WASHINGTON, DC–Remember SDI, deregulation, and tax cuts? The new administration does. That's right, '80s retro fever is sweeping the executive branch, with President Bush and his nostalgia-crazed colleagues going wild for the people and policies of that "totally tubular" decade.
"The '80s were so awesome," said Bush, grabbing a handful of Jelly Bellys from a jar on his Oval Office desk. "They had, like, the best policies back then, like trickle-down economics and communist containment. And the Cabinet members were the coolest: Ed Meese, Caspar Weinberger, George Shultz. I'm so totally going to find a position for Donald Regan in my administration."
Bush has already begun indulging his love of all things '80s, nominating James Watt for Secretary of the Interior.
"Remember in '83, when Watt didn't want The Beach Boys to play that Fourth Of July party because he said they were unwholesome?" Bush asked. "And then when he said the thing about his staff having a black, a woman, two Jews, and a cripple? That was hilarious."
Nearby, vice-president and fellow '80s-lover Dick Cheney reclined on a couch. "You know who else we should nominate?" Cheney asked. "Robert Bork for Supreme Court!"
"Bork? Who's that?" Bush responded. "Oh, wait–that's the arch-conservative judge with the funny little chin beard, right? God, I totally forgot about that guy! Yeah, we should definitely nominate him!"
Bush also tapped Donna Rice for White House press secretary but retracted the offer when he realized he was thinking of Fawn Hall.
"I always get those two confused," Bush told Cheney. "I know one was with Oliver North and the shredder, and the other was with Gary Hart and the Monkey Business, but I forget which was which. Then there's Jessica Hahn. She was the one with Jim Bakker, right? Or was it Jimmy Swaggart? Anyway, I want the Ollie North gal."
Bush praised Hall, calling her "a major-league babe." Cheney affirmed the appraisal, saying, "Yeah, big-time."
Though too young to remember much of the decade, Bush nevertheless said he had "tons of fun" in the '80s.
"Once, when I was 36, my dad took me to the CIA to meet William Casey," Bush said. "It was one of the best days of my life: I got to watch a National Security Council meeting. Then, afterwards, Mr. Casey let me sit in his big leather chair. Even though I was really young at the time, I remember the whole thing like it was yesterday."
"Even the enemies were cooler in the '80s," Bush continued. "Back then, there was Russia, Libya, and Iran. Now, those were some bad guys. What do we have today? North Korea? How lame is that?"
"Know what else was awesome about the '80s? The respect for human life," said Bush, sporting a retro "Choose Life" T-shirt, made popular by George Michael during his Wham! days. "This is the same one [Michael] wore during the 'Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go' video."
Bush has vowed to pursue a number of '80s-retro initiatives while in office, including a revival of the Star Wars missile-defense system, the firing of 12,000 air-traffic controllers, and a boycott of the 2004 Summer Olympics. He is also organizing a Hands Across America event for later this year to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the 1986 original.
"As a uniter, not a divider, I recognize the importance of feel-good gestures like Hands Across America, USA For Africa, and that 'That's What Friends Are For' song," Bush said. "Back in the '80s, people used to come together and lend a hand to those in need. It's important to make the occasional token effort toward helping others."
Added Bush: "We also need more Americans like New Jersey's own Bruce Springsteen, in whose songs live the hopes and dreams of every one of us."
On Monday, in his first official act as president, Bush showed his love for the '80s by issuing pardons to convicted Wall Street figures Ivan Boesky and Michael Milken, as well as John DeLorean and Claus von Bulow. He also pledged $240 million in federal tax breaks to Union Carbide, whose Bhopal, India, chemical plant was the site of a 1984 chemical disaster that Bush "totally remembers."
Later in the day, Bush suffered his first retro international-relations gaffe, when, during an official greeting to the people of China, he said, "We begin bombing in five minutes." Bush apologized, explaining that he was only joking and did not realize the microphone was on.
Though committed to leading America into the future, Bush said he can't help but wish he could have been president back in the decade of Pac-Man, skinny ties, and illegal arms deals with Nicaragua.
"Man, that would've been so cool to be the leader of the free world back then," Bush said. "I was born 15 years too late."