The End of the Countdown

By Beth Quinn

Even after the Record put me out the door last May, I continued to dutifully tear off calendar pages each evening from my George Bush Countdown Calendar.

It is one of many Bush calendars that readers gave me after I began counting down at the end of each column about 1,200 days ago. I saw no reason to stop just because I was out of a job.

I have just now torn off Jan. 19, 2009. That was the “1 day left” page. It is a few hours short of midnight, but, after eight long years of waiting, I confess I could wait no longer to see the words on the very last page.

And now I sit here drinking a glass of wine – well, all right, a bottle of wine – and I’m looking at those beautiful, gorgeous words on the Jan. 20, 2009 page:

“0 days left.”

There is a Bushism on each page of this calendar, and the one on this last entry quotes Bush thusly: “I hope you leave here and walk out and say, ‘What did he say?'”

As usual, who knew what he was talking about back in 2004 when he ended a speech with those words. In fact, who ever knew what he was talking about, really. Surely not even Bush himself.

But tonight my calendar says “0 days left.” Those are the only words that matter now. Those are the words you and I have been waiting for so long to say. And we most certainly have some idea what those words mean, so filled with promise and hope as they are.
The moment we waited eight years for.I would like to move on forever from talking about George Bush – I resent the fact that such a mean, shallow, greedy man has occupied so much of our time – but before moving on, I will say two more things.

First, I’m torn between wanting to see him tried as a war criminal and wanting to never hear his name again. No one should be above the law, especially a president. But I understand Obama’s need for a cooperative Congress, and if he goes after Bush, he will have a partisan mess on his hands.

Ideally, perhaps the World Court will do the job for us. Bush has offended all of the people on this good earth. He has tortured and lied and spied and wrecked and killed and maimed. He has brought us all to the brink of another Great Depression. Let’s hope the world at large takes on the task of treating him as the villain he is.

Second, I’d like to thank George Bush once again for being such a dismal failure. Had he not been, I suspect this last election would have been business as usual. Instead – imagine it! – Americans have actually elected a man whose last name rhymes with Osama, whose middle name is Hussein and who, by the way, is black.

And, most preposterous of all – imagine this! – he’s smart. Good lord, we actually have a smart president. And we have a First Lady is who the real McCoy. If Barack hadn’t been running, I’d have voted for his wife.

With Obama at the helm – and with the incredible brain trust he’s bringing to his cabinet and other leadership positions – I feel that I can go back to doing what I used to do. I can go about my business and trust that our country is in good hands.

And I can stop being so mad all the time.

I want to help. I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and do anything this president asks of us to restore our once-proud America. I’ve got all the time in the world to help – I am, after all, among this nation’s growing millions of unemployed. I will gladly toil at public works projects, I will gladly bring whatever is needed to President Obama’s table, I will gladly be any small part of this new Camelot.I am grinning with the joy of it all.

Meanwhile, Tom and Huck join me in hoping the Obama family is successful in finding an awesome hypoallergenic pound dog for Malia and Sasha.

My dogs, by the way, are still happy to have me home most of the time although I can foresee the day when they’d really like me to get the hell out of the house so they can take an uninterrupted nap.

* * *

As I hit the “send” button on my computer, I’m happy to report that there are 12 hours left ’til noon, Jan. 20, 2009.


Beth can be reached at


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