Dean/Mephistopheles/Rather Redux II


It’s just after midnight at the home of Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He answers a knock at the door, and motions for Mephistopheles and Dan Rather to hurry in. The three are hereinafter referred to, respectively, as D, M, and R.

D: You’re early. Some of the folks in town are still up…the last thing I need is for them to…

M: Cool it, guv, I doubt if the folks around here would be surprised at anybody…I think Ted Kennedy was up here just the other day and that’s enough to sully whatever reputation a former governor can have left. I’ve even heard that Michael Moore, Hollywood’s biggest – in more ways than one – fraud has been here, so…

D: Okay, okay…nothing personal. Let’s get down to business. Dan, you said something about deep-sixing the John Roberts nomination and that Mephistopheles here can help…although I can’t see how.

M: You have a short memory, guv, remember our little deal last January when you needed help getting the DNC job? And I might add, by the way, there’s not nearly as much gas and coal under your mountains as you said, so I’m still having trouble keeping the netherworld hot.

D: Okay…so I miscalculated a little bit, but we still have a deal. You never get my soul even though there may not be as much as…by the way, how did you…

M: Getting you the job was easy. Explain, Dan.

R: Okay, Mephie, you see…

M: I distinctly told you not to call me Mephie…

R: Sorry, Mephistopheles, I forgot. Just don’t go giving me that incinerator-breath-treatment again. (laughs hollowly) You see, Howard, Mephistopheles has his spies everywhere, and all he had to do was send some pictures to enough of the committee folks of themselves in…well…compromising situations, and the rest is history. They made it look good, but they were all shaking in their shoes on that vote.

M: Yeah, Dean. You don’t know it, but John Kerry sold me – not his soul – but all the coal in Massachusetts to get him the nomination last year. You should also know that John Kerry, as a sort of a side deal, since I love hot dogs well done, sold me dibs on two of his wife’s offshore, tax-free catsup factories to deep-six you in Iowa, and I did it about the same way. You might think of Iowa as being awfully puritanical, but you’d be surprised…

D: Okay, okay. I suspected there had to be something fishy going on there when some of my college-kid campaigners were thrown out of the caucuses on rainy nights when it was claimed the actions between their nose- rings and earrings with their navel-rings and tongue-rings were causing the lights to flicker. Now I know the truth. Okay, what’s the deal this time around?

M: Explain, Dan.

R: It’s like this, Howard. You’ll be in absolutely wild shape for another prexy run in 2008 if you can keep Roberts off the Supreme Court. You’ll be the hands-on favorite. For instance, NARAL Pro-choice America has promised to back you all the way, as well as Jesse and the RainbowPUSH money-machine and the NOW gang, not to mention the ACLU and every homosexual/lesbian gang from coast to coast. MoveOn.org has even promised you 10 million big ones and an autograph by Jane Fonda on the body part of your choosing. You saw that ad where NARAL proved that Roberts virtually killed those pregnant…

D: But that ad was so phony they pulled it after only…

R: So what! The damage was done…it went all over the world. I even heard that Saddam was chuckling in his suite there at the Iraqi International Airport Hilton Hoosegow…almost got choked on a french-fried fig he laughed so hard and said American women would be wearing burkas this time next year if Roberts got on the Court, and nobody’d see their faces for a millennium, with or without makeup.

D: Okay…so what’s the catch? Nobody’s doing me any favors out of the goodness of his heart, I presume. You can’t have my soul, not even for 24 years…not for any years, even though it looks as if you might have bought John Kerry’s.

M: I’m running out of fuel again to keep the fires hot, and until the netherworld moves again closer to another planet where there’s lots of hot air and combustible material, I need all the oil in California, especially from the off-shore wells. There’s a lot of hot air here…like just in the Senate, which I secretly tap, especially when Ted Kennedy makes a speech or Pat Leahy just sneezes…but not enough material. So, I need those wells.

D: Are you outta your mind? There’s a republican governor in California…old Arnold with the long name. He’d never make a deal…there’s no telling what he – like any governor worth his salt – squirrels out of those oil outfits. How could I do any business with him? He hates me…probably as much as I hate him.

M: Well, okay, Howard. There are lots of other governors who want to make it big…let’s go, Dan.

D: No…wait! WAIT!!…WAIT!!!

R: Don’t scream, Howard…now look at what you’ve done. Every light in the neighborhood is on. In fact, the plaster’s cracking overhead. I hope I don’t hear a siren.

D: Just give me the deal…then I’ll decide if I can help. After all, the country needs me…I’m just hoping we’re still in Iraq in 2008 so I can promise again to get us out.

M: I can’t approach Arnold, obviously, but you can because you’re sorta like him – a foreigner.

D: Whaddaya mean…I’m born in New York and a Vermonter.

M: That’s what I mean. Vermont’s as loony tunes as French Quebec right next door, a foreign country. Any place that would elect Leahy and Jeffords to the Senate is a foreign country. One can’t keep his mouth shut, like any Frenchman, and the other doesn’t know one party from the other, like Frenchy Chirac, who thinks the European Union and France are the same country. Okay? (Dean shrugs.) Give him the plan, Dan.

R: You can discredit Arnold on the steroid thing, and he’ll cave and give Mephie…wait, not the incinerator breath (Rather ducks under the table)…the oil wells. Then, Mephistopheles’ people will go to Leahy, ranking member on the Judiciary committee, and prove that Roberts is unfit, so Leahy can leak it to the world. You know Leahy is known as Senator Leaky, don’t you?

D: Of course, I know that. Everybody in Timbuktu knows that. But what’s with the steroid thing, and how’s anybody gonna prove that Roberts is not squeaky clean?

M: Dan has affidavits signed by Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, and Rafael Palmeiro that Arnold used steroids when he was muscle-building…and is still using them. If that news gets out, Arnold is dead for a second term, so he’ll take your offer for the wells when you promise to keep it quiet and show him the sworn statements.

D: Sworn statements? You guys think I’m crazy? Those guys wouldn’t sign any such statements…they’re in enough hot water already.

M: Dan found the statements, Howard. They were typed on a California National Guard computer in San Francisco, the personal kingdom of Barry Bonds. Those guys can’t stand Arnold because he made millions more than they did with his bulk and is a lot prettier to boot, so they meant the statements for the State Police, and a Guard clerk who hates Bush typed them and a Forty-niner cheerleader who’s a notary public authenticated them, and Dan here convinced them that he could do more to hurt Arnold than they could. (Dean’s eyes glaze over.)

R: Just gave ’em to me, Howard…so help me they just…

D: Okay, okay. Now, about the Roberts thing…

R: Simple, Howard. I’m winding up some research that proves that Roberts and Eric Rudolph – you know, the abortion-clinic bomber now in the penitentiary – conspired on that stuff after Rudolph was kicked out of the army for smoking pot and needed a mouthpiece to get him out of a court martial. A clerk at Fort Campbell, where Rudolph was kicked out, has typed up