Wednesday, January 30, 2008


From Staff and Wire Reports

Simi Valley__ In a bizarre day even by presidential campaign standards, all major candidates dropped out of the race.

Longtime observers of the national political scene agreed that no precedent exists for such a wholesale collapse of candidacies -- particularly in such a short period of time and after years of intense campaigning. While the pull-outs of Democrat John Edwards and Republican Rudy Giuliani were widely anticipated, the other announcement astounded veteran political operatives and media pundits.

Here's a sampling of what the candidates who were thought to be left standing had to say:

John McCain: The Arizona senator acknowledged that the sadistic torture he endured as a Vietnam POW has made him mentally unstable and unsuitable for the role as leader of the free world.

"Let's face it. I'm old, tortured, and can't even comb my own hair. This was always a vanity deal for me. Late last night, it appeared I might actually win. I love my country too much to allow that to happen."

Hillary Clinton: The second-term Senator from New York said she has offers to rejoin the Wal-Mart board and rebuild the Rose Law Firm and to get a boyfriend who will wait on her hand and foot. She also expressed a deep interest in baking cookies and having tea parties.

"My soon-to-be-former husband put me up to this. I'd rather have half his money than all of the White House. I pretended like I really wanted the Oval Office because he manipulated me into believing that I did. I don't want to be president. I want a divorce."

Barack Obama: The charismatic young Senator from Illinois said his run was an attempt to ramp up book sales and had gotten out of hand. He expressed worry about a constitutional crisis.

"Look, I'm not not a natural born citizen. Or even a registered voter. On the other hand, I am a flaming Islamic terrorist. I didn't plan the World Trade Center attacks, but I knew it was coming and didn't tell. The Barcelona train attacks and the London subway explosions were my idea. I'm blackmailing the Kennedy family and really need to cut and run before I get in too deep."

Mike Huckabee: The former Arkansas governor acknowledged a long-term affair with his church secretary and church goat. He said his presidential run was an attempt to break into the acting profession.

"All in all, I fooled everyone pretty good. I still think I'd be great in the movies. But this religious everyman smiley faced personae I project, it was all just an act. In real life, I like to ice down a six-pack, smoke some weed, and watch the Playboy Channel."

Willard "Mitt" Romney: Presumably the last man standing on the GOP side also threw in the towel. Certain parts of his private life, the former governor and business turn-around artist said, would eventually catch up with him.

"I have seven wives and 34 children. Most of the money I accumulated came from bribes. And when I take off this toupee, I'm bald as a bowling ball. When you consider all the brain washing and surgical electric implants, I'm more robot than human. I just want to join the circus and relax."

Attempts to reach obscure Texas congressman Ron Paul were unsuccessful. But a top aide insisted that Paul is not a presidential candidate and never has been.

Leading political scientists and media commentators were stunned by today's developments. Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia's School for Presidential Studies summed up the sentiments of him and his fellow academics.

"This is some goofy shit," Sabato said. "At this time, Charlie Wilson has the most name ID and probably would be considered the frontrunner. Hannah Montana is also very popular with the younger voters."

Texas Governor Rick Perry informally made himself available, but was quickly arrested for outstanding parking tickets. A spokesperson for the Austin Parks Police said Perry would remain behind bars pending the next presidential election -- assuming there is one.

Early speculation centered on former president Chris Rock being asked to return to his old job. His reaction can be found on this newspaper's website at


Monday, January 28, 2008


One of Billy Clyde's great pure joys in life is watching someone tearing another someone apart like a puppy chewing a cheap Raggedy Ann doll and doing so in such a nice, incontrovertible way that there is simply no.way.out.

Just a thing of beauty.

My absolute favorite insider political muckraking Jewish patriotic flag selling Internets newsletter publisher, Harvey Kronberg, posted this file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Dell/Desktop/todd's%20bitch%20slap.cfm letter today on his Golden Globe award-winning site, and let me tell you, brothers and sisters, this letter rocks.

Read it. Closely. And often.

The letter, penned by Representative Todd Smith, takes issue with a letter written by Representative Jim Jackson. In no way is Billy Clyde attempting to compare the relative intellect of these fine public servants (yes I am!), but the battle is so lopsided that it calls for the 10-run rule to come into play.

A little background first.

For some reason, Rep. Jackson felt compelled to write a letter responding to a brief by former Speaker Rayford Price regarding House rules. Now Rayford hasn't been in the House since Billy Clyde was in early elementary school. And Price may not be a rules wizard on par with Big Daddy or Bob Kelly. Or as current as a Karina or a Collins. But Rayford knows his stuff and knows it well.

