The Three Musketeers


Note: It’s two a.m. in Senator Dick Durbin’s garage. Durbin and Senators Kennedy and Schumer (hereinafter referred to, respectively, as D, K, and S) are discussing the president’s nomination a few hours before of John Roberts to the Supreme Court.

S: Why the secrecy, Dick? Good grief, it’s hot as Bobby Byrd’s air during one of his down-home tirades in here. Everybody knows we don’t like John Roberts, so why can’t we just go where the A-C…

D: The walls have ears, Chuck. Besides, some of the neighbors around here have been hanging a sign with Durbin’s Gulag on it on my garage door every night, and I’ve been trying to catch them.

K: Uh-oh…ever since you accused our troops at Gitmo of being like the Russkies’ KGB and Pol Pot’s butchers. (laughter)

D: Not funny, Ted, not a damn bit funny. You guys left me hanging in the wind on that one. With all your talk about Abu Ghraib and Gitmo and how awful those poor patriots have been treated by our military thugs, I thought you would cover my flank on that one…you did a complete “to the rear, march.” Talk about dereliction of duty!!!

S: Well, you could’ve been a little less graphic, Dick. How many terrorists have been killed or actually physically hurt at Abu Ghraib or Gitmo? I haven’t heard of any, and I have my spies everywhere, including in the military. I even have a spy in Hillary’s campaign…but forget I said that. He’d be a dead duck if she caught him. Okay, so chaining a guy to the floor and not letting him have his prayer rug once in a while is not exactly polite and not diversity-sensitive…but comparing that to the Holocaust…sheesh!

D: Okay, okay…I got carried away…that can happen in a hearing, as you guys know. All that brass…all those uniforms…reminded me of a traffic ticket I got the other day…I was only doing 90, and a senator oughtta be allowed…those generals all there with those fancy caps and ribbons and medals…just glorified traffic cops or the local sheriff…that’s what they reminded me…

K: We understand, Dick. We’re repelled by the military…people going out to kill other people, but ya gotta have some judgment…I mean, you never had even been to Gitmo…

D: Okay already. Let’s agree we hate the military but keep it civil…man, those media creeps, like Limbaugh and the Washington Times and O’Reilly…

K: Look, I’m the only guy here’s ever been in the military, and I still lambaste it every time I can, but you’re right, we gotta keep it civil…damn, Dick, you even mentioned the Nazis…sheesh…our guys in their POW camps in WWII were lucky if there was anything to eat…even that awful bratwurst three months old.

S: Look, I don’t have all night…I’m trying to set up another press conference with Joe Wilson to crucify Karl Rove…so let’s get on with it. We’re here to map out our strategy to sink the Roberts nomination…right? We need to do something quick, or else this stuff will knock Karl Rove off the front page for maybe weeks and NBC’s Today Show, and those ABC and CBS guys – their attention spans are about like a third grader’s – will forget how much of a Nazi Rove is.

D: Did you say what I think you just said, Chuck? Rove is strictly a Storm Trooper type o’ guy, huh…right straight outta Hitler’s stable of monsters…(laughter)…And you think I get unlatched. You sure didn’t call him a Nazi in that famous press thing with Joe Wilson the other day…little cold feet there, huh?

S: It’s one thing to call an American GI a Nazi like you did, Dick, but calling Rove anything up to and including the devil is okay because the public is either too stupid or apathetic to care what I call him. I didn’t do it in public because I had more sense than…

K: Cut it out, you guys. How do we sink Roberts? He was approved to the D.C. Appeals Court by voice vote in the Senate unanimously just two years ago. All three of us voted for him. He was thoroughly vetted and thoroughly approved. What’s changed? Don’t get me wrong. I’d be against anything George Bush does…even if he nominated me…well…maybe that’s a bit strong, but you see what I mean.

S: You forgetting that only we three patriotic citizens voted against him in the committee, Ted? We have our bona fides on this, even if the con-rags called us cowards and hypocrites for approving him in the vote of the Senate. Remember, he was first nominated in 2001 and we held him off until 2003. The filibuster is a mighty handy thing.

D: I guess you’re forgetting the Gang of 14 and that silly contract they signed with each other. Somebody called ’em the new Mugwumps. I call ’em the idiots of D.C. If McCain and Lieberman say Roberts is in…then he’s in. How long did it take for the Senate to spit in our faces and approve conservatives right off the bat, after they caterwauled all over each other and patted themselves on the back for such altruism and patriotism? Talk about bad faith…and those folks the Senate approved to dodge the bullet on nuking the filibuster make Roberts look like a peacenik liberal. Dubya and that egghead Frist mean to swagger all over the filibuster…I bet they’re hoping we force them into it this time. We gotta watch it.

K: What we need is a scandal…a rip-roaring good scandal…something bad like an affair with a McDonald’s counter-girl.

S: Funny you should think of that, Ted. (laughter)

K: What’s that supposed to mean, Chuck? And I don’t see anything funny about it.

S: Ah, but you do, of course (although not that funny part), and I agree with you that a good scandal is just what we need. I remember what that bit of scandal cost you…you were called forever after that the Chappaquiddick Kid. It knocked you out of your try for the top job…all any republican had to do was…sort of like the Alamo thing… “Remember the Chappaquiddick.” It’s never changed. But we did all that stuff in 2001, and Roberts was squeaky clean then and squeaky clean in 2003, so…

D: So…we call in Dan Rather…how’s that? He at least tried to rescue the democrats when we couldn’t sabotage Dubya on anything.

K: Roberts was only 13 in 1968…he sure wasn’t anywhere near the Texas Air National Guard then…or any of its typewriters, for that matter. Besides, Dan’s little peccadillo didn’t help the French hunk a bit…might have actually helped defeat old John. Come to think of it, Kerry wasn’t anywhere near Cambodia at Christmas 1968, either, where he said he was, so maybe ol’ Dan could rig up a police blotter from somewhere, fingerprints and all…maybe DUI with a cheerleader in the car, or a wild fraternity party with an upstairs boudoir, but not in 1968, of course. Most any computer has the same basic fonts as all the others, so who could tell if such a thing was forged?

D: Who should call Dan? Certainly not me…I’m the Senate minority whip, and, besides, mean people are accusing me of making up stuff about Gitmo right now.

K: So what! I can’t call him. Massachusetts folks hate anybody from Texas, no matter how liberal he might be. Bush is from Texas…good grief!

S: So…you’re looking at me…is that it? Well, I’m carrying the water on the Rove thing, and it’s been hard enough to rig anything on him, especially since Joe Wilson’s been proven to be a 14-carat liar. Give me Dan Rather for something like a presidential memo outlining a Dubya e-mail to Judith Miller about outing an agent, and I might just…sheesh…it’s hot and I gotta go.

K: Me, too, Dick. Hope you catch…well, lookee there. Look at that sign on the door up there, AUSCHWITZ WEST.