Saturday Tales From 57 States: His Obamaness and The Chrysler

Saturday Tales From 57 States: His Obamaness and The Chrysler

Lee Cary
So many and varied were the powers of His Obamaness that with tongue alone He could change the meaning of words, as happened one day in the Realm of 57 States.

Once upon a time, His Obamaness, POTUS in the ninth year of the third millennium, spoke to the Realm and said,

“Bankruptcy is not a sign of weakness for [The] Chrysler, but rather a sign of strength.” 

Now, of the three ox cart makers in the Realm, The Chrysler was the one most vexed by the challenge of cart-making. Although its carts were often beautiful to behold, the people of the Realm did not always look with great favor upon them as a way to carry their soccer balls, dogs, and vegetables.

So few people were surprised when The Chrysler had no more coins of the Realm with which to buy wheels and wood, or to pay the workers of the Guild of Cart Makers as much as they had been accustomed to receiving.  

Seeing this, His Obamaness told His Exchequer, Sir Tiny Tim of Geithner, to place many coins inside The Chrysler’s bank. Now it should be known that the Cart Makers gave His Obamaness much support during His race to become POTUS. He owed them.

But, as the gods of fate would dictate, all the Realm’s money and all the Realm’s men couldn’t put The Chrysler together again.  

So, in His benevolent wisdom, His Obamaness gave The Chrysler one moon to find a better way to make carts.

After that moon passed, The Chrysler came before His Obamaness to display its new cart-making talents. But He was neither impressed, nor pleased. Why exactly is not known. It may have been that The Chrysler did not abide by the great cart-making goal His Obamaness had earlier announced to the people.

“The [Realm of 57 States] will lead the world in building the next generation of clean [carts].”

It was at this time that His plan to remake The Chrysler in His own clean image emerged: The cart-maker that would make clean ox carts would be largely owned by Hisownself and the Guild of Cart Makers.

All went well with this plan, right up until the day the Evil Speculators spoke.  

Now, the Evil Speculators represented people who had loaned The Chrysler many coins of the Realm with the promise that if Chrysler’s ox carts were not favored, they would be near the head of the line to receive their coins back when The Chrysler’s bank ruptured.

The time came for all the parties involved to sign an agreement. With His power over language, His Obamaness had persuaded all those who stood with The Chrysler to take less than they were owed. That is, all except the Evil Speculators.

“[His Obamaness] said Chrysler LLC lenders who turned down his buyout offers are a ‘small group of speculators’ who forced the [cart maker] into bankruptcy.
‘A group of investment firms and hedge funds decided to hold out for the prospect of an unjustified taxpayer-funded bailout,’ [His Obamaness] said today in Washington before Chrysler filed for bankruptcy protection.”

Now, upon hearing themselves much maligned by His Obamaness, and facing a ruptured bank magistrate who would rule on their cause, the Evil Speculators scribed a document for the people to consider. It told how they, too, represented retirees and pension funds. And how, according to Chapter 11 of the Law Book of the Realm, they were entitled to favored treatment beyond His Obamaness’ offer to get back 29 of every 100 coins they had placed into The Chrysler’s bank.

In the street language of the day, the Evil Speculators felt they were getting screwed, hosed, the shaft, and dumped on — all at the same time.

But, alas, little heed was given to the Evil Speculators since the Guild of Town Criers favored His Obamaness and the Guild of Cart Makers over the Evil Speculators. In those days, the Criers controlled most of what the people of the Realm knew, and much of what they thought.         

It was while all this was happening that His Obamaness uttered the words that brought a great gasp from the people in wonderment over His power to change the meaning of words.

For on that day “bankruptcy,” once spoken aloud in the Land of Fiat as banca rupta (bank broken, or ruptured), experienced a Change and took on a new meaning of Hope.

Once a sign of weakness, bankruptcy now meant Strength.

And from that day forward small children would say, when asked by adults what they wanted to do when they grew up:

“Someday I want to build a strong company of my own, and drive it into bankruptcy.”

[For an explanation of the title of this series see this video.]

Page Printed from: at May 02, 2009 – 01:04:35 PM EDT

Obama revelling in U.S. power unseen in decades

Obama revelling in U.S. power unseen in decades

Fri May 1, 2009 9:47pm BST

By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Barack Obama is revelling in presidential power and influence unseen in Washington for decades.

Barely 100 days in office, the U.S. president and his Democratic Party have firm control over the White House and Congress and the ability to push through ambitious plans.

Now, with the coming retirement of a Supreme Court justice clearing the way for him to appoint a successor, Obama already is assured a legacy at the top of all three branches of government — executive, legislative and judicial.

On the corporate front, the federal government’s pumping of billions of dollars in bailout money into banks and auto companies has given Obama the power to force an overhaul in those industries, a remarkable intervention in capitalist industries by the state.

Americans are giving him leeway as well. His job approval ratings are well over 60 percent, giving him political capital to undertake big challenges.

His political opponents, the Republicans, are in disarray, reduced in numbers and engaged in an internal struggle over how to recover from devastating election losses in 2006 and last year.

Experts speak of Obama in the same league as such transformational presidents as Democrat Franklin Roosevelt, who led the United States through the Great Depression and World War Two, and Republican Ronald Reagan, who led the country to victory in the Cold War.

“I cannot in my memory remember a time when a president of the United States has had more influence,” said Democratic strategist Doug Schoen, who worked in the Clinton White House.

“Not only is it his moment, it is a level of influence and power for a president that is literally unprecedented from any time since the New Deal and Franklin Roosevelt. If he handles it right, it could be his century.”


Obama is seeing evidence that with power comes the occasional stroke of luck.

A gift came in the party switch this week by Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter from the Republicans to the Democrats.

It could give the Democrats unfettered authority. If and when Minnesota Democrat Al Franken overcomes a recount battle and takes his Senate seat, Democrats will have a 60-vote supermajority in the 100-member Senate.

The announced retirement of Supreme Court Justice David Souter has given Obama the opportunity to put his imprint on the highest U.S. court and replace one of the court’s liberals with another liberal voice.

Although he will not be able to change the court’s balance of power from a conservative majority any time soon, he will be able to select a justice likely to remain on the bench long after Obama has left the White House.

How long will his luck last?

With the U.S. economy reeling and millions of Americans without jobs, Obama has his work cut out for him. He has a long list of challenges, and spoke of them at a news conference this week.

“If you could tell me right now that, when I walked into this office that the banks were humming, that autos were selling, and that all you had to worry about was Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea, getting healthcare passed, figuring out how to deal with energy independence, deal with Iran, and a pandemic flu, I would take that deal,” Obama said.

Pollster John Zogby said that after his first 100 days, Obama now embarks on another weighty period in which Americans will want to see evidence that his $787 billion economic stimulus approved in February is working.

“I think by late June, they are going to have to start seeing some of these economic indicators stabilizing or at least some orange cones and hard hats out on the roads — something that indicates either a stemming of the tide or some kind of progress,” Zogby said.

Those who keenly watch the poll numbers also point out that while Obama is personally popular, some of the items on his agenda are less so.

“I think he will always stay personally popular,” said Republican strategist Charlie Black, who was a senior adviser on Republican John McCain’s presidential campaign last year. “But when you test the individual policies, a majority will tell you we’re spending too much money.”

“On the policy proposals the jury is out as to how popular they will be,” he said.

(Editing by Howard Goller and Mohammad Zargham