Flash forward to January 21, 2009 . . .
In her first official act, Vice President Sarah Palin has asked for the resignation of Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.
After a little distraction as Dick Cheney's staff received new business cards and stationery reflecting their transition to Palin's staff, the Vice President's Office issued the following statement this morning over Palin's signature:
"President McCain and I came to the nation's capital with a mandate for change, and I am pleased to begin that process right in the heart of Washington. When I took that oath or whatever yesterday, I looked over at the Library of Congress building and immediately had several questions.
"First, what is it with all the books? Isn't it enough to have our Declaration of Independence on display at the National Archives? Luckily the Archives have room for the upcoming Alaskan Declaration of Independence.
"Second, aren't books basically elitist? Most real Americans are too busy to read. So let's clear the books out and make use of this prime bit of real estate.
"We can begin with test bores that will quickly show whether there are natural resources beneath the Library that could be extracted for the benefit of all Americans. If that doesn't pan out, I believe that with some outside-the-Washington-box thinking we can come up with some cool adaptations for what's left of the building.
"That big room with the dome would make an ideal ice rink, and there's plenty of space elsewhere for a shooting range. Part of the building ought to be converted to a hotel, which would be a much more convenient place for my successors as mayor and governor to stay when they come to Washington to seek even more federal earmarks for Alaska. I know from experience that it can be like an Ironman race going from the hotel to K Street to the Capitol to fancy restaurants and back--and not a mooseburger in sight!
"On the way to the Inauguration Ball, I called Mr. Billington to ask that he implement these ideas. He did not agree to them. This led me to do a Google search on him. That thorough vetting process has resulted in shocking revelations about the Librarian. Among the issues:
"A year ago, he appointed Jon Scieszka the first national reading ambassador. Why not Jack London? Or Ernest Hemingway?
"Why did the Librarian write so many books about Russia? I know Russia: I've seen it from across the Bering Strait and believe me there's not much going on.
"Why has he helped bring so many 'scholars' from Russia to study here?
"What's with all these awards from foreign countries, especially the honorary doctorate from Moscow State University? What's the matter with American awards?
"He has held this job 21 years. In my book, 21 months in one position is more than enough.
"What and why is the National Book Festival? Sure it was supported by the last First Lady, but she represented an administration we Republicans are happy to have sent packing yesterday. Why not a National Snowmobile Festival?"