The late, great 2008

What a year it was: Wall Street tumbled, John McCain stumbled, George W. Bush bumbled, but the Union hasn’t crumbled. We’re ready for 2009. We got us a new president with the promise and vision of a John F. Kennedy — happy days are here again.

Barack the vote: The election of Barack Obama proves why America is the envy of the world — when it matters most, we listen to our better angels. The majority of Americans voting gave its answer to the last eight years of being duped by a president who had the golden opportunity after 9-11 to bring the world together, but instead got bogged down in his own paranoia.

Obama represents that new beginning we’ve been patiently waiting for — but as he is already finding out, everything old is new again. The renewed violence in the Middle East is a preview of that crisis Obama’s running mate Joe Biden said he will face sooner than later. Obama, like JFK before him, brings a naivety to the presidency that will need to be tested. We bought what he was selling — and we’re on that honeymoon with him now, giving him the benefit of the doubt. We’re optimistic that there won’t be buyer’s remorse, or that in a few years his presidency will need a bail out. Now if only he could be funnier.

The media is already clamoring for Obama to get involved — and he won’t be sworn in for another three weeks. “We have one president at a time” is his answer. Unfortunately for us, that president’s time can’t end soon enough. Obama is vacationing in Hawaii, and the celebrity thing that has dogged him — as well as served him — continues. He was all business during the transition phase post-election. Soon he’ll have to get down to business. And business is a hurtin’ cowboy, pardern. Foreclosures, Wall Street giants falling like trees targeted by lumberjacks, huge stock market losses, U.S. carmakers running on empty. Somewhere in Arizona, John McCain might be saying, “Go ahead, kid, have at it.”

W. – Not the movie: Bush ended the year as a footnote — well, a target of footwear to be exact. Those thankless Iraqis who W. saved from Saddam wanted to give him the boot. They can’t do that to our president, only we can do that to our president. Poor W., he was only trying to do something nice for somebody at somebody else’s expense. In his final days, W. is more concerned about how history will remember him than he is the shape he’s leaving the country in. Don’t worry, George, we’ll handle things from here on in. Wonder how many times he’s been told that in his life. . .

Thrilla from Wasilla: Sarah Palin — the mouth that launched a thousand gags. The subject of many a BrunOpinion blog. The world will be a better place without her as vice president. But not as a punching bag. Thrilla, we love you just the way you are. From “I can see Russia from my house” to “Pallin’ around with terrorists” to doing a TV interview while turkeys were getting their heads chopped off behind her, everything she put her stamp on was fodder for comics everywhere. From almost the moment she was introduced to the pro-America that she knows and love, she’s been a punchline. The fact that she took it all pretty well is commendable. Let’s hope she stays in the political spotlight — like somehow get elected senator so she can inspire us here in the lower forty-eights. There’s untapped hilarity in Sarah Palin. Do we hope it flourishes for awhile? You bet’cha.

Athletic supporters: The year is sports was a feast for starving fans of football, basketball, baseball, soccer, and the Olympics. Uber-Gold medalist swimmer Michael Phelps cashed in on his new-found fame, proving what everybody in the free enterprise, capitalistic pigs society already knows: after making sports history, it’s a natural progression to pitch products in TV commercials. The simian-looking Phelps was so well-trained at it, one wondered where was the organ grinder? And to the lowly Detroit Lions, the first team in NFL history to go 0 and 16 — take heart. We have a president with the same record — only it took him eight years to do what you guys accomplished in only one season.

Fade to black: The entertainment world lost two of its giants in 2008: actor/humanitarianPaul Newman and comic genius George Carlin. How much will their talents be missed? Consider the imposters to their thrones: Tom Cruise and Jim Carrey. Maybe those two could star in a remake of “The Sting.” The con will definitely still be on.

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