Now is great time to hand out early Christmas gifts

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 9, 2005

Several years ago, it came to my wife’s attention that my Christmas shopping pattern was to head for the mall on Dec. 24 and grab up whatever was left.

Her disappointment was that I was not thoughtful about her at this time of the year and that my gifts were therefore, well, less personal.

I took the criticism to heart, and now I shop early and often. I actually enjoy seeing the things she needs and finding them for her without ever getting a Christmas clue.

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And, I have gotten pretty good at this over the last few years, good enough that I now enjoy Christmas so much more than ever before.

In the same vein, I wish to offer what I think would be great gifts to our national politicians … gifts that are thoughtful and helpful, having watched their activities for the year.

My gifts would be as follows:

President Bush. I thought about buying him some more political capital, but it goes so quickly I didn’t think it would last long enough to be a good gift. After a lot of thought I have decided on a pad of Post-It notes. These are great reminders when stuck around the house. The president needs one for New Orleans, to remind him of his commitment to re-build there.

Things aren’t going so well there right now and this will help. I thought he might use another one for “Iraq Exit Strategy” since we have forgotten the Powell doctrine and have a current strategy of “whenever.”

Most Americans, about 60 percent, want him to have this reminder. I am sure there are other things he can use his new pad of notes for. It should be a great gift.

Vice-President Cheney. Wow, talk about someone hard to buy for, this guy is tough. His current popularity is so low he almost needs that Taft scale to rate it.

We know Cheney was one of the war chicken hawks (fierce warriors who never fought or were never in the military), and is currently the torture hawk (we don’t torture but we have to have no laws against the torture that we don’t do).

So, I thought about getting him a stuffed chicken hawk for his desk. But then I realized he had to already have one. I finally settled on a speaking tour for 2006.

Knowing that there are some audiences out there that are not so friendly to the vice president, I lined up several places where he would be welcomed. As it turned out all of the speeches are at defense contractors, but hey, they will clap and cheer like mad.

Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. I thought about it and realized that he has had some difficulty making decisions that worked. You may remember his quote “you go to war with the army you have.”

Well, his army didn’t have armored Humvees or body armor (does defective body armor count?) or enough soldiers to avoid the “rope-a-dope” strategy of raiding cities then pulling back, or enough soldiers to avoid leaving the borders unprotected to allow outsiders into the war.

So with these issues in mind, I selected a new quarter, yes, that’s right, a brand new U.S. quarter.

Statistically, making decisions based upon the flip of this quarter will improve the secretary’s decisions by 50 percent.

You see, if you currently make no correct calls, the quarter almost guarantees you this kind of improvement.

I am certain he will recognize the great idea of this gift and use it right away.

Dr. Jim Crawford is a local political enthusiast. He can be reached at