruction.

In terms of the post-war reaction, honors in this category go to none other than our charming Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld. Don’t be bashful, Don. Let’s get a clip of the Best Picture nominee that Rumsfeld offered:

“There is no question but that [American troops] would be welcomed. Go back to Afghanistan, the people were in the streets playing music, cheering, flying kites . Saddam Hussein has one of the most vicious regimes on the face of the earth. And the people know that,” (PBS’ News Hour, Nov. 8, 2003).

Congratulations, guys.

Best Actor. This award goes to a giant in the industry whose work has affected millions of lives. That’s right – George W. Bush, those revival-style campaign stops, pie-in-the-sky speeches and fearmongering about everything from terrorism to social security were the best acting in his category we’ve seen all year.

George, you kept talking about how America’s duty is to aid the poor while pushing tax breaks that by and large benefited the rich. You mentioned that everyone should have access to health care while opposing universal government coverage and cutting edicaid. You stated passionately that America would always fight for freedom, but you have tolerated human rights abuses in Sudan, China, Saudi Arabia and your own military.

Frankly, we haven’t seen acting that good since Richard Nixon dominated this category 30 years ago.

Best Actress. No surprises here, folks. Condoleezza Rice – claim your prize! What a body of work this relatively young talent has produced. Let’s take a look at this statement from her Sept. 11 Commission testimony: “We did not have … threat information that was in any way specific enough to suggest something was coming in the United States.” This breathtaking acting ignores that famous Presidential Daily Briefing that she saw in August 2001, conveniently titled: “Bin Laden Determined to Attack inside United States.”

Faced with this evidence, Rice drew from a reserve deep inside of her, and stated that “[the briefing] did not warn of attacks inside the United States.”

Best Director. From Swift Boat veterans to gay marriage, this maestro created a beautiful fantasy world where Americans could forget the real problems facing our country and focus on prejudice and trivia.

Karl Rove, you’ve done it again. Please come up and – yes? What? Oh, sorry, folks, we’re just receiving word that Karl Rove cannot confirm or deny that he has anything to do with controlling Bush’s actions, and that this award should go to, eh, Laura Bush.

Okay, our, um, warmest congratulations to the First Lady.

And now, for some of the smaller, but no less important categories:

Best Original Screenplay. This is a joint award, going out to Bush’s small army of speechwriters making sure that the president never commits the horror of an unscripted moment.

This award will be accepted by Michael Gerson, the Christian Evangelical who inserts many of the Biblical references into Bush’s texts, and David Frum, who may have single-handedly restarted part of North Korea’s nuclear program with the phrase “axis of evil.”

Best Visual Effects. Whoever thought of Bush landing on the aircraft carrier in a flight suit to declare “Mission Accomplished,” please come up if you’re present. If not, we’d like that person who had Bush pose with a plate of turkey in Iraq one Thanksgiving. On second thought, this person might have already received recognition in the form of Best Director.

Best Sound Editing. Also multiple winners in this category – congratulations, Armstrong Williams, Maggie Gallagher and “Jeff Gannon” (a.k.a. Jim Guckert). All of these award recipients, while ostensibly independent journalists, actually consistently tailored their messages to what the Bush administration wanted (and/or paid) them to say.

Well, the orchestra is striking up that get-off-the-damn-stage music, so it looks like our time is up. But just remember, when it comes to producing style over substance – Hollywood isn’t alone in the business.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.