2002: Axis of Weevil
The year started with the signing of the No Child Left Behind act — under which the word “reductionism” was ordered stricken from vocabulary textbooks. (It wouldn’t be on the test in a million years, so why bother?)
In related news: the Axis of Evil, the entrenchment of the Bush Doctrine (and at a graudation address at West Point, the first major public pronouncement of preemptive war as a foreign policy), a shift of focus away from Osama bin Laden (or, at least, the public disclosure of this shift), “regime change,” “Coalition of the Willing” and Toby Keith. And, finally: the vote on the war — during which liberals totally forgot about the Klan and the pork and fell madly in love with Robert Byrd.
Also: after getting stoned and contemplating a bowl of Lifesavers candy, the government gave birth to the Threat Levels — two of which have a lot of dust on them. And President Bush damn near bought it after failing to correctly eat a pretzel.
Despite it all: the GOP still managed to take back the Senate. Max Cleland, a war hero, got aced by a guy who basically said that Cleland had a total mancrush on Osama. It would be nice to say, “well, it was just Georgia being Georgia” and leave it at that. But that wasn’t the case, of course.