This article was originally published on Humorality, on July 20, 2009.
Let Him Entertain You
In an afternoon press conference in Atlanta, Georgia, President Barack Obama today announced the replacement of his cabinet with a solid-oak entertainment center. The announcement came just after a speech discussing the difficult time that Atlanta residents have had due to the fires set by Union troops, a speech which ended with the president’s promise to “provide hope” to whoever loaded the teleprompter with selections from Gone with the Wind.
When asked by reporters whether the recent string of failed cabinet appointees had anything to do with his decision, the president indicated a much deeper issue. “The cabinet that I inherited from the previous administration was a throwback to a bygone era, a time when presidents refused to make decisions without constant input from a team of advisors. I ran on a platform of change, and the change we need in Washington requires that I make decisions based on the will of the people. The ability to watch network programming on the entertainment center’s new 60-inch plasma display will play a major role in discerning the people’s will.”
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, who also fielded softball questions from news organizations, indicated an accelerated replacement schedule for the cabinet. “The President plans to make this transition as painless as possible. He has already identified several Fortune 100 companies whose CEOs he would like to replace with departing cabinet members.”
Presidents since George Washington have depended on a trusted team of advisors to supplement the president’s understanding of key areas of national interest, including international affairs (Secretary of State), financial concerns (Secretary of the Treasury), and even local issues such as parenting and childbirth (Secretary of Labor). As the nation has grown, so has the cabinet, from an initial group of just six members to today’s crowd of twenty-two leaders. “They just wanted to sit around and talk all the time,” said Obama in answer to a question about the need for the cabinet. “It got real old real fast. Why do you think I left Congress?”
The president made his cabinet-replacement remarks in front of a furniture rental center in Decatur, a suburb of Atlanta. The “rent-to-own” speech was just one of several stops in a multi-city tour where the president is seeking to raise support for his economic stimulus proposals. Mr. Obama was due to give similar presentations later in the week at a pawn shop in Nashville, and at a payday-loan center in Baltimore. “These are tough economic times,” the president told a crowd of about twenty laid-off newspaper reporters, “but I refuse to let the tough times get America down, especially when they can have a brand new washer-dryer combination in their home for as little as $24.95 per week, with a two-year contract.”
Later in the afternoon, Mr. Obama formerly asked congress for $4 billion to cover the long-term rental costs for the entertainment center, plus a second round of bonus payments for executives at insurance carrier AIG. The house is expected to pass the legislation quickly, but the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry demanded a chance to question the entertainment center nominee to ensure that the wood-based components in the unit adhered to the expectations of the government’s Food Pyramid, or some other pyramid scheme under that committee’s jurisdiction.
“I believe that this is the right move for my administration, and for the nation,” said the president in a closing statement. “When I asked Michelle to select an entertainment center for the former cabinet room, I knew that she would choose a unit that reflected the forward-looking goals of this administration. And the rich color of the new system is a refreshing change from the plain wooden faces that I had to look at before.”