Man, I didn't know what I was in for when I launched this contest: close to 400 entries, some of them mini-State of the Union addresses, most of them extremely smart. One thing that's clear: We are all so steeped in the rhetoric of Bush/Cheney & Co. that we can parrot it remarkably well.
Points were given for pithiness. Mike Reinhardt and Steven J. Forsberg were disqualified for writing long dialogues (between Cheney and, respectively, Tim Russert and Rush Limbaugh)—although both entries were brilliant enough for an honorable mention. (Due to popular demand, I have posted them in the Fray: here and here.)
Recurring themes: Terrorist plots, all Clinton's fault, Halliburton for rebuilding, the need for drilling now more than ever, no global warming because it's a deep freeze. Two writers had Cheney suggesting that yellowcake uranium had been used to blow a hole in the ozone layer: funny. Many respondents pointed out that Cheney would be hiding, not speaking, but there's a twist in The Day After Tomorrow that makes this less likely. (Is that enough of a spoiler for you?)
The winners and runners-up were chosen with great difficulty. You're all winners. God bless America.
"It is now clear, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that Mother Nature is responsible for the death of our citizens and the damage to our cities. And I can assure you that we will capture her. Dead or alive.
"In 2002, our intelligence sources confirm that Mother Nature arranged for a secret meeting in Afghanistan with Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, the mastermind of 9/11. She was attempting to procure the very weather of mass destruction that has now been deployed to such tragic effect. Mother Nature is also well-known to Saddam Hussein.
"The CIA has proof that Mother Nature was behind Hurricanes Andrew and Gloria and Hugo. And she has destroyed over 540 trailer parks in the Midwest alone.
"With the help of Attorney General Ashcroft and the FBI, we are questioning meteorologists of Arabic descent, and we are encouraging them to help us catch this cowardly hater of freedom and liberty.
"The Democrats would have you believe that these sinister acts of violence were somehow our own fault; that the use of gasoline, the very lifeblood of the greatest economy of all time, directly resulted in a wall of ice burying Manhattan. Not only is this preposterous and scientifically laughable, but it insults the memories of the brave men and women who died at the hands of a ruthless terrorist organization. Sen. Kerry can blame me, but I will not stand by while he blames the American people.
"Our great nation will prevail in this struggle, and God favors our undertakings. At some point soon, once we get a break in this weather, I will return to the surface of our fine planet. Until that time, stay the course, remain vigilant, and don't forget your mittens."
"I have seen and am deeply disturbed by the photos of the recent climate change in the northern portions of our great country. It's strong stuff, and I would hope that the media would exercise restraint in the release of these images. There's a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it.
"We have not ascertained the cause of these events and have not ruled out terrorism. My thoughts go out to the heroes who have committed the ultimate sacrifice to keep this country energy independent. But there's no question but that there was some kind of fundamental breakdown that needs to be thoroughly investigated and steps taken to make sure it never happens again. I would like to point out that this administration has been out front on the issues of the environment and energy. These events only underscore our need to pass sound energy legislation that promotes new technology and new production and make our country less dependent on foreign sources of energy. I have recalled my energy task force and they have informed me that no amount of conservation would have kept the events under discussion from occurring. But it would be premature at this point to conclude that we know everything, or that all the decisions have been made. They haven't.
"Thank you and God bless America."
"Previous ice ages have helped create our precious energy resources by crushing, pressurizing, and transforming ancient plant and animal life into the coal, oil, and natural gas we depend on today. The current glaciation we are experiencing is part of an ongoing natural process. Today millions of heroic Americans made the ultimate sacrifice so that they can become the hydrocarbon fuels that generations of future Americans will depend on to light and heat their homes, schools, and churches. We salute the efforts of these valiant energy warriors in moving America closer to the day we finally achieve energy independence."
—Brian W. Robinson
"The people of the United States have never backed down from a challenge, especially one that has so directly affected our own homeland. Our government, under the leadership of President George W. Bush, is committed to prosecuting the War on Winter through whatever vigorous means necessary and punishing the environmentalists and extreme greens who have unleashed this terrible devastation upon the world.
"We will hold firm on the War on Winter. We will not cut and run, and we will not shy away from our duty to protect the (remaining) American people. We will fight the War on Winter by developing new industrial technology that will allow us to make the world even warmer, melting these new ice caps which have invaded our homeland. Even now, a new bill before the relocated Congress will provide for the development of new, mildly super-subsidized, super-warm industrial energy and manufacturing concerns. President Bush has assured me he will sign this bill as soon as it hits his desk in the Temporary White House of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
"Our resolve is strong. We will reheat America. We will reheat the globe. We will defeat the environmental naysayers. We will bring the architects of Kyoto to justice. We will defeat Winter."
"With regard to the present situation, there's no question but what there was some kind of fundamental breakdown in the global weather patterns that needs to be thoroughly investigated so steps can be taken to make sure it never happens again.
"I think it's also important to point out, though, that these weather aberrations were uncovered by civilian authorities. This isn't something the press uncovered. There obviously are military implications involved here as well. These are being investigated by the military. This is something that is being handled as is appropriate through the regular military channels. There are questions here in terms of the release of this kind of information. There are lots of legal issues around the question of what information you release and when and how you release it to the public at large and how this material should be treated. So, I believe the appropriate government departments need time to do their jobs assessing this, and then they can make this material accessible to the Congress, but then there will have to be a decision made what and at what point what is appropriate to be released to the public.
"Therefore, at this point I don't want to characterize these events beyond what I have already said. I think it would be inappropriate for me to do that. It's clear, as I have already stated, that there was a fundamental breakdown there someplace, and it's important that it be thoroughly investigated.
"I'm trying to get a little context here because people are trying to figure out how big a problem this may be. There may not be anything else out there, or there may be more. And the way to find out is to continue the investigation process that was started and is now underway by the military and the Department of Defense. Until that time, it would be inappropriate to comment further."
"Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.
"I have just a few points to make, then I have to sign off.
"First, the president has resubmitted to Congress his Energy Program. We expect prompt passage, this time—finally. Let me remind all 'concerned environmentalists' that the Caribou, or whatever it was they cared so much about, are now free to roam all the way to White Plains.
"Secondly, as we've been saying for years, global warming is a hoax. Even the most stubborn of our opponents must realize this by now. Fossil fuels will be needed more than ever to run our factories and warm our homes now that Niagara Falls has frozen over.
"Third, this country must pull together and support our energy industry. We prepared tax incentive legislation long ago in the event of this crises. Congressional leaders will be allowed to view it tomorrow morning. We expect action, not words.
"Fourth and finally, the war on terrorism continues. We are cold, but committed to victory.
"God bless you and God bless America."
—John F. Healey
"One thing we know for certain is this: This weather hates our freedom. It hates our very way of life. With no provocation, we suddenly find ourselves facing nature's unbridled evil. But rest assured, we will win this War on Nature. Our first order of business in this war: the reinvasion of Iraq. No, we haven't FOUND any WMDs, but we haven't even LOOKED for a weather-control machine, and we have reliable intelligence suggesting this is indeed the cause. Tomorrow, we will pull our troops out of Iraq, who will withdraw to the nearest border to facilitate a proper reinvasion at sunrise.
"Oh, and at sunset we invade France. Just because.
"God bless America."
"The warnings we received about global warming were based on unsound science and were frustratingly vague. Rest assured, had we received any warnings that mentioned a specific date and time, or specifically mentioned the Statue of Liberty being destroyed by a giant tsunami, we would have moved mountains to prevent this from happening."
"The Democrats are politicizing the end of the world."