Jewish World Review Dec. 13, 2002 / 8 Teves, 5763
Robert L. Haught
It's Snow time at White House
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com -- WASHINGTON Who says President Bush doesn't have a sense of humor? He really got into the spirit of the winter holiday season when he picked a man named Snow to shovel out of an economic drift.
The new Treasury secretary, CSX chairman John Snow, became an instant target for wisecracks. Kansas City Star columnist Bill Tammeus said Bush should have chosen Apple computer CEO Steve Jobs as the new White House economic adviser. "Fiscal policy then could be officially Snow-Jobs," he quipped.
Bush probably did a smart thing by choosing a railroad man to put the economy back on track. At least Snow ought to be more popular on Wall Street and Capitol Hill than Paul O'Neill, who was pink-slipped along with chief economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey.
The blunt-speaking O'Neill once characterized currency traders as "not the sort of people you would want to help you think about complex questions." He termed the House Republican economic stimulus package "show business" and publicly pooh-poohed the president's tax policies.
Still, it seemed a rather cruel deed to kick out the economic teammates right before Christmas. To show there were no hard feelings, Bush probably should have given them a pleasure trip on the newest Disney cruise ship, the Nausea.
O'Neill must have naively assumed that what came out of his mouth didn't matter all that much, considering some of the utterances of his boss. There was that time last August, for instance, when the president said in Waco, Texas: "There may be some tough times here in America. But this country has gone through tough times before, and we're going to do it again." How's that for creating optimism?
The difference is that the market didn't go crazy when Bush made remarks like this one in Boston last Oct. 4: "Let me tell you my thoughts about tax relief. When your economy is kind of ooching along, it's important to let people have more of their own money."
So his marching orders to his new team are apt to be something like: "I want you to take this ooching economy and get it to mooching -- or moving, or whatever it takes to see us through the tough times."
Bush's grammatical gaffes may be helping one segment of the economy -- the Christmas toy industry. The "talking President Bush doll" is a hot selling item among Internet shoppers, according to its creator, John Warnock. The foot-high Bush miniature, which sells for $29.99, is programmed with "17 powerful and patriotic phrases," Warnock's Web site explains. Press a button on the back and the doll says, "I will not hold this nation hostile," or "I will put food on your family."
The Dubya doll is not the product of a devilish Democrat. Warnock is a California Republican and says he's a big fan of Bush. That should be a big thrill for the president.
Bush was not at a loss for words when country artist Roy Clark had an embarrassing moment at the White House tree-lighting ceremony. Clark, who was this year's Santa Claus, was in the spotlight and while the president and first lady and thousands of viewers watched, his red pants slowly slipped to below his knees. Washington TV station WJLA reported Clark was wearing sweatpants under his suit. Bush told the audience: "I appreciate Santa coming. It looks like he needs a belt for Christmas."
And we thought pants-dropping at the White House went out when Bill
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