The Note channels The Onion …

The official voice of the Washington Conventional Wisdom is officially off the reservation.

… imagining a letter from the Speaker and the Senate Majority Leader to the Beloved Leader:

December 4, 2005

The Honorable George W. Bush

President of the United States

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, D.C.

Dear Mr. President:

The early reports back from our Members’ time with their constituents are mixed, but the message is clear.

Please talk up the economy more, making that the dominant message, so the Party gets credit for the things that are going well — except on the days when we need you to make Iraq the dominant message, because we are getting beat up on that by the Democrats — except don’t talk about Iraq too much. It only draws attention to it.

We need to cut spending, because our base is getting restless — but we can’t cut stuff that will allow the Democrats to attack us (such as health care).

Also, we can show we are serious about spending cuts if we eliminate earmarks and pork for Members — except we need those in there to get some bills passed.

We need to take on hard, big issues — such as immigration and tax reform — but please don’t do things in a way that divides the party or will force our Members up for re-election to take tough votes.

Our Members don’t like the prescription drug benefit (It is too expensive.) and they don’t want to help sell it to their constituents, but it must be seen as a big success by Election Day next year.

Please don’t be so nice to Bill Clinton — it strengthens him and helps Senator Clinton, and we are already helping her enough by working on bills with her.

Please veto some bills to show you are tough, particularly on spending — just don’t veto any of the bills WE send you.

Please play down how conservative Judge Alito is to avoid any fights or defections — but let’s not shy away from defending the Reagan years and all they stood for.

This Abramoff and ethics stuff is a potential problem, but we can’t give an inch on it.

Bartlett and Wallace are excellent on TV — is there any way to make them seem older?

You need to shake things up at the White House with some new blood, but please don’t panic and make any changes.

We are doing our best to keep our Members in line, but you all need to do a better job on McCain, Hagel, Graham, LaHood, Shays, Voinovich, Chafee, Collins, and Snowe. We will deal with most of the others.

Together, America can do better. Or something like that. As long as we remember that we must all hang together, or surely we will all hang separately. Or something like that.


Denny and Bill

Remember, The Note is the virtually official voice of the Washington Conventional Wisdom. So not only is the above pretty funny, its publication is good news.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: