Brave Pilot Saved Us From President's Speech

A grateful nation honors Chesley Sullenberger

George W. Bush's farewell address to the nation was a bit like his last press conference, but shorter: a little sentimental, a little defensive, a lot about 9/11. Fortunately, nobody had to watch it because of the blanket coverage devoted to a freaking airplane that flew into the Hudson.

On any other occasion, the news networks would have made some passing note of this unusual event -- after all, it's not every day that a plane is assaulted by birds and then lands safely in a river, plus it happened in New York, which made it instantly more important -- but they might not have spent all night on the topic.

However, thanks to George Bush's farewell address, the choice was clear: we could either listen to a sad, exhausted man lamely recalling the glory days of 9/11, or we could hear about the exciting story of a heroic pilot who steered his broken plane over a major population center and managed to land, flawlessly, in an icy river. There was even a cute baby on the plane! A baby that didn't die, because of this heroic pilot!

Bush's address was so inconsequential and dull that even the BBC News -- a network you'd think would be more interested in politics and world leaders than aviation trivia -- gave him a quick brush-off before pouncing on the plane story. "[Bush] looked a little older, he looked a little grayer, he looked a little bit more gaunt, in fact he looked remarkably like his own father," intoned the anchor, before passing the baton to some blonde lady who had all the details on the EXCITING HUDSON RESCUE.

America owes a debt of gratitude to Chesley Sullenberger III. Not only did this cool-headed former fighter pilot save the lives of 150-odd citizens who faced a gruesome end: he also saved America from George W. Bush.

Sara K. Smith also writes for Wonkette, a peer-reviewed journal on aviation and politics.

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