October 6, 2007
October 11, 2007

Inspired by the wit of the West Wing, I decided to attempt a very brief screenplay of my own — for one convoluted scene in the oval office.

* * *

The President in the oval office speaking to the Communications Director. The conversation is quick, if confused.

-The point is pristine.
-You mean crystal?
-It’s clear. Transparent.
-Well, no sir, that’s not quite clear.
-Is anything clear?
-The fact that nothing is clear, sir.

The President’s personal secretary opens the door.
-Mr. President, the Secretary of the Interior would like a word with you.
-If he has any idea what the word “transparent” means, I’ll make him the Commander in Chief.
-You’re the Commander in Chief, sir.
-I know. I’ve never hated my job as much as I do right now.
-Yes, Mr. President.
-Give me 5 minutes, alright?
-Yes, sir.

The secretary steps out of oval office.
-John, you tell me that the budgetary setbacks of the last six months amount to a necessary tax hike of $400 per household per year until the world explodes or destroys itself, but that the Chairman of the Federal Reserve is confident that a boost in stock market gains with an increased interest rate will level things out in the next 36 months. Then you write me a speech, in which I tell the American people nothing is more plain than the fact that they will get a tax increase they should be happy about, unless of course they don’t, in which case they can thank the Chairman of the Federal Reserve whom I appointed. That is your definition of transparent?
-No, sir. But the fact that there are two distinct possible outcomes of the economic setback of recent months is clear.
-You want me to tell 300 million people I don’t know what’s going to happen, but it could be one of two things?
-Yes, sir.
-How did you get this job again?
-You hired me, sir.
-I must have been drunk.
-You gave up drinking, Mr. President.
-Well, I was high then.
-You hate marijuana, sir. Your drafted legislation–
-Get out of my office.
-Yes, sir.

John leaves. The secretary directs the Secretary of the Interior into the office.
-Sit down, Tom.
-Yes, Mr. President.

They both sit, facing each other.
-Tom, I got a report today informing me that our immigration policies are excluding Jews in alarming numbers. In fact (picks up a brief on the table next to him), it says here that more than 70% of would-be, rejected immigrants to this country are Jews. Any reason we’re following in the footsteps of the 3rd Reich?
-Sir, I can assure you that we have never put in place any regulations that would restrict Jewish immigrants from landing on U.S. soil.
-It’s not the regulations I’m worried about. You know what we talk about up here, what we scribble down and hope becomes a law. And if it does, it gets thrown into a filing cabinet somewhere and not even my army of secretaries can find it. Words are nothing if there isn’t action to follow. Have you been to gates? Have you seen how our guys treat the old women coming off of the boats? I can’t. I’m ashamed to say it, but I can’t.

-All I’m saying Tom, is you should think about—
-Yes, Mr. President.
-Alright. Let me know what you find. I might want to take a trip myself—between Cuban embargoes and an economy that’ll be in ashes by tomorrow night.

-Yes, sir.
-See you later, Tom.
-Thank you, Mr. President.

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