The Mother of All Coups

According to the claim of one of the TV "Talk Show" pundits in his show on the evening following the recent voting, Charlie Rose, PBS personality and correspondent for the CBS 60 Minutes II clambake; Bill Moyers, PBS gadfly and conductor of the program NOW; and Joe Klein, senior editor at TIME and regular contributor to the Paula Zahn show on CNN, seriously discussed the likelihood on PBS shortly after the polls had closed of the possibility (if not probability) of an attempted coup d'etat by republicans - or at least some wing of the Republican Party - in the event that John Kerry won the election. Okay, this sounds crazy, but give the pundit the benefit of the doubt and accept the fact that these guys actually did that.

It is in late November late at night in the office of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who has been joined by Attorney General John Ashcroft, Joint-Chiefs Chairman Richard Myers, and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, hereinafter known as R, A, M, and Z, respectively.

R: Okay, we're agreed then, although nothing ever goes as smoothly as expected and we'll need input and requests from the generals…no, wait, I'm thinking about Fallujah…we're agreed then that the action should take place during the parade down Pennsylvania Avenue after the swearing-in ceremonies and those awful speeches…heaven forbid, maybe even a rambling poem by Maya Angelou that means ten minutes of trees and streams and dreams and black folks down by the riverside and the Mexicans among the grape vines and…

M: Okay, Chief, we got that pegged down…should be maybe around ten-thirty. I'll see to it that all the bands - Navy, Marine, Army, Coast Guard, ten from high schools, four drum and bugle corps, and that steel-drum outfit from Puerto Rico get thrown in one right after the other. Especially since they'll all be playing different music loudly for a parade and those steel-drum guys will be sounding like mortar explosions, nobody will be able to hear any gunfire at either the capitol or the White House.

A: What about the Supreme Court building? I know the justices are supposed to be at the capitol, but you know how they fall asleep in the middle of arguments. A couple of them might be in their offices and call 911 if they should wake up and hear something out of the ordinary, like a sensible statement. (laughter)

Z: They don't pose a threat, at least according to the last actionable intel from the FBI, CIA, DEA, Secret Service, IRS, TVA, Boy Scouts of America, and all the ships at sea. We're not after them anyway. The only people out to get them are the members of the 2000 Florida Supreme Court, still furious at being thwarted in their efforts to steal that election for Gore…so, the Supremes here have served notice that the Florida supremes are banned from D.C. and surrounding states. They don't care who runs the government here, since they're in their gowns until death or lunacy, whichever comes first and, of course, is recognizable. Frankly, I believe that three of them are…

R: Okay, General Myers, the noise enhancement - or is that procurement - program is secure…good…and without Halliburton…we don't need any more hassle about that. Now, do the Special Ops people attack the White House first or go for the capitol?

M: You know how they do those professional parachute jumps during important occasions. Well, this time we'll have 50 teams all supposedly aiming to guide themselves right down on the mall, but at the last minute dividing into three groups, the largest for the capitol, the next largest to the White House, and the third group to the Supreme Court building. We're also sending a small team to South Florida to make sure Rush Limbaugh doesn't smell a scoop of the coup and begin gloating on the air and claiming to be a gift from God and making all the Jews and Christians and Muslims mad, since we need them all against that squirrely Kerry crowd. Egad…can you imagine…Barbra Streisand is lined up to scream the National Anthem and Michael Moore is doing the invocation and Judge Judy is doing the swearing-in. For special music, instead of America, the Beautiful, Howard Dean is going to do his scream.

A: Sacrilegious! That's not only sacrilegious…that's also…remember when Senator Harkin made a three-ring circus out of that funeral for Senator Wellstone back in 2002. That's what this Kerry crowd of nutcases is…it's a good and mighty thing we do in the name of the Patriot Act and all that's holy. Brothers and sister, we…

Z: There might be a small problem here. Who do we install as the new president or leader or temporary head of state or coup master or whatever people are called when they take over a government? I assume there's nothing in the Constitution about this; otherwise, we wouldn't be here in a secret meeting. Obviously, we can't re-install Bush. That would be…well, just too much like sour grapes and votes of republicans not being counted and…no more Florida 2000, please.

M: It has to be you, Rummy. We gotta have the military on our side, and you cut all the orders, so it has to be you. You order the troops to surround the capital, go to the nearest TV station, tell all citizens not to worry, send a free pizza to every household - we'll have to work that out with Dominos or some other outfit that covers the nation - and get the NFL to put the Super Bowl on that Thursday afternoon. That'll take all the attention away from the coup and give us time to get our act together. Everybody'll be waiting for another Janet Jackson halftime show and a little thing like a coup won't matter, especially with a lot of pizza and beer. (laughter)

R: You know how the press and those idiots at our press conferences hate me, don't you, General? I'll have to deal with them…we can't just shoot the little jackasses…or, can we…

M: That won't matter, Chief. Just do the usual thing. Answer a question with a question or answer an answer with another answer…or another question, whichever pops first in your mind. They still don't know a grenade from a toad frog, so the newsies won't be a problem. They're all Kerry people…but, believe me…you can't just shoot them…send them to Gitmo or Abu Ghraib maybe…but definitely not shoot them.

A: The general's right, Mr. Secretary. After the TV broadcast, just go on over to the White House, which will be in our hands. After all, the Secret Service is something I can handle, and they hate Kerry anyway, ever since he knocked one of our guys off his skis and cussed him out. We'll have Kerry and Teresa hurried out and on their way to the South of France. Edwards and his family can go back to North Carolina, since both senators from there will be republicans and he'll be guaranteed his safety as long as he doesn't start preaching in black churches again.

Z: The next move will be to collect the cabinet, and that shouldn't be hard, since all of them would be out of a job otherwise. Of course, instead of the usual legal pad, you can have an M-16 on the table in case one of the secretaries gets antsy. We'll all go on TV that evening at the end of the Super Bowl…I thought halftime might be better, but let's face it, Janet Jackson is too much competition…and announce that the government goes on, all the senators and congressmen still have their jobs, and then I'll play God Bless America on the piano, invite everyone to sing along and you, John, can give the benediction.

R: What about the Supreme Court folks?

A: No problem, Rummy. Most of them will be in bed by that time, wondering if coups have anything to do with Roe v. Wade…you know…the big question - did we abort the government or invade anyone's privacy?