Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Big John takes the helm

SceneSunday morning, August 22, 2010.  The sitting room of a New York hotel suite.  Scarlet carpet and drapes.  White-liveried servants (mostly of dark complexion) service a small breakfast bar to one side.  Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner and Minority Whip Eric Cantor are watching a massive television screen, on which David Gregory is speaking with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. 

Boehner [to a woman carrying a tray of flute glasses containing a melichrous, bubbly liquid]: Don't go anywhere with those mimosas, sweetheart. 

Cantor:  Just watch!  Mitch is gonna cut that punk a new one!

[on screen]
Gregory: a leader of the country, sir, as one of the most powerful Republicans in the country, do you think you have an obligation to say to 34 percent of Republicans in the country--rather, 31 percent who believe the president of the United States is a Muslim? That's misinformation.

McConnell: The president says he's a--the president says he's a Christian, I take him at his word. I don't think that's in dispute.

Gregory: And do you think--how, how do you think it comes to be that this kind of misinformation gets spread around and prevails?

McConnell: I have no idea, but I take the president at his word.
Cantor:  Point!  Set!  Match!

Boehner: Good God!  Turn it off! [One of the servants turns off the television.  The woman with the tray takes an empty glass from Boehner's hand.]

Cantor:  What's the matter, boss?

Boehner: Are you deaf?  Or just stupid?

[Cantor stares, mouth agape.]

Boehner: Forget I asked.

Cantor:  I don't get it, John.  Mitch played it just right, didn't he? 

Boehner:  Yeah, just right.  He's probably got every moonshine hillbilly from Hickman to Paw Paw shooting guns into the air.  But Mitch never did understand:  hillbillies get pretty scarce outside Kentucky.  Not everybody believes Fox News.

Cantor:  What are you saying?

Boehner:  You can't be that thick, can you? 

[Cantor frowns, concentrating.]

Cantor:  You think... the base is... dumb?  

[Long, pregnant silence.  Enter Sarah Palin followed by Newt Gingrich.]

Gingrich:   Sarah, I don't really expect you to understand this, but  I'm a man, just like any other.  At least in that sense.  I just happen to also be brilliant; I refuse to let myself be shamed by my inferiors.

Palin:  Aw, Newt.  You're such a kidder!  [She punches his arm, playfully.]  I'm not ashamed of my inferiors, either, you know.  What do I care if some New York magazine doesn't like the way I decorate my house?

[Gingrich frowns, rubs his arm.]

Cantor [to Boehner]:  You're saying the people we count on for support are idiots?  What should we do about it?

Boehner [sighing]:  Not much to be done, old bean.  But, when this is all over, I won't let it be said that I didn't go down with the ship.  Tomorrow, I'll lay it out.  A speech at the City Club in Cleveland.  The new Republican vision. Tax cuts for businesses.  Geithner and Summers out!

Cantor:  You mean specifics?  But why?  We've got this thing in the bag!  We don't need to say anything!

Boehner:  Jesus!  I need a real drink! [He waves away the woman with the tray of mimosas.]  Have that kid over at the bar stir me up a martini, will ya, sweetheart?

Gingrich [to Palin]:   Sarah, I feel like you're not catching my drift...  [He leans next to her and whispers in her ear.] 

Palin [smiling, patiently]:  Now, Newt... behave!

Gingrich:   But aren't you just a little bit attracted to my intellect?  Be honest.

Palin:  Newt, in case you didn't know, I'm married to Todd Palin, Alaska's First Dude.

Boehner [smirking]:  That about says it all, doesn't it, Newt?  [He flips on the television, changes the channel to Cartoon Network, accepts the offered martini from the white-gloved hand of a servant, takes a big slurp.]  I can't take this anymore.  I've got a speech to write anyway. [Exit.]

Gingrich [sitting on the divan]:   You know what my favorite old cartoon is?  Davey and Goliath!

Palin:  Too preachy!  I always liked Powerpuff Girls.

Gingrich [to the servant at the breakfast bar]:   Eggs Benedict.   Don't spare the hollandaise.

[Cantor sits with his hands on his knees, frowning.]

Gingrich:   Eric, you need to lighten up.  Life is good!

Palin:  Now you're talkin', Newt. Life is very good.

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