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A Heckuva Job: More of the Bush Administration in Rhyme Hardcover – May 30, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (May 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400065569
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400065561
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #919,618 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Calvin Trillin, who became The Nation’s “deadline poet” in 1990, has also written verse on the events of the day for The New Yorker, The New York Times, and National Public Radio. He says he believes in an inclusive political system that prohibits from public office only those whose names have awkward meter or are difficult to rhyme.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

"Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job!" From the moment President George W. Bush uttered that phrase-- to Michael Brown, the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency-- we knew that it would be attached to his presidency forever...


A qualified guy, I wish I had added.
Your resume's super, even if padded.
We wanted the best to lead FEMA's forces,
And who would know more than a man who knows horses?
You saw that the storm was more than some showers,
And sent off a memo in four or five hours.
You found out that life in the Dome was not Super--
And only a day after Anderson Cooper.
A heckuva job! You know how to lead'em.
We hope to award yo uthe Medal of Freedom.

--October 3. 2005



I CAN'T APPEAR WITHOUT MY NANNY DICK

(George W. Bush Explains the Interview Arrangements
He Has Made with the 9/11 Commission)


When called upon to testify,
I said I was a busy guy
So maybe we could do it on the phone.
They really want a face-to-face.
I said, OK, if that's the case,
I'm certainly not doing it alone.

I can't appear without my Nanny Dick.
For Nanny Dick I've got a serious jones.
I can't appear without my Nanny Dick.
I love the way he cocks his head and drones.

Cartoonists show me as a dummy,*
With voice by Cheney (or by Rummy).
I am the butt of every late-night satirist.
But I just can't go solitaire.

I need the help that's due an heir.
I need a dad, and Dad's a multilateralist.
I can't appear without my Nanny Dick.
He brings along a gravitas I lack.

I can't appear without my Nanny Dick--
The one who knows why we attacked Iraq.
Yes, Condi Rice is quite precise
With foreign policy advice

On who's Afghani and who's Pakistani.
I like to have her near in case
I just can't place some foreign face,
But Condoleezza Rice is not my nanny.

I can't appear without my Nanny Dick.
I wouldn't know which facts I should convey.
I can't appear without my Nanny Dick.
It's Nanny Dick who tells me what to say.

--April 26, 2004

The only time george w. bush seemed reluctant to talk about 9/11 was when he was asked to appear before the 9/11 Commission. Otherwise, he mentioned it constantly, usually just before mentioning the importance of taking our fight against terrorism to Iraq. Considering his attempt to make his case by what rhetoricians might call relentless juxtaposition, George W. Bush may someday be referred to by historians as the Great Conflater.

At the 9/11 hearings, the President's team seemed like unnaturally shy actors pulled onstage for a curtain call. Orange John Ashcroft was there, denying that in the pre-9/11 period he'd told the FBI that he didn't want to be bothered with any more reports about terrorism threats. Mushroom Cloud Rice appeared, insisting that there was no "silver bullet" that might have prevented the attack. She seemed reluctant to reveal the title of the daily intelligence briefing delivered to the President at his Crawford ranch one morning in August 2001, before the full day of brush cutting and mountain biking and general summer fun began. The title was, she finally acknowledged, "Bin Laden Determined to Attack in the United States."

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Customer Reviews

George Bush may be remembered by historians as "the Great Conflater."
H. F. Corbin
His ability to frame the painfully obvious in a way that surprises and amuses you is wonderful.
Laura Harrington
If you want a political satire that will make you laugh, this is the one.
Jaci Rae

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

165 of 179 people found the following review helpful By Jon Hunt on June 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The president's a perfect foil

For author Calvin Trillin.

The nation's in a big turmoil

Thanks to our dimwit villain.

But to the rescue comes "C. T."

Who sheds some light on "Dub-ya".

Each page evokes a firm "teehee"

And will the right way rub ya.

His commentary lights upon

Those Bushies lacking shtick.

There's Mushroom Cloud and Orange John

And Five Deferments Dick.

Yet our commander is the one

That Trillin writes the most of.

It could be said that when he's done

The president's made toast of.

I highly recommend this work

For wit that's nicely offered.

And in '09 that White House jerk

Is goin' home to Crawford.
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74 of 80 people found the following review helpful By H. F. Corbin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In A HECKUVA JOB Calvin Trillin continues his rhymed assessments of the current Bush administration that he began in OBLIVIOUSLY ON HE SAILS. His title is obvious to anyone who owned a radio or television set during the Katrina debacle. For the two Americans who missed Bush's comment, he informed FEMA Chief Michael Brown that he was doing a "heckuva job" as some New Orleans citizens were stranded on housetops as they held signs begging for help while others lay floating in the waters caused by Katrina. All the usual suspects are back; actually most of them never went away although the country did lose Paul Wolfowitz to the World Bank and John Ashcroft and a couple of others resigned as Mr. Bush began the second four years of his reign. Mr. Trillin takes aim at Mushroom Cloud Rice and Five Deferments Dick-- or if you prefer-- Nanny Dick-- as well as a host of other Bush accomplices.

Here are some of Mr Trillin's gems: About Cheney's statements of Iraq's role in 9/11; "If you say it enough, then it's true." About Bush's current abysmal approval rating: "But those pols don't have Jesus on their side." Condoleezza Rice is described as "cold as ice," but "precise with her advice." George Bush may be remembered by historians as "the Great Conflater." And Trillin on Colin Powell: "It's sad to see, as we remember when/Some thought he was the president-elect to be,/How easily is done a Colinectomy." The most devastating "poem" by far has to be "A Short History Of Someone Who Failed To Get Into The Champagne Unit of The Texas Air National Guard In 1958."

Historians may not recall

My name, now chiseled on that wall.
Read more ›
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60 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Jaci Rae on June 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
A Heckuva Job Writing A Heckuva A Book! If you want a political satire that will make you laugh, this is the one. Using rhyme to state the obvious that the powers that be haven't a clue what is really going on, just note Katrina and other disasters if you want a clue. The President had to finally go down to New Orleans to make a public show.

The rhythm of the rhyme is hysterically funny, using many of the Bush Admin's people as caricatures. This is a witty (yet powerful prose) style book that will help you laugh at the dire situation this administration has placed our country. It's better to laugh than cry, but taking action in both is best and that's what this author begins to do by cutting in and placing truth in the rhymes.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jon Linden VINE VOICE on September 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In historian circles Mr. George W. Bush has presented a situation which will be long debated in the annals of American Presidential history. This topic is in fact: Is or was President George W. Bush the WORST President the United States of America has ever had?

Prior to President G. W. Bush it has long been felt that while there are several contenders, President Warren G. Harding seems to win the prize for the WORST President in American history. In just 6 long years, President George W. Bush has put historians in a quandary. After all, Harding's failures and messes such as "Tea Pot Dome" and others seem to pale in comparison to the incredibly poor decisions and amazing cronyism displayed by President George W. Bush.

Calvin Trillin puts all this into rhyming verse in this book. In 11 short poetic chapters, Mr. Trillin introduces humor into an otherwise abhorrent situation. Titles of his chapters such as these are particularly humorous:

The War In Nine Stanzas

Don't Change Scaremongers In The Middle Of The Stream

In The Court Of George II, Cowboy Monarch

A Plague In Both Their Houses

Two Crooners Deny Having Misled The Country Into War

And several others, Trillin makes humor, but not light, of President Bush and his administration. Such rhyming couplets as the following run all through the book and offer great respite from the actual news of these events:

"He believes, from what we can construe,

If you say it enough, then it's true."

These brilliant little poetic commentaries are truly a wondrous relief, if only for a few hours, from the reality of this Presidency. The book is recommended for all people who vote. Those who fail to vote perhaps do not matter. For in a Democracy, it is only those who vote that have a real voice. For great political satire in poetry, this book is very highly recommended.
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