Mr. Bush comes to Collinsville

By John J. Hopkins | Aug 13, 2006

Editor's note: The following is an encore presentation of a Sidebar colum that ran in The Record last year.

5-01-05: Collinsville, Ill., 14:00 hours:

"This General Court Martial is now in session... The witness has been sworn. Please state your name, rank and current billet for the record."

"George W. Bush, Commander in Chief, Washington, D. C."

"Lt. Caffey, you may inquire."

"Thank you, your honor. President Bush, welcome to Madison County. I understand that you flew into Scott Air Force base on Air Force One from Andrews. Was that the earliest flight off the base?"

"Yes.. The 0600 was the first flight off the base."

"Nothing earlier?"

"Check the tower logs. The 0600 was the first flight out."

"I see that you are wearing your cowboy boots and Lone Star belt buckle today."

"Yes, they were a victory present from Karl Rove."

"I also see that you made three phone calls from the plane on the way here. To whom?"


"Overruled, you may answer, Mr. President."

"The first one was to Justice Karmeier, congratulating him on an effective campaign. The second was to Brian Timpone of the Madison County Record. I wanted him to know that I like what I am reading, except that 'Sidebar' column. I don't understand his strategery."

"And the third?"

"The third was to the Imo's on 157. I wanted to order a medium sausage pizza to go. I thought I might be hungry on the way home....Now, is this really what I was called to Madison County to testify about? Clothing and pizza orders? These tort lawyers are on trial for their lives. Please tell me that their lawyer hasn't pinned his hopes to a phone bill."

Dramatic courtroom pause

"Do you have any more questions for me counselor? If not, I will be going. Thanks Danny. I just love Collinsville."

"Sit down. I'm not finished with my examination."

Second dramatic pause...followed by Secret Service stirring

"All right. Whadya want to talk about now? My favorite St. Louis Cardinals?"

"President Bush, you stated today that there needs to be medical malpractice reform, to cut down on what you termed 'frivolous' suits. Tell me then what do you mean by the term 'frivolous'?

"I'll tell ya', I don't have the first damn clue. But there's too many of 'em."

"Well, if you do not have a definition of the terms, what is your basis for the need of tort reform?"

"Basis? We don't need no stinkin' basis!"

"President Bush, you have stated on many occasions that the role of the federal government is not to interfere with the states in their operations. Correct?"

"Yes, the states know best how to handle their own affairs. We only screw things up on the federal level by interfering. It is a bedrock of the Republican Party."

"But yet you come here today advocating federal preemption of Illinois tort law on medical malpractice cases."

"Yes, the doctors are leaving, and the state cannot handle the situation."

"No, sir. You just said the state's knew best, and the federal government only screws things up. Why the double standard? Why the two orders?"

"You snot-nosed little bastard. You have no idea how to defend our values!"

"President Bush. Did you order unfair tort reform?"


"You don't have to answer that question Mr. President."

"I'll answer the question. You want answers?"

"I think I'm entitled!"

"You want answers?"

"I want the truth!"

"YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH! Son, we live in a world with insurance companies and those companies have to be protected by politicians with laws they like. Who's gonna do it? You? You Lt. Goldberg? You weep for the trial lawyers and you curse tort reform because you have the luxury of not knowing what I know, that insurance companies run this country. They use words like profits, profits and more profits as backbone of a lifestyle of wealth and power.

"You use it as punch line at parties. The idea of uncompensated victims of the over 200,000 yearly medical mistakes, while gross and uncomprehensible to you, probably saved profits. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man that fails to understand the Golden Rule: He who has the gold makes the rules.

"I would rather you just be quiet and learn probate law. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to!"

"President Bush. Did you order unfair tort reform?"

"I did my job. I'd do it again."

"President Bush, did you order unfair tort reform?"

"You're damn right I did!"

Third dramatic pause...Secret Service speak into radios

"Your Honor, I move that we immediately adjourn for an Article II, Section 4 hearing (U.S. Constitution, grounds for impeachment)."

"Motion granted. The witness has rights,and so do we."

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