White House de Rigueur

Dear Barry,

I'm taking the liberty of making some suggestions relative to running the government and operating the White house. These thoughts have been crystallized through the hard knocks of experience, not gazing through a crystal ball or consulting the Oracle of Delphi, sometimes known more familiarly as Dick Cheney.

There's a small alcove to the left of the Oval Office, sometimes called the "crying room," although at least one president has used it for another purpose. It's good to repair there occasionally when events become a bit too much. I've spent time there since the election because it reminded me that I soon will have to buy my own plane and face the carbon taxes applied thereto. As a favor, would you ask Al Gore if there are any loopholes concerning this tax? Also, you may feel the need for this room when all the people who claim you promised them something for their vote (multiple votes, in Chicago) show up to collect. In your case, that line may reach to the Canadian border.

This room is stocked with super-strength Kleenex especially designed for protracted periods of weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. I used up to three boxes at a time myself when the mainstream media constantly harped on my alleged mispronunciation of nucular. Because of its therapeutic nature, it's the only non-partisan room in the White House, so I welcomed Senator Kerry there to handle his disappointment at discovering that the medals/ribbons he threw over the fence in 1971 would not be accepted in the Smithsonian.

Down the hall is a room designated VPHP, these initials standing for Vice Presidential Holding Pattern. It's equipped with everything needed to control a vice president who becomes a problem, usually by thinking for himself or saying what he thinks or both. About the only time Cheney spent much time there had nothing to do with thinking, however, but as a hideaway from the press after he shot that guy in Texas. In the case of your vice president, you may need to furnish the room as an actual apartment complex, since you will be wise to keep him there indefinitely. You can't banish him there without cause, of course, but he will probably provide that in approximately the first minute of his first press conference.

Vice President Gore spent so much time in that room that it was called "An Inconvenient Room" by the press corps. During the Carter administration, it was called the "Mondale Malaise Room." This room has such things as a shock-treatment machine to help make the veep more amenable to reality and a hypnotist to help him recognize it. This is important since Senator Biden often speaks without benefit of either prior or present thought, such as when he implied some months ago that you would be a learning-on-the-job president.

There are two presidential disposal cans, in your case a blue one for actual trash and the chartreuse can for presidential news-leaks. This method was introduced when it was discovered during the Nixon administration that reporters routinely went through the trashcans behind the house of State Secretary Kissinger for any tidbit of information (translated, scoop). There's a code, of course, and the handful of press people that you can trust (but never bet the farm on these guys) have to be informed. For instance, if someone is to be fired, the name is slipped into an Ex-Lax box, thus indicating a purge is in order. By printing or enunciating this leak, a reporter simply encourages the official to resign, thus probably foreclosing a messy scene and doing you a favor in return for the favor (translated, poop-scoop).

Between the VPHP and the OO is the COSA (Chief of Staff Asylum). Chiefs of Staff have a reputation for approaching loony-tunes mode at times since they spend so much time on the job and always have at least five phones ringing/beeping/clanging at one time. Also, they have the messy job of being the surrogate in-your-face-creature for the president vis--vis anyone the press secretary also can't insult, as well as publicly insulting people the president can't afford to offend but also can't stand.

A resident psychiatrist is assigned to this room and has full authority for treatment, even using straitjackets as temporary therapy. I have authorized two psychiatrists for your Chief, Rahm Emanuel, who is known for having frothed at the mouth when he snarled at a short-order cook for taking a full minute to prepare a hamburger. There also are doggie-bones in the COSA now for when Emanuel feels the need to gnaw on something besides his fingernails (that missing finger an over-gnawed nail?).

Finally, in the sub-sub-sub-sub-basement there is a lounge-like hall called the Orgy Room. This room furnished with the proper libations, equipment and personnel is used for conferences with key members of Congress, with a sort of understanding that "anything goes." While I certainly never imbibe, I know that deals can be more easily struck after the key members have shall we say become oblivious of reality. I never enter until the time is right, and a good chief of staff calls the shot on the timing, provided he has not joined the orgy. If he has (you will know about Emanuel if he bites someone), then just turn out the lights.

These are just a few items of interest. Call me if you need more information. Feel free at any time the crying room doesn't do the job to come on down to Crawford and we can chop wood together while taking turns swearing at the Congress and other miscreants, such as our most hated talking-heads.