"Yee-haw!" I yell.
I've been listening to NPR againBob Edwards interviewing
James Doty, once a lawyer for George W. Bush, later general counsel
for the SEC. The talk is about how George W., back in his Texas days,
was 34 weeks late in notifying the SEC that he'd sold $848,560 worth
of his Harken Energy stock six months before it lost 75% of its value.
Doty says that the SEC release letter in response found
nothing wrong with that. Edwards points out that while the SEC took
no action, the letter explicitly refuses to exonerate George W. Not
so, Doty says.
"Let me find it," Edwards says. "Let me find it."
He finds itand quotes directly from the SEC letter: the
letter's contents "must in no way be construed as indicating that the
party has been exonerated."
Unfazed, Doty says "I think the release prohibits people
from representing it as exoneration."
Which is, of course, exactly how Doty had just represented
And that's when, in loud-mouthed indignation, I yell
"Yee-haw!" Because I'm getting excited again, see, more
excited than I've been since Watergate.
It's been a long calm spell. I sort of dozed through the
administrations of Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, and
Clinton. (I didn't get nearly as aroused over Bill and Monica as Ken
And that 28-year snooze took a toll on my physical
well-being. I went bald. My beard turned gray. My cholesterol and
Prostate Specific Antigen counts went up. I had to get bifocals, my
back gave out, my toenails made small children cry. And I no longer
had buttocks. My gluteus maxima became my gluteus minima.
I was a mess.
But lately I've been feeling like a kid again. Our children
and grandchildren have noticed.
"This," my grandchildren squeal from the hammock I'm
swinging them in, "is the highest you've ever pushed us!"
"The color is back in your cheeks," my son observes. "You
haven't yelled at the TV like this since 1974." It started
last fall when Enron employees lost their life savings while their
CEO, "Kenny Boy" Lay (as the President calls him), and other top
officials were making out like bandits. That's when we found out that
Kenny Boy had been best buddies with George W. and one of his largest
campaign contributors. Republican guru Kevin Phillips
wrote in the L.A. Times that "Not in memory has a single major company
grown so big in tandem with a presidential dynasty and a corrupted
political system." The Bush family, he wrote, had been trading favors
with Enron since 1988 and he drew comparisons to the Teapot Dome
scandal of the Harding administration. That got my vital
bodily fluids flowing again.
The Truth, Mainly
And they kept flowing when Judicial Watch (one of Clinton’s
toughest critics) filed suit against Halliburton, claiming the company
overstated revenues by $445 million between 1999 and 2001. Dick
Cheney, you’ll remember, was CEO until the election of 2000.
My adrenaline really kicked in when President George W.
Bush announced that corporations should "put an end to all company
loans to corporate officers"even though he himself accepted company
loans from Harken in 1986 and 1988 while he was a corporate officer
And my juices flowed exuberantly when the president told
Wall Street that "In the long run, there's no capitalism without
no wealth without character"thereby causing seismic
rumbling as Jay Gould, J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, John D.
Rockefeller, William Randolph Hearstamong othersguffawed and
snorted from their graves. But here's what really fired up
all my internal organs:
My wife and I got our quarterly report on our TIAA-CREF
retirement fund, some of which is tied up in the stock market.
Modesty and shame prevent me from revealing just how much smaller our
nest egg is now than it was three months ago, but let me say that more
than anything else, that really put the color back in my cheeks, that
really made me yell at the TV. My son came up with a
frightening theory: given last week's NY Times/CBS News Poll showing
that two thirds of Americans believe the Bush administration is "more
interested in protecting the interests of large companies than those
of ordinary Americans," I'm not alone. So it's not just me,
my son said, it's two thirds of the nation that's been revitalized by
indignation. All those vital bodily fluids are bringing the color
back to our collective cheeks as we the people yell at the TV.
And here's the kicker: that renewed nation-wide vitality, my son
explains, is what the Bushies are giving us as a National Health
Retired English Professor Leon Satterfield writes to salvage clarity
from his confusion. His column appears on alternate Mondays. His e-mail