IMAGE Is Everything!

Dear Car Czar Rattner:

You have been in your job salvaging the auto industry for a few months now, with only two companies going bankrupt (May I presume to compliment you?), but, while recognizing your accomplishments and obvious ability, I write to offer the services of the Institute for Modifying All Government Entities, known in Washington and throughout the world by its acronym, IMAGE. Its purpose is to create for the public a persona in keeping with the requirements of any government job. IMAGE’s success is universally recognized. For instance, IMAGE taught a usually frowning Jimmy Carter his famous smile, as well as how not to break his face while exercising it, though in one lapse after terminating his IMAGE-contract he did throw a jaw out of place, keeping him quiet for three weeks, which many believe led to his success.

Perhaps IMAGE’s most renowned success was accomplished some time ago when it made Dick Cheney appear to be human and taught Bill Clinton how to be convincing in claiming to feel everyone’s pain and how to successfully handle perjury by redefining the word is. If Secretary Hillary Clinton had been a client of IMAGE, she would never have concocted that yarn about coming under sniper fire in Bosnia in 1996, where people are still laughing and celebrate SNIPER DAY every March 25. Unfairly, she claimed IMAGE was too expensive.

You are a special case, since both you and the republicans have made it clear that you know nothing about automobiles, which ordinarily would amount to a disqualifier, although it was mean of some conservative, rabid, right-wing talking-heads to claim that you don’t even know how to check the oil. This being the case, an agency at IMAGE has been personalized just for you. It is the Clutch Headquarters for Rehabilitating YUGO Sedans, Lost Edsels and Rattner, known as CHRYSLER, for short. I hope you won’t be offended in being grouped with famous losers, but I hope you get the point that you will be a loser if you do not sign with us for a makeover.

There’s another reason for mentioning the YUGO and Edsel, namely, that the president is on the record for wanting everyone to ride in the smallest car possible, as well as in a car that is likely to fail so often that people will simply turn to walking, thus saving the polar bears and keeping Al Gore away from Washington, where he incites riots by ending his congressional-hearing appearances by screaming (taught by Howard Dean) “Burn, Baby, Burn!”

CHRYSLER will rehabilitate your image from that of a high-stakes Wall Streeter (not too popular right now) and political fund-raiser to one exuding engineering genius, vision, and friend to Treasury Secretary Geithner, meaning that you will no longer have to genuflect at his throne at Treasury’s conference room for permission to do everything, but can walk right into his office and genuflect in privacy. CHRYSLER will also give you a crash course in understanding the internal combustion engine and how to fertilize whatever crop is used in making ethanol, up to and including marijuana. As a starter (no pun intended), a spark plug is not a stripper at O’Hannigan’s Emporium, and ethanol is not drilled for in Texas.

It will be necessary for you to become teleprompter-savvy, since you will be required to make speeches and conduct press conferences. The president, as you know, has just sent out a memo to all czars requiring this expertise, but also requiring that czars be able to speak off-the-cuff when a teleprompter fails or when one is assailed by a Fox News reporter. IMAGE’s agency for carrying out this task is called Gear-up for Motormouthing, or GM, for short. Plainly speaking (unusual, granted, in Washington), GM will prepare you to state the obvious in a way that makes you appear to be advancing profound knowledge, the premise being that the citizenry is too dumb to know the difference. This will be doubly important when you appear in a Congressional hearing, since most of the lawmakers actually do fit that description.

An important part of GM is the Bureau for Labeling Accurately Bureaucrats, Blather and Erratic Rhetoric, known, of course, as BLABBER. This agency will help you especially understand your fellow czars. For instance, you need to know if Regulatory Czar Sunstein, who has no practical experience in management or government, is actually regulating anything or just running the OMB while at the same time running off his mouth about the importance of his job. Example of BLABBER’s acumen: Treasury Secretary Geithner never finishes a three-syllable word in public, or even a two-syllable word if he’s explaining policy anywhere, the theory being that no one will ever know what he meant in order to criticize. So…you take him at his word, which amounts to both blabber and erratic rhetoric, and act accordingly. Actually, he is a good role model for you.

You will not be alone in being an IMAGE client. The rumor is that Vice President Biden, who was appointed stimulus-overseer czar in February, has no idea where the stimulus money has gone and therefore will soon approach IMAGE for help in acquiring a persona indicating that he knows to the penny where stimulus money, for instance in fighting obesity, is being spent 24/7. IMAGE is gearing-up for him by establishing an agency to be known as the Bureau for Indentifying and Defining Economic Nitwits, or BIDEN, for short. When you engage our services, you will be taken off the list.

I.M. Reverself, CEO