Jim Jackson ... well, not so much. Though he is nice fellow.

Anyway, Jackson's argument was basically that all Hades would break loose if you wrote into House rules that 76 members could sign a form to seek recognition for a motion to remove the sitting Speaker. Petition signing would become the focus and day-today legislative matters would become a mere afterthought. For those of you fine folks who don't think that's an absurd argument, please return to the UFO Channel at this time.

Rep. Smith (R-HEB, the Tarrant County one, not the grocery store) wrote a firm yet polite reply (really people, read his letter) explaining why Mr. Jackson's position was full of shit as a Christmas turkey. Let's face it. The chances of the House routinely using this extraordinary rule even ONCE are slim. The chance of it causing the House to cease all operations and turn into a chaotic wreck are as likely as Britney Spears appearing on the next cover of Good Parenting magazine.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Speaker Craddick was technically correct that he was not compelled under House rules to recognize a motion to vacate the chair. Doesn't mean he couldn't have chosen to do so. Doesn't mean he shouldn't have chosen to do so. He coulda and he shoulda.

The question going forward is whether the House will adopt a rule to require recognition of such a motion. If anyone out there thinks the House won't adopt such a rule at the beginning of next session, Billy Clyde has a FantasyLand Timeshare in Jim Jackson's backyard to sell you.

Thursday, January 24, 2008



Tom Brokaw: First, welcome to the 2008 Presidential contest. Your quixotic yet ultimately successful bid to get on Florida's ballot and all the remaining states shows, if nothing else, a sheer ...

Billy Clyde: Dude, do I get to talk? Why do you guys get eight minutes to ask questions and the people actually running get 15 seconds?

TB: Fair enough. The obvious question that has perplexed our viewers, and certainly one that those of us in the media have pondered at considerable ...

BC: What?!

TB: Okay, since you learned that you qualified for the ballot this afternoon, why didn't you join your fellow contestants on stage?

BC: Three reasons. You guys been reporting all week that I didn't get me enough signatures. Two ...

TB: Let's concentrate on that puzzle first. Have you solved the mystery of how the Secretary of State, who expressed not only to those who hosted this historic event here at the tradition-rich ...

BC: Why don't you just interview yourself?

TB: What happened?

BC: Seems like just an honest mistake. This lady, I think her name is Linda, forget to carry the one when she added the five and the other five in the final column. She personally called to say she was sorry.

Chris Matthews: HA! That reminds me of the 1976 primary when I was monitoring the Philly suburbs for the Carter campaign, and a box came in that ...

BC: Is your mic not working? Stop yelling at me.

TB: Please continue, Billy Clyde. We'll give you all the time you need. And Chris, we've been over this before. Please stop yelling.

BC: Alright, like I was trying to tell you. Since Linda made a math error and y'all reported as fact all week that I was toast, I didn't pack a suit. Plus that producer weenie said they were out of podiums.

Brian Williams: The focus of previous debates has been foreign policy and national security. Tonight it shifted to the economy and taxes. Assuming the math error had been corrected sooner, you had packed a suit, and there was a spare podium, how would you have responded?

BC: I would turned my head to the right, then turned it to the left -- unless I got stuck at the far end, then I woulda only needed to turn my head one way -- and told my worthy opponents that those are the dumbest ideas I've ever heard in my life. Just pure, 100-percent, unadulterated crapola.

BW: Care to critique their remarks and compare them to yours?

BC: Sure would.

McCain said about ten times he wanted to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. This is the guy who twice voted to kill them in the first place. He voted against them before voting to save them. Calling John Kerry; your long-lost twin has been found.

Willard Romney -- that's his real name, Willard, and I plan to use it over and over and over during this campaign, in the spirit of truth telling -- either talks too fast or just strings economic-sounding words together and thinks he can get away with it.

Mike Huckabee, if I heard right, wants to make a bunch of concrete and not let the Chinese have any. Look, in a state where chickens, pigs, outhouses, and do-it-yourself moonshine stills are the top commodities, maybe his anti-China concrete plan would work wonders. Something tells me one of us missed the point.

Ron Paul, who yells and whines as much as your boy Chris Matthews over there, wants to load up Fort Knox with gold and stop printing crisp new bills. Did that make sense to y'all?

NBC PANEL: (in unison) NO!

BC: Alright. It seems like there was one other guy up there.

Andrea Mitchell: Former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani.

BC: That's him. I gotta be honest with you folks and the American people. He started talking about how New York City was a great bargain and we need to be more like France and England, and I shifted my attention to that Florida Atlantic co-ed with the long brown hair sitting on row six, about three seats from the end by the wall.

