Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell which is which.
(Act I, Scene I: Inside the presidential residence wing of the White House.)
Enter President Barack Obama.
President: (to Secret Service agent posted outside, stage left) Good night! (closes door and kicks off shoes) Ah! It’s good to be out of the Oval Office for the evening!
Michelle: You’re home! Good! Now we can have that family meeting we’ve been talking about for weeks.
President: Not another meeting! It feels like I do nothing but hold meetings. I have so many meetings, I barely have time to make policy speeches. And those speeches are important, because everybody knows I’m a great orator, and my oratory is essential to convincing the American people to support my policies.
Michelle: Spare me. And who do you suppose is going to pick up those shoes? Toss them in our bedroom and meet Sasha, Malia and me at the kitchen table.
(The president gathers the shoes and exits, stage right.)
(Scene II: The presidential breakfast nook. Michelle, Sasha and Malia are seated at a table as the president enters, dressed in a sweat suit.)
President: (seating himself) Let me just say a few words at the outset. It’s important that we have this summit so we can share ideas, take the best of your ideas and my ideas and synthesize a policy we all can support. The disagreements of the past are less important than the agreement we can reach here tonight, if we all proceed with goodwill and a determination to do what is best for all. Indeed, though we have had our differences, I believe we all are dedicated to this family and determined to do our best to assure a happy future. Indeed, I …
Michelle: (interrupting gently) Now, Barry, just how long are you going to talk without hearing your daughters and me?
President: Please, proceed.
Michelle: The girls and I think it’s time to extend their bedtime one hour. They are older now and have demonstrated responsibility in doing their homework and keeping their rooms neat. It’s also time to raise their allowances. They’re getting to an age when they like to do some of their own shopping, and this would give them greater flexibility in choosing their wardrobes.
President: I don’t see how we’re going to make much progress if you insist on bringing up these, these talking points that I’ve heard before. It’s all ground we’ve gone over in the past and …
Malia: Daddy! I want to buy some special shoes, and they cost more than you think. And our bedtime is way earlier than our friends at school. I’ve calculated that our average classmates got to bed an hour and 15 minutes later than we do and …
President: That’s just not true! I had a CBO analyst look at shoe prices and at bedtimes across the country. Letting me decide what shoes to buy will cut our household deficit, and letting me set bedtimes will lead to better health for you and Sasha and cut our health plan copayments – if we had copayments.
Sasha: Our figures are different than yours, Daddy. I’ll be happy to write them out for you.
President: That won’t be necessary. I’m confident my figures are the right figures.
(Curtain falls as Michelle and the girls frown at the president.)
(End of Act I)
(Act II, Scene I, the breakfast nook. The girls are gone, but the president and Michelle remain. Both look somewhat frazzled.)
President: I’ll say one thing about our daughters: They certainly have learned how to argue. They must get that from your side of the family. Why, I was nothing if not reasonable, and I countered their every argument with logic and with facts provided by my own team of expert analysts. Why …
Michelle: That’s for sure. You talked their ears off. You talked more than twice as much as the three of us combined. You talked …
President: Well, I may have talked a bit more than the rest of you, but after all, I am the president.
Michelle: Does that give you the right to be rude and overbearing?
President: I wasn’t rude and overbearing. Why, the polls show that my political base, far from finding me rude and overbearing, finds me a great orator, persuasive and cogent …
Michelle: You weren’t dealing with Republicans here, Barry. These were your daughters – and me. How come when you’re talking it’s oratory, but when I say something it’s “talking points”?
President: Well, I am the president, and rank does have some privileges, you know.
Michelle: (rising from the table) Very well, Barry. I’m going to bed.
President: (glancing at his wristwatch) Wow! Look at the time! We really have to hit the hay. I have a lot of meetings tomorrow, and a couple of speeches to make. (jocularly) Got to keep the old pipes tuned up!
Michelle: Yes. We wouldn’t want anything to disturb your sleep. You take the living room couch.
President: What! But …
Michelle: Rank does have its privileges, and I’m pulling rank. Good night, Mr. President.
(Michelle exits, stage left.)
President: (desperately) What about reconciliation!??
(The curtain falls as a nonplussed president stares after Michelle forlornly.)
The challenge of finding a suitable “nut” acronym to replace the sullied “ACORN” was not daunting to reader Rick Artis. He essayed the challenging “MACADAMIA,” producing “Malicious ACORNists Committed and Determined about Malfeasance in America.” The only change we would suggest would be to swap “about” for “to advocate.”
For his effort, throughout March Artis may bear the title “Archon of the Acronym.”