Some of the great qualities of our president are his optimism and his self confidence, both of them wrapped in a streak of stubbornness and a sunny disposition. For a New Haven cowboy, George W. Bush is colorful and glib and has acquired most of the attractive qualities of a Houston oil millionaire's son. But his life in the White House has not been the Roman holiday he envisioned when sitting in his governor's office in Austin.
In the month of November of the year 2006, the Democratic Party scored a major victory in the mid term elections and all of a sudden found itself in command of both houses of Congress. It was a bitter pill to swallow for the Republican Party and for the herds of neo conservatives, traditionalists, right wing extremists, vociferous talk show hosts and many of those pseudo religious organizations that are ever present in any government environment. For our president, it was especially difficult, but, as we said, he is an optimist and does not wrinkle easily.
"George, what is the matter with you today? You have already taken two showers, shaved twice and used half a gallon of French cologne!"
"Not to worry First Lady. I have an important appointment later this morning and must appear more attractive than usual. I am going through all this trouble because of my loyalty to the party and my love for freedom and democracy. Not to mention my stated aim to protect America. You see, in the performance of my duties. . ".
"George cut the BS. You sound like a freshman on his first date. You better come clean or I'll talk to Mother Barbara"
"No, please, not that. I'll tell you but only if you promise not to tell Cheney or Condi"
"Cross my heart. Who is it?"
"Nancy Pelosi! The new Speaker of the House?"
"In person. We are having lunch together and since it is the first time we meet to discuss the immediate future of our nation, I thought it might be best if I meet alone with her. Hope you understand."
"I understand as long as you make it a business lunch. No Mariachis, gypsy violinists or champagne, okay? You never know about lady politicians even though I have always admired her. She is one of the few women in Congress that has no presidential pretensions like some lady senators I know and is more concerned with her daily chores than trying to sound like the stateswoman of the decade!"
"Not to worry First Lady. Right after the lunch I have to have a painful session with Rumsfeld. He is out of a job and I have to do something to help him out"
"The least you can do, George. Say hello to Rummy for me!"
The lunch was a success. Both the president and the Speaker of the House were in a cooperative mood and honored their good intentions aimed at solving the nation's problems and leaving aside petty grievances against each other. The only thing missing at the lunch was a choir singing some selections from Mandel, Schubert and Brentalher.
Back in his office the president greeted the former Secretary of Defense.:
"Thanks for coming Don"
"Always a pleasure Mister President. Do I detect some apprehension on your part? Probably it is my state of mind. You know, retired people are always fearful of pension plans, health care costs, mortgage rates, taxes, etc. Now, what do you want?"
"Well, it is the pension arrangements that I want to talk about"
"What about them?"
"We are going to have to cut back on a few things. With the new team in charge, we are no longer free to grant special benefits to our loyal collaborators. We are dropping the Iraq Premium of six million a year, then the Pentagon Retirement Subsidies of nine million dollars. As Secretary of defense, you lose the Hummer, the Jag, the Chrysler, the Cadillac and the Sewick along with the 4 million dollars a year expense allowance. The Energy Department has withdrawn its offer to contribute 10 million dollars a year to your fund"
"So, what the hell am I left with?"
"How about a new job, Don? We have some guard openings in Guantanamo"
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