DAVID GREGORY: Yeah! The one in the lavender blouse?

BC: No. This one had sort of a light purple top on. Man. Smoking.

TB: Now that you've critiqued your opponents' plans, what policies would you undertake to stave off a recession, greater homeowner fear in the midst of this sub-prime mortgage lending crisis, and would you favor a long-term supply side plan or a short term stimulus package in an effort to ensure that the American people have faith ...

BC: My word! How did your long-winded ass ever finish the nightly news in 30 minutes?

TB: With commercials, it was only 23 minutes. Reporters in the field would usually waste another eight. I used to cry myself to sleep every night.

BC: Anyway, a barnyard donkey knows that more and better jobs are good, fewer and crappier jobs are bad. But that misses the point.

We need jobs that people want. Really want. The rest will take care of itself.

AM: What does that mean?

JOE SCARBOROUGH: I think I get it.

BC: Thanks Joe. Did you remember to bring me Mika's cell number.

JS: Yeah, it's in the truck.

BC: Think of it this way. Now, I'm just guessing here, but I suspect you fine folks like spending long hours talking in front of a teevee camera. Am I right?

PANEL: (in unison, panelists make various orgasm-sounding noises)

BC: But some people like fixing lawmowers.

DG: Fixing what?

TB: It's a relatively common machine, generally gasoline-powered, that is maneuvered over various types of grasses to ensure an orderly, even, generally relatively short level of grass that is aesthetically pleasing, a device I personally witnessed during one of my Emmy Award Winning Heartland of American documentaries I hosted as anchor ...

BC: Tom.

TB: Sorry.

BC: So we ensure that they're plenty of lawnmower repair shops.

And Chris Matthews. I bet you enjoy regaling total strangers with loud, rambling stories about your days in Tip O'Neill's office and maybe casually dropping a few names while they pick up the check at a 5-star steakhouse.

CM: HA! Do I ever! It happened to me in upstate New York one night when this insurance agents convention featured me as their master of ceremonies ...

BC: And that fellow over there, the dude running the sound board, I bet you'd rather be producing records for the hottest rock band instead of pushing a few knobs for these blowhards.

SOUND DUDE: Anything to get me outta here. But I'm more into blues and zydeco.

BC: In a Billy Clyde administration, that dream job is yours.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a grueling four days of campaigning ahead of me. Thanks for having me over.

BW: Since this is your first official day in the race, don't you think our viewers and the voters deserve to know a little more about your positions on the specific issues before you head out.

BC: Like what? And make it snappy.

BW: For instance national defense, Social Security, Iraq, global warming, abortion, and today's Congressional action to send out 150 million checks to stimulate the economy.

BC: For a strong one; give it to old people; yes, I rock; good in winter, bad in summer; mandatory; not worth it -- too much postage and too much toner.

Thanks, I really need to scoot.

JS: Where are you off to first?

BC: Full day tomorrow in Key West. Full day Saturday in Key Largo. All day Sunday on South Beach to press the flesh. Golf fundraiser and barbecue at Tiger Woods' gated community on Monday. Acceptance speech on Tuesday in Tallahassee.

Our Florida campaign motto is: Going to Work Like Fred Thompson on Meth.

See ya.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Dear Ollie:

Billy Clyde owes you an apology.

The harshly worded memo I sent you on Saturday was completely off base. Tired and frustrated after a grueling day of travel in some pretty nasty weather (it sleets in Atlanta? WTF!), I didn't pay real close attention to the article about our movie about President George W. Bush.

Josh Brolin and James Brolin are two totally different people. One is an up-and-coming actor you want to portray W. The other is some dude who for some reason married Barbara Streisand. I knew all that. I just wasn't thinking.

It was particularly rude of me to go off like I did after you have been so accommodating to me in all the other casting decisions -- many of which you initially found questionable -- and the last thing I want to do is second guess your movie-making skills or violate my confidentiality agreement.

Words can't express my sincere pleasure that you acquiesced and agreed to cast Beyonce as Condi Rice and Don Rickles as Vice President Cheney. You won't be sorry. To be fair, I caved on several of your big-ticket decisions: Jimmy Walker as Colin Powell still seems like a stretch, and Hulk Hogan as Karen Hughes just ... well, we've been over this. But hey, you're the pro.

As per your instructions, I had a sit-down with Mary Tyler Moore's agent. MTM is on board She'll make a great Laura Bush. I also -- gently -- broke the news to Bea Arthur that the Harriet Miers role has been cut from the script. She took it pretty well.

Outside of a little more script-doctoring, it seems the only big-ticket item left on the table is the film's title. Billy Clyde will acknowledge that "George Washington and George W: Two Peas In A Pod" is a little over the top. But your idea, "George Bush, 43rd Biggest Goober In American History" won't work either. Let's find a happy medium.

This project is starting to jell like a bat outta hell. Keep up the good work. And BC will try to contribute as well.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Great story. Great acting. Great direction. Beautifully shot and a heckuva lot of fun to watch.

Yet tragically flawed.

Maybe it's simply too much to ask for George Crile's stunning book Charlie Wilson's War to be be condensed to 100 seemless minutes on the big screen. Billy Clyde has read the book at least three times and is Charlie Wilson's friend. He still scratches his head about this U.S.-Pakistani-Israeli-Egyptian successful plot to end the Cold War. You know, the one that the American public never noticed and the pols didn't talk about. The one in which a talented but easily distracted Congressman from nowhere in East Texas ran a billion dollar a year campaign that successfully destroyed the Evil Empire.

Let me say upfront that the film is a hoot. Two hoots. And a holler. Julia Roberts was very good, Tom Hanks was great, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman's Best Supporting Acting statue should be Fed-Exed to him right now this very instant. Mike Nichols, predictably, directed a charming film, and Aaron Sorkin, who shares many of Charlie Wilson's good and bad traits, did a superb job of converting Crile's book to a screen format.

But who the hell edited this picture? And why? May those of us you care enough to watch a three hour version be allowed to get on our hands and knees and see what rests on the cutting room floor?

Don't get me wrong. It's a great movie. It's just disjointed to the point where, at least several times, you have to scratch your head and think WTF. There's no predicate for that. Where did THAT come from? Who? What? Really? That kind of stuff.

Enough about what's wrong with the film. Here's the good stuff.

Tom Hanks, who I've spent 20 years trying to dislike as a actor, turns in yet another great performance. It would be easy to overplay the role of Charlie Wilson and turn him into a caricature. Or to miss the essence of Wilson and miss the essence of the story. Hanks gets the man and gets the part. To the extent there are shortcomings, it ain't Hanks fault.

Julia Roberts' portrayal of Houston socialite and talk show host Joanne Herring is as charming and over the top as a River Oaks Christmas party during a boom in the oil fields. Herring is a woman who takes no shit. She gives it. And Roberts nails the part.

The greatest acting accolades belong to Hoffman. He plays blue-collar semi-rogue CIA agent Gust Avrakotos and is nothing short of brilliant. Billy Clyde, being a professional hater of the State Department, CIA, DIA, NSA, etc., just delights in knowing that a Charlie and a Gust -- two underestimated guys that the establishment viewed as back benchers -- did what all those bureaucracies could not. Strike a blow for the common man.

Whether you've read the book or not, whether you know the story or not, the film is very accessible to the masses. There's sex, drugs, rock and roll, violence, gun play, secretive government plots, swarmy foreign folks, strippers, hot tubs, classified Congressional hearings, wimpy bureaucrats getting bitch slapped, belly dancing, old ladies in Lufkin playing dominoes, tuxedo affairs at the Kennedy Center ... well you the gist. All of it is relevant. But maybe this story is just too darn complex to tell in 100 minutes.

Besides the cockamamie editing, my only real problem with the film is the gratuitous lecture at the end that attempts (and fails) to place this great escapade into a current geopolitical setting -- and do so in about 30 seconds. The story took place in the 1980s. The tale is complicated enough as it is. Trying to place it in a real-time context just muddies the already murky waters even more. Stop. Please stop.

Don't think this is a negative review. Far from it. Billy Clyde awards it 3 1/2 stars. It's fun, funny, and altogether larger than life -- the things we want when we turn off our brains in a dark theater for a couple hours. By all means, go see Charlie Wilson's War. You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


Long before it become a trite political buzzword, there were REAL proponents of change. Willing to, you know, make change.

Have a look.


Man, you'd think Billy Clyde would have got the message by now.

After following the Clintons for close to 25 years, I still gotta be kicked in the shin now and then and be reminded that the Bill and Hillary partnership -- strange relationship that it is -- personifies resiliency. Obamamania had an magical few days. The Clintons have been battering down the hatch and emerging winners for damn near 40 years. Like most people, there are times when I have loved the Clintons and times when they have repulsed me. But give them their due -- call it admiration, respect, fear, deference ... whatever -- they also play their best late in the fourth quarter when they are behind on the scoreboard and the clock ain't on their side.

Simply amazing.

One of my college roommates subscribed to the Wall Street Journal, a newspaper not widely available in my hometown growing up. I used to take a break most afternoons to read the back page of the front section, where the WSJ chronicled the on-going battle between a small state governor (Bill Clinton) and a natural gas producer and distributor (Jerry Jones) who was the governor's chief nemesis. A battle between the economic and political forces played on a small, Beverly Hillbillies sort of stage. A real life soap opera in the Ozarks. Billy Clyde found it fascinating.

Less than a decade later, these two larger-than-life characters would emerge on the national scene. One took charge of America the nation; the other one got America's Team. No need to rehash the ups and downs, the controversies, the tomfoolery and self-destructiveness, the come-from-behind victories and improbable safe landings at the peak of the mountain. You've been a witness to these Arkansans' presidential wins, Super Bowl championships, self-inflicted wounds and remarkable healing powers.

Though it seems an impossible standard, Hillary Clinton seems to possess even greater resiliency than her husband. People watching election returns on the teevee last night just knew -- just knew! -- that those numbers would soon change as the votes were tallied and the uber-inspirationist who's come out of nowhere, the guy from our generation who we can relate to, would take the lead and become the frontrunner to lead our nation. I mean, the pollsters and the crowds and the pundits all said it would turn out that way!

This morning many of us awake feeling like Charlie Brown attempting a field goal. We know that Lucy always pulls the ball away at the last moment, but for some reason what should be lasting lessons are forgotten in the heat of the moment. The definition of insanity is counting the Clintons out over and over and expecting it to finally stick. They just. don't. lose.

The Clintons are polished, overeducated Forest Gumps. Billy Clyde won't be voting for Hillary Clinton for president under any circumstances. But the chance of her winning that office seems pretty good. Because the Clintons just. don't. lose.

Monday, January 7, 2008


Billy Clyde never could work that Rubik's cube contraption. Things involving spatial relation just puzzle me.

Other stuff I just can't get: playing the piano (tried and failed), game theory (math should be barred from the study of the liberal arts), soccer (America is the LEADER of the free world, not a follower), Northern California (though it's nice to look at), the inverted yield curve (did economists just make this up to confuse us?), and conch (chewy, tasteless seafood!).

But politics. Now politics is pretty simple. That's why BC is nothing short of stunned that upwards of two percent of the teevee-watching public is hooked to their 52-inch high definition plasma screens following the presidential race in absolute wonderment. It ain't exactly a man walking on the moon or France falling in love with Jerry Lewis.

Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama won the Iowa caucuses for basically the same reason: voters yearn for a little civility, a little humor, a little inspiration, a little hope. Forget issues and specific styles and backgrounds -- these two guys are a lot alike. The store shelves carried a full line of products, and consumers picked what they were looking for.

In New Hampshire, Republicans are gonna pick Obama again (for the same reasons) and John McCain, who also shares those above-mentioned qualities but is just a little grumpier. Voters in the Granite State are a little grumpier than the nation as a whole, and the dude is a 71-year-old POW who was tortured for half a decade by the Viet Cong. Pretty good excuse for being a tad irritable now and then.

Mitt Romney has not only run a terrible campaign, he comes across as a space alien. It's too late now, but if had talked about nothing except his executive experience ("I've turned around major businesses and will turn around the way Washington does business") and told his story about cleaning up the Olympics, he would have had a shot. But all the Bain Capital money in the world can't save him now.

Hillary Clinton has run a whiny, impersonal campaign of entitlement and is in fact a space alien. She reminds people of the high school chick who thinks she's popular when in fact she simply was the first to get a drivers license and a car. Plus, whoever advised her to set herself up as the "chosen one" is bonkers. The folks in Iowa and New Hampshire are some of the world's greatest contrarians.

There will be three big stories after tomorrow's R primary. McCain is right back in the thick of things, Huckabee's third-place finish is a semi-win, and Romney is toast -- although he'll probably still waste some more of his money.

On the D side, Obama will be described as invincible, and that story will play out again in two weeks when he wins South Carolina by 20 points. The media and pundits will call Hillary deader than Elvis, and John Edwards will be the only real candidate left standing. And that's just in case a dead-girl/live-boy situation crops up in the Obama camp.

Now you might be thinking, Bill Clyde, my main man, you are greatly oversimplifying our great process to select the major parties' candidates to lead our nation and world. No I'm not.

The nerd who tries to analyze the race by comparing the various nuanced differences in position papers and voting records has spent too much time with his nose stuck in the latest copy of the National Journal. It comes down to this: Do you want to be inspired and made a part of this wonderful journey, or be lectured to and sent to your room without dessert?

See that wasn't so difficult. Let's have some ice cream.