Just when President Barack Obama thought his toughest decisions were behind him — his Afghanistan strategy, tackling unemployment, what to say to Tiger Woods if he calls — now he has to draw up a Christmas gift list. What will the current “decider” decide to give this holiday season ... to both the naughty and the nice?
• The health insurance industry: The new health care bill (the gift that keeps on giving).
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• Big Pharma: Same as above, with unlimited refills.
• Senate Republicans: Membership in the Whine-of-the-Month Club.
• Joe Lieberman: Hanukkah guilt.
• Ben Nelson: Anything he wants.
• Michelle: Some manure for her garden (how about the health care bill?).
• Malia and Sasha: New Secret Service escort: Justin Bieber.
• Bo: Meat-flavored cardboard cutout of Sean Hannity.
• TARP bailout recipients: What, $700 billion wasn’t enough?
• The Salahis: Invitation to a state dinner ... at Guantanamo Bay.
• Troops in Afghanistan: A McChrystal ball.
• Troops in Iraq: An all-expenses-paid trip from the frying pan into the fire.
• Fox News: An exclusive interview ... in 2013.
• Kim Jong Il: Fruitcake, extra nutty.
• China: As down payment on our debt, they get ... Ohio (nonrefundable).
• Hillary Rodham Clinton: Teflon pantsuit.
• Bill Clinton: Mistletoe pants.
• Sarah Palin: Eleven Pipers piping, 10 Bristols birthing, 9 Levis posing, 8 Todds a-mushing, 7 books a-signing, 6 moose a-dressing, 5 golden winks ...
• John McCain: A 4-pound gift basket of sour grapes.
• George W. Bush: Christmas leftovers. Why not? He gave his to America.
Kluger and Slavin are regular contributors to National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.”