Monday, July 16, 2012

Mitt, John, and Eric talk veep

SceneFriday afternoon, July 13, 2012.   A dark, smokey bar in the basement of a DC office building.  Speaker of the House John Boehner slouches on a bar stool, forearms resting on the mahogany surface before him.  Seated on the stool next is presumed Republican nominee for President, Mitt Romney.  There are only the two of them and the unobtrusive bartender in the entire place.  Romney leans toward Boehner as he speaks.  Romney's hand, perched on Boehner's shoulder is a fleshy, wingless mosquito poised to bite.

Romney:  And, listen John, I kid you not --there we are, well into the vetting process --last round of interviews --and Rhodes asks her about that thing in Belgrade.  You know.  What did she tell POTUS?  Why wasn't there a forceful response?  Why didn't she let the president handle it?  And --as I live and breathe, John --she blew a gasket.  Like a goose protecting her gosling.  "Leave that poor man out of this!" she says.  "You have know idea what his mother did to him."  Can you believe that?  She said that about the former president of the United States. 

Boehner[casting a sidelong look]:  Have you ever seen that old Bush battleaxe get her knickers in a knot?  She could make anybody cry.

Romney:  You've got a point.

Boehner:  So I assume Condi didn't make the cut, then?

Romney:  She doesn't fit the ticket anyway.  We're not gonna win this thing with outreach.  Karl ran the numbers and he thinks we can pull one more rabbit out of the Southern Strategy hat.  Boy, I was eating up those boos at the NAACP thing.

Boehner:  Can't argue with a well-executed plan, I suppose.  But, if not Condi, who?

Romney:  All in good time, my friend.  All in good time.

[House Majority Leader Eric Cantor appears in the entrance to the bar, looks around then spots Boehner and Romney.  Cantor turns around and starts to leave.]

Romney:  Whoah, whoah, whoah!  Eric, my friend, why such a hurry?  

Boehner[wryly]:  Yeah, Eric, come sit down.  How're things now that Mudcat Saunders has taken an interest in your district?

[Cantor's sholders sag.  His chin drops to his chest; his feet are cast iron weights pulling him down as he turns and makes his way to the bar.]

Boehner:  Lookin' a little down at the mouth, Eric.  Come on, now.  That's no way for the leader of the Young Guns to be.

Romney:  Really, Eric.  What gives? 

Cantor:  So this is how the game works?  A guy gets a few bad breaks and everybody lines up to jeer at him?

[Romney looks confused.]

Boehner: Let me ask you something, Eric.  Have you ever been on a farm?  You ever seen how chickens act when they're penned up in the coop?  They call it a "pecking order."  And guess what?  You've got the smallest pecker in this coop.

Cantor:  Asshole!

Boehner: Yep, I'm an asshole.  [He lifts his glass, points his little finger at Cantor.]  But you're a Young Gun. [He knocks it back.  The bartender, a drink-slinging veteran, is already at hand with a fresh one.

Romney[brightening]:  Hey, now.  Those Young Guns. Don't get the wrong idea, anybody, but I've got my staff talking to Paul Ryan.  Hate to potentially rob you of one of your Guns, Eric, but, you know, Paul could maybe help in the Great Lakes.

Boehner:  Paul Ryan?  What's wrong with young Eric, here?  He's not a Gun; he's the Gun!  He's the guy who put the whole thing together.  Isn't that right, Eric?

[Cantor shoots Boehner a look that would drain all the color from a garden-fresh salad.]

Romney[looking wistful]:  Yeah, I thought about it.  No offense, Eric, but you know, I'm Mormon, which is already pushing it for a lot of our base.  I think adding a Jew to the ticket might be too much of a stretch.

Cantor:  Oh, yeah, Mitt.  No offense.  Instead, you're gonna take Ryan.  Or better yet, Marco Rubio.  Marco Rubio.

Romney:  Yeah, Rubio.  He's Mexican.

Boehner:  Actually, he's Cuban.

Romney:  Hispanic, John.  Hispanic. That's what counts.

[Boehner chuckles, in spite of himself.]

Boehner[To Cantor]:  You're not gonna tell me you didn't see this coming, are you?

Cantor:  Just because you're right doesn't mean you're not a washed-up shlimazel. 

Boehner:  We play the hand we get dealt.

Romney[looking confused]:  What are you talking about?  What the hell are you talking about?  Really!

[Boehner and Cantor study the dark surface of the bar.]

Romney:  We're all on the same side, right?

[Silence descends on the scene, broken only by the sound of the dishwasher behind the bar.  Happy hour is approaching.]

No comments: