Can He Take a Frisk?
After “Rahmbo” Emanuel, the Illinois congressman dubbed “the hostage negotiator” by the Obama forces, fails to talk Hillary down, Barack Obama knows that he is left with one final roll of the dice. He sets up a secret meeting with Bill Clinton in neutral territory at Rahm’s hideaway office in the Capitol.
Bill arrives two hours late, red-faced and truculent.
“If you brought me over here to cry uncle, shame on you, Barack Obama. You and your press lackeys are engaged in a cover-up even though Hillary’s winnin’ the popular vote and the general election.”
“Hey, Bill, please, stop wagging your finger at me. Call off Harold Ickes and the Hillaryland Huns. You’re right. I can’t win without her. The two of us can clean McCain’s grandfather clock.”
“That’s why they call me: No Drama Obama.”
“You’re a natural, like me. I was for hope; you are for hope. I was for change; you are for change. I took the Camelot sword from J.F.K.; you took it from Teddy. I would have been with you from the beginning except for that little deal I had with Hillary. She’s going to be so relieved that she doesn’t have to return to the back rows of the Senate with everybody there snickering that she flopped. And if something happens to you, God forbid, she’s right there in the Situation Room, ready to go at 3 a.m. on her Day One.”
“Yeah. I really want to announce this quickly, so let’s clear up a few niggling details.”
“Thank goodness you’ve got Jim Johnson frisking me. He’s the guy who missed all the baggage weighing down Geraldine Ferraro’s husband.”
“Mr. President, I’m going to run a very transparent administration, everything on C-Span. So I’ll need a full accounting of your foundation donors.”
“Oh, sure thing, buddy, from this day forward.”
“No, Bill, we’ll need full disclosure of your business dealings for the last eight years. And you can no longer accept Arab millions — not if I’m going to talk tough to them about oil. I can’t send Hillary on diplomatic missions to the Middle East if you’re taking money from Dubai and Kuwait. And no more trips to Kazakhstan. I wouldn’t want to have to put a Geiger-counter bracelet on you to check that you’re not involved in another shady uranium deal.”
“We need to know where that $11 million came from that you guys loaned your campaign. And the $15 million from Ron Burkle at Yucaipa and the $3 million from Vinod Gupta. And you must spill about any offshore accounts in the Caymans. And no more big-money speeches, Bill. You guys have already cashed in for more than $100 million.”
“You’re right, Barack, no more speeches. Just conversations. If a C.E.O. interviews me in front of a small audience, that’s fine. But no speeches.”
“I’m not debating the meaning of the word ‘speech,’ Bill. We’re going to have an administration so squeaky clean that it makes Jimmy Carter look like Marc Rich. All your trips abroad will have to be authorized by a higher authority.”
“The State Department? Fine, I’ll check with them.”
“Oh, no. Not that.”
“Yes, Michelle. She’ll have you on a much shorter leash, Bill, and it’s not so fun. There’ll be no more Ron Air, no Burkling and Binging. Eight long years of Michelle watching your every move. No eruptions of any kind. And that big telescope in the Naval Observatory is off limits. We’re going to be a family-values administration. And in the campaign, we’ll use you the way Al Gore did: Not at all. No more Bill YouTube meltdowns.”
“You know, Barack, the more I’m seein’ what you’ve got in mind for me, the more I’m worryin’ that Hillary’s just not cut out for this job. You don’t want her glomming on to everythin’. Since she’s almost even with the delegates, she’ll want to go halfsies in the government. She’ll want to run foreign policy, cause you know nothin’ about that. And legal stuff, because you never practiced real law. And economic policy, ’cause she connected better with working-class voters. And everything to do with white people, of course. I’ve got to level with you, man. Hillary’s a lot of work. And that Kathleen Sebelius is terrific and has those twinkly eyes.”
“So, Bill, you’re not wedded to Hillary being vice president? You won’t sabotage my campaign if I pick somebody I like, I mean, like, if I pick somebody else?”
“Nah. Now that I see the big picture, the idea of Hillary as your No. 2 was always a fairy tale.”