By Thomas Hauser
On several occasions, I've posted transcripts of telephone conversations between Don King and George W. Bush on Secondsout.com. Now, the tape of another conversation has become available and is transcribed herewith.
To readers who object, I request that you phrase your emails to me in coherent fashion. Try to express yourself without using obscenities. And keep in mind that I'm not impressed by correspondents who invoke Rush Limbaugh as the sole authority in political dialogue. Some of the responses that I received in opposition my previous King-Bush columns were intelligent and well reasoned, but others read as though they were written by a four-year-old on drugs.
Don King: Hello, Mr. President. It's me again.
George Bush: Don, I've love to chat but I'm a bit busy at the moment. I'm the commander-in-chief in a war that's going on in Iraq.
Don King: I know, Mr. President. I've been supporting you publicly and I have great respect for our soldiers overseas. But I'm very concerned.
George Bush: Not to worry. You're a loyal campaign contributor, and I've got your best interests in mind. I even held off on the invasion until after Roy Jones fought John Ruiz so the war wouldn't hurt pay-per-view sales of your fight.
Don King: Thank you, Mr. President. But I have to be honest and tell you that this fixation with Iraq bothers me. Saddam Hussein was a bad dude. But before the invasion, I was more worried about North Korea building a nuclear arsenal than I was about Iraq.
George Bush: Hey; that little fat guy who runs North Korea -- I can't remember his name -- he's nothing. The only reason he got his job is that his father was the dictator before him.
Don King: Remind you of anyone?
George Bush: Look; I know the situation is complicated. I ask myself every day, "Which country would Jesus bomb?"
Don King: I'm not sure Jesus would bomb anyone. And a lot of people I know have similar doubts. It seems like these days everything with your administration is slick packaging and salesmanship.
George Bush: I learned that from you. "The War at the Shore" . . . "The Brawl for it All." You're great at selling fights.
Don King: Thank you, Mr. President. But I deliver on my sales pitches.
George Bush: So do I. We're winning in Iraq.
Don King: You keep saying we are. But our soldiers have already suffered more deaths in this conflict than we did in the entire 1991 Gulf War. And from what I understand, things outside of Baghdad aren't going so well.
George Bush: That was last week. I'm on top of the situation now. In fact, an old friend of yours is overseeing the rebuilding of Iraq's police force to keep order in the country.
Don King: Who's that?
George Bush: Bernard Kerik. You remember Bernard. Last year, he was chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission. Now he's our top security advisor to the Interior Ministry in Iraq.
Don King: That's wonderful. Maybe Floyd Patterson can be our next ambassador.
George Bush: I'm not sure I understand your point.
Don King: It doesn't matter. The truth is, I'm more concerned with what's happening here at home. You tell everyone, "Leave no child behind." But where I come from, millions of children are being left behind. You say "clean air." We get dirty air. You say "clean water." We get dirty water.
George Bush: Not to worry. I've got the same fine minds handling domestic affairs that are working on our foreign policy.
Don King: You have no idea how reassuring that is.
George Bush: Are you being sarcastic with me? I don't like sarcasm, Don.
Don King: I apologize, Mr. President. It's just that certain things about the economy trouble me greatly.
George Bush: Such as?
Don King: The budget deficit.
George Bush: Look, the Democrats ran up big deficits too. They put the entire nation in debt with their liberal social programs.
Don King: But the annual budget deficit went down to zero under Bill Clinton; and when you took office, the ten-year budget projection showed a surplus of six trillion dollars. You've given us an annual budget deficit of four-hundred fifty billion-dollars, and a large part of that is because of tax cuts for rich people.
George Bush: Don, you don't understand. We can cut taxes for rich people like you and me if we reduce the cost of spending on giveaways like Medicare and Medicaid and rely on the kindness of corporations to care for the American people.
Don King: I've got an idea, Mr. President. Since you're so big on cutting spending for health care, from now on why don't you and every member of your administration get your own medical care exclusively from public health clinics.
George Bush: What!
Don King: You heard me. That way, you'll see how the working-class American people you love so much live. The next time Dick Cheney has chest pains, he can go to the emergency room at a public health clinic.
George Bush: Don, you're giving me a hard time, and I don't like it.
Don King: I'm just telling you the way it is. In the neighborhood I come from, people can get a pizza delivered faster than they can get an ambulance if someone has a heart attack.
George Bush: If your people ate less pizza, they'd have fewer heart attacks. And by the way; I was talking with some folks over at the Republican National Committee the other day. One of them mentioned something about your giving Hasim Rahman a duffel bag filled with cash to get him to sign with you when he was promoted by Cedric Kushner. How come you haven't sent any of those duffel bags over to the RNC?
Don King: Why should I?
George Bush: Because my administration is working hard on your behalf. Just the other day, I told John Ashcroft that we had to do something to get rid of all those black boxers that are costing you money.
Don King: Not black boxers, Mr. President. Black boxes.
George Bush: Oops! Guess I goofed on that one. Too bad. I thought I could pick up some Hispanic votes.
Don King: Let's put that aside, Mr. President, and go on to something else. You keep saying that America was forced to invade Iraq because Saddam Hussein was building weapons of mass destruction. Now it appears as though that claim was false.
George Bush: But look how clever we were. First, we got Iraq to disarm and allow the inspection of potential weapons sites. Then, once we knew how their military capability was deployed, we invaded. That's the sort of thing you'd think of.
Don King: Maybe; although it will be a long time before another country allows inspectors in to survey its military sites. And just because we can win a war doesn't make it right.
George Bush: But it makes for great photo ops and TV sound bites. Hey! Did you see me on television last month, flying out to that aircraft carrier, doing my imitation of Tom Cruise in Top Gun?
Don King: Unfortunately.
George Bush: That's another thing I learned from you, Don; wrapping myself in the American flag.
Don King: But returning to the matter at hand; Mr. President. Could you explain to me why fifteen of the September 11th hijackers were from Saudi Arabia and none were from Iraq; the money to finance nine-eleven came from Saudi Arabia, not Iraq; and we invaded Iraq, not Saudi Arabia.
George Bush: Well, Don; to be honest, a lot of it also has to do with oil. We need access to Iraqi oil in case something goes wrong with the flow from Saudi Arabia. And of course, oil companies like Halliburton will make a nice profit.
Don King: Then from now on, let the oil companies send their own troops. I've been hearing a lot of complaints lately about how your administration is baptized in oil.
George Bush: You're missing the point. In this world, the strong and well connected take what they can. Besides, I'm not worried. I've got professionals like Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld directing my foreign policy.
Don King: Just remember, Mr. President. Noah's ark was built by amateurs. Professionals built the Titanic.
George Bush: You don't understand. This is about freedom; Iraqi freedom.
Don King: Which in this case reminds me of the song lyrics, "Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose."
George Bush: I love that song. Janis Joplin was a Texas girl. Did you know that?
Don King: Yes, I did, Mr. President.
George Bush: Those were the days; sittin' around, drinkin', doin' a little coke.
Don King: Mr. President; let me ask you a question. How many more wars do you plan on fighting?
George Bush: As many as I want. Our foreign policy is about justice.
Don King: But the invasion of Iraq looked like just us.
George Bush: Not true. The French were against us, but they're nothing. You can't even get decent Mexican food in Paris. Besides, I'm building a coalition.
Don King: You certainly are, Mr. President. At the moment, you seem to have united one billion Muslims with the rest of the third world and most of Europe against us.
George Bush: The British are with us. And God is on our side.
Don King: Mr. President, God does not bless only America. I'm a patriotic American, and I love this country. But I'm worried. We can't just blow the whole planet up and start over.
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