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.
“Missouri … Missouri went for McCain, didn’t it?”
“Yes, Mr. President,” said special adviser Howard Bashford. “Sen. McCain got Missouri’s 11 electoral votes, but he only won the state by 3,000-odd votes. The ‘Show Me State’ very nearly went ‘blue.’”
“Then tell me,” said President Obama, “if the 2008 vote were that close, how could Missouri voters reject my health-care bill with more than 70 percent of the vote? And Virginia! Why I won Virginia – handily. How did the ‘Old Dominion’ give popular support to a lawsuit against my health-care plan?”
“Well, Mr. President …” Bashford began, but Obama interrupted, “Didn’t the bill skim through Congress? Didn’t we have an open and transparent debate? Didn’t the people of the United States overwhelmingly support the plan?”
“No, no and no,” said the adviser, somewhat testily. “What we have to worry about is the present. Our secret investigation on the issue indicates that a lot of opinion leaders actually have read the 2,600 pages of the health-care bill. Not only have they been telling the people what’s in it, some of the media finally have begun to report on it. As a result, a lot of voters have moved into the ‘anti’ category.”
“Opinion leaders read the bill? The media are reading the bill?” asked the president incredulously. “Congress didn’t read the bill. I didn’t read the bill! What right do these opinion leaders have to read the bill?”
“Anybody may read a bill or a law, Mr. President. At least so far,” said Bashford. “But I don’t think you should concentrate on that as much as on the fact the bill was unpopular before anybody read it, and it’s becoming more unpopular as people do read it.”
Obama paced back and forth on the blue carpet of the Oval Office, muttering angrily to himself.
When he stopped, he whirled toward Bashford and smiled.
“I’ve got it!” he exclaimed. “An oil spill!”
“Uh, an oil spill?” asked the adviser.
“Yes, yes!” said Obama. “A new oil spill, just like in the Gulf of Mexico. That will show the people of Missouri and Virginia how much they depend on the federal government, and it will take the rest of the country’s mind off health care.”
“Missouri has some oil,” the president continued. “We might be able to arrange a blowout. But Virginia has hardly any. A tanker wreck would be the thing there. We’ll be able to ride in and show how much the federal government is ready to help.”
“But, Mr. President,” said Bashford, “for days and days we did next to nothing for the Gulf states. For example, we dragged our feet on everything Louisiana asked for.”
“Precisely my point,” said the president. “The Gulf states – apart from Florida – didn’t vote for me. So, we did next to nothing from day one. Those states voted McCain and people have to recognize elections have consequences.
“We’ve taught the Gulf states a lesson, we’re teaching Arizona that lesson, and we’ll teach Missouri and Virginia, too. We’ll teach anybody else who doesn’t recognize I was elected.
“That stupid cop from Cambridge learned. BP learned. Wall Street learned. Everybody has to learn. Consequences! Elections have consequences!
“Bashford! Arrange for some consequences!”
The adviser slipped out of the Oval Office and found Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.
“Rahm,” he said, “the president wants consequences again.”
And Emanuel replied, “We’re already getting more than we can use.”