The Zeitgeist Checklist By MICHAEL Grunwald
SURGE SUPPRESSORS Last week: 1 Weeks on list: 26
1. Iraq. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell joins the Joint Chiefs of Staff and 88 percent of the public in opposing a "surge" of new troops. At his end-of-the-year news conference, President Bush says he'll think seriously about scrapping the idea, because he's recently decided to start giving a rat's patootie what Colin Powell thinks. It should happen shortly after he makes Britney Spears his undersecretary for undergarments.
NOT TO MENTION LEAVING Last week: -- Weeks on list: 1
2. White House. In a surprising reversal, Bush finally informs the nation that we're not winning in Iraq. He then provides an equally surprising list of other things we're not doing in Iraq, including Jello-O-wrestling, cow-tipping, Zamboni-driving and learning.
IT'S STILL GOT NORTHERN CHARM Last week: -- Weeks on list: 1
3. Climate. A new study by the National Arbor Day Foundation finds that global warming has given Washington a distinctly Southern climate. Skeptics point out that if the District were really part of the South, Democrats wouldn't keep winning here.
YOU MAY ALREADY BE A WINNER! Last week: -- Weeks on list: 1
4. Media. Taking the indulgence of the American consumer to its logical extreme, Time magazine selects You as its Person of the Year. Never before has the Person of the Year spent so much time sitting around the house in his underwear, eating Cheetos and watching "Flavor of Love." Seriously, some experts believe Time hasn't chosen anyone this inept, incurious and clueless about the outside world since 2004.
BAYH WEEK Last week: 6 Weeks on list: 7
5. 2008. Virginia's own James S. Gilmore III is the latest GOP presidential wannabe to consider an exploratory committee. Its first task will be to explore who exactly is James S. Gilmore III. On the Democratic side, after Evan Bayh drops out of the race, early polls suggest that John Edwards is the front-runner in Iowa, Barack Obama is strong in South Carolina, and Dennis Kucinich is still competitive in the Kucinich household.
THE ZEITGEIST CHECKLIST ALSO APPEARS IN SLATE, THE ONLINE MAGAZINE AT WWW.SLATE.COM.
THE ANSWER TO WHAT? Last week: 10 Weeks on list: 2