Just when 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?
Health insurance industry: The new healthcare bill (the gift that keeps on giving).
Big Pharma: Same as above, with unlimited refills.
Senate Republicans: Membership in Whine-of-the-Month Club.
Joe Lieberman: Hanukkah guilt.
Ben Nelson: Anything he wants.
Michelle: Some manure for her garden (how about the healthcare 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: All-expenses-paid trip from frying pan into fire.
Fox News: An exclusive interview...in 2013.
Kim Jong Il: Fruitcake, extra nutty.
China: As down payment on our debt, they get...Ohio (non-refundable).
Hillary 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.
The piece appeared in The Los Angeles Times on December 23, 2009.