Sunday, April 30, 2006

How I Didn't Become the New Press Secretary

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As I’m sure you are aware, there’ve been some big shakeups at the White House lately.

First, Chief of Staff Andy Card resigned and was replaced by Josh Bolten. Then the dominoes began to fall. Deputy Chief Karl Rove’s duties were shifted from “policy” to “politics.” Then longtime White House Press Secretary Scotty McLellan announced that he was stepping down.

I couldn’t help but see Scotty’s departure as a major opportunity. After all, as a semi-professional journalist my ownself, I figured I’d have a natural rapport with the other ink-stained wretches of the press.

(Actually, in the modern world, where all the reporting is done on laptop computers, maybe we need a new term for the press. “Laser-toner stained wretches,” maybe? But I digress.)

In addition to the sterling journalistic credentials I’ve won by virtue of this award-winning column, I also, as you may remember, recently became a Republican, so I’ve got that going for me. So I figured, hey, why not? How hard can being Dubbya’s press secretary be? So I rang them up.

“White House Communications Office.”

“Hi, I’m calling about employment.”

“Which position are you interested in, sir?”

“For national security reasons, I’m not permitted to discuss that.”

“Excuse me, sir? What position did you say you were calling about?”

“We’ve already been over that, ma’am. Several times. But I can tell you that the world was changed on Sept. 11, when terrorists …”

“Oh, right. That would be the press secretary position. Hold, please.”

After a moment, a gruff male voice came on the line. “Who is this?”

“I don’t think that’s the kind of question the American people are really interested in. After Sept. 11 …”

“I like your attitude, son,” the voice said. “Be here at 3 p.m. tomorrow for an interview.”

I was overjoyed. I was going to the White House! I threw a clean suit in the airline bag and hopped the next plane to Washington. As I got off the plane, two very large men in dark suits and sunglasses stepped up on either side of me.

“Are you Rhoades?” the one on my left demanded.

“I have heard those allegations,” I said, “and they are reckless and irresponsible.”

“Come with us,” the other one said.

They didn’t give me time to comply, but instead picked me up by my elbows and carried me through the airport, my legs pumping comically in mid-air. They quickly whisked me into a waiting long black limousine and popped a bag over my head. After a long ride, they hauled me out of the car and down what sounded like a long corridor.

They plopped me in a chair and yanked the bag off my head. I was seated before a scowling old man sitting behind a desk. He was ostentatiously cleaning a shotgun.

“P … Pleased to m … make your acquaintance, Mr. Vice President,” I quavered.

“Shut up,” he snarled. After a moment, he said “So you want to be the presidential mouthpiece, eh?”

“I’m not going to get into personnel matters. There is a process in place, and when it is completed, there’ll be a press secretary.”

“Not bad,” he grunted. “Let’s try this one. Say Karl Rove just got indicted …”

I sat up quickly. “He did?”

“It’s a hypothetical situation, you idiot! Anyway, if Karl Rove gets indicted, what do you say?”

That one was easy. “We can’t comment on an ongoing criminal investigation,” I said promptly.


“And … no one wants to find out the truth more than the president.”

“And if someone asks you why the president doesn’t just ask Karl Rove what he did or didn’t do if he wants to know the truth?”

“I can’t comment on internal meetings between the president and his staff.” I said.

“You’re pretty good at this,” he said.

“I don’t think that in the post-Sept. 11 world that the American people want to know about who’s good or bad at the job of ...”

“Stop it,” he barked.

“Yes, sir.”

He looked me over carefully. “Let’s do a little word association. I’ll say a word, and you tell me the first word that pops into your head. Okay?”

I nodded.



“Illegal torture prisons.”


“Illegal wiretaps.”


“Nuclear strike on Iran.”

“Are you people out of your cotton-pickin’ minds!?” I blurted.

“I knew it!” he roared. “Traitor! Terrorist sympathizer! You want us to get hit again!” He raised the shotgun and fired. I barely had time to dive to the floor as the birdshot blew the overstuffed chair into confetti.

I scuttled for the door as he fired again. This shot blew splinters out of the door above my head. I managed to get the door open and flee as he was reloading.

So, long story short, looks like I won’t be the new White House press secretary. And after my weeks of service to the party, too. Oh, well. I hear there’s going to be an opening soon at Treasury.


Sandra Ruttan said...

A Republican with a sense of humour?

Best be careful you don't end up on any watch lists!

Stephen Blackmoore said...

I'm sure Mr. Rhoades already has a thick file at the FBI.

Tasha Alexander said...