New year features bad news for Bush

1991, the Year of the Hog, is gone, but its spirit lives on.

Almost a year ago to the day, George “Herbert Hoover” Bush began his labor-management dispute with Saddam Hussein which turned into a Tidy Little War for everyone (except for the Iraqi people.)

But now all the annoying little details of the domestic policy thing, such as the economy, have come home to roost and the swaggering Texas Oil Man from Kennebunkport, Maine, is showing signs of cracking.

On his most recent world tour he waved the victory sign to Australians, which is the same thing there as flipping someone the bird. Now the Aussies know how the middle class feels.

Last week he went to Japan as a hard-bargaining negotiator, prepared to pry the Japanese market open with a Jaws of Life.

Instead, he shuffled home looking like a Lower Wacker Drive panhandler, hat in hand and a pocketful of promises. All this after he collapsed at a state dinner from the 24-hour flu or a 12-hour sake bender.

In any normal situation in a nation where non-millionaires under 50 voted, we would have to pity Bush. He would be doomed. His is not an enviable lot, after all. He came into office after the country’s largest financial coke binge and now has to ride out the crash, dealing with the enormous lopsided cardhouse left by his predecessor.

He handled it well. With his relative youth, broken English and a constant eye on the polls, he won the hearts and minds of the monied baby boomers and the MTV crowd.

But now the heat is on and the Drug War and occasional visits to classrooms and flag factories won’t cut it. He may even have to hire a stronger silent running mate than Willie Horton.

In other business, 1991 saw the final breath of the Soviet Union.

In his attempt to nurse the hopelessly rotten stump of socialism back to life, Gorbachev managed only to bring everyone out of a blissful 74-year doctrine-and-vodka stupor and arouse in them a raging appetite for solid food and hard currency, which cost him his job.

But don’t weep for the man with the map on his head. He’s been offered a job at several universities, at least those that can pay their teachers.

As you read this, the first nuclear missiles are probably being driven over the border and haggled over in a Pakistan flea market. In the midst of runaway prices and machine-gun bursts, the average Russian is trying to build an economy and raise the standard of living, at least to that of rural Brazil.

On another sobering note, murders in the U.S. topped 24,000 in 1991. That’s half of the losses we suffered in Vietnam over nearly a decade of fighting. The toll is blamed increasingly on gangs and their armies of rachet-head pistol-toting punks—youths, as the police records call them.

The Dalai Lama still can’t go home.

Bush and all four living ex-presidents lined up for a photo that can only inspire a second Mount Rushmore. It would make a handy place to bury nuclear waste and the mountains of shredded paper from the Iran-Contra and BCCI investigations. Future generations might even learn something from it.