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Chat with the president

White House: Good morning, White House operator.

Mr. Moderate: Hello there, I wanna speak to the president.

White House Operator: The president is in an important meeting with Secretaries Powell and Rumsfeld, Condi Rice and Dan Rather.

Mr. Moderate: Dan Rather? What the hell is he doing there. Wouldn’t he rather (heh, heh) be someplace else?

White House Operator: Yes, Mr. Rather would rather (heh, heh) be someplace else, but word is that network TV is losing audience share and he’s thinking of jumping to FOX or MSNBC and wants to be prepared just in case.

Mr. Moderate: Oh.

White House Operator: May I have your name please and I’ll see if I can interrupt the president.

Mr. Moderate: Tell, President Shoot-from-the-Hip that it’s one of his constituents, Mr. Slighty Moderate, from the great state of Colorado – more specifically, the Vail Valley, which is left of Washington if you orient your map properly (heh, heh).

White House Operator: One moment please, sir.

Background music – “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”

White House Operator: Mr. Moderate you’re in luck. The meeting just broke up and the president’s conference call with Mssrs. Putin and Chirac has been delayed. It seems Mr. Chirac has lost his face and refuses to speak with anyone until he finds it.

Mr. Moderate: I thought Chirac was two-faced. Why doesn’t he use the second one?

White House Operator: I shouldn’t be saying this to you, but truth be known, he saves that one for Mr. Kofi Anan.

Mr. Moderate: Oh.

White House Operator: Just a moment sir and I’ll put you through.

POTUS (President of the United States): This is the president speaking. How may I help you, Mr. Moderate?

Mr. Moderate: Just call me Sly, it’s short for Slighty, is that OK, George? I can call you George, can’t I?

POTUS: Well, Mr. Moderate, I would like to preserve the dignity of the office, so if you don’t mind, I would prefer Mr. President.

Mr. Moderate: Well OK, if you insist.

POTUS: So how may I help you today, Mr. Moderate?

Mr. Moderate: Sly!

POTUS: Ok, so how may I help you today, Sly?

Mr. Moderate: Well I’ve been listening to some talk radio and they keep on referring to the fact that you have a great sense of history. Well I don’t think so! Because never in our glorious history have we attacked another country without provocation, so what the hell are they talking about?

POTUS: Well, Sly, I don’t know who said what, but I suspect what they’re referring to is the history of tyrants. You know, men like Adolph Hitler, Josef Stalin, Mao Tse-tung, Pol Pot, and Slobodan Milosevic, those kinds of guys, the ones who murder millions, guys like Saddam Hussein.

Mr. Moderate: Oh.

POTUS: Is there anything else?

Mr. Moderate: Yes there is. I wanna know how you had the gall to call the forces used in Iraq a coalition. There were only two countries with troops over there, the Brits and us.

POTUS: Actually there were four, but that’s a technicality. More importantly, almost twice as many nations supported our efforts in Iraq than did during the Gulf War. But our network-centric military doctrine made it impossible to incorporate other armies onto the battlefield. In fact, additional armies would only have hindered our efforts. You see Sly, most nations are years behind us in military technology and we felt that using armies without our level networked sophistication would have resulted in more casualties, not less.

Mr. Moderate: Oh.

POTUS: Anything else?

Mr. Moderate: Yeah, these TV news guys keep referring to the fact that the Arab world never takes responsibility for their actions. Well, what about you and Congress? Do you ever admit that you’re wrong?

POTUS: The way our government redresses situations has absolutely nothing to do with the Arabs not taking responsibility for their actions. It’s faulty reasoning to defend one position by attacking another.

Mr. Moderate: Oh.

POTUS: Now is there anything else? I’m awfully busy today, Sly.

Mr. Moderate: Well, I want you to know that I know why you went to war in Iraq, and it was for oil!

POTUS: Sly, if you know what I’m thinking, then you’re a national security risk because every totalitarian government in the world will want to hire you – and for big bucks! How many offers have you received this week? And by the way, if we wanted Iraq’s oil we would have purchased it. It would have been cheaper.

Mr. Moderate: Oh.

POTUS: Look; I really must be going, so I have time for just one more question, OK?

Mr. Moderate: Ah forget it, I mean you’re not even really the president. You didn’t win the popular vote!

POTUS: Well Sly, actually I am the president, at least according to the Constitution. While you may disagree with the Electoral College system, let me help you understand it by way of analogy.

In football, a touchdown is 6 points, chucking a receiver more than 5 yards downfield is pass interference, and if a coach appeals a play via instant replay and loses, it costs his team a timeout.

However, sometimes the owners feel it’s necessary to change the rules. So they invented a rules committee that oversees all NFL rule changes. The owners get together annually to review the rules and change them when they feel it’s necessary.

We do something similar in our government. While we don’t have a rules committee per se, we do have a Congress and a Supreme Court. And if anyone feels strongly enough about changing the rules, i.e. the Constitution, we have a procedure for that.

Mr. Moderate: Oh.

Butch Mazzuca of Singletree writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at bmazz@centurytel.net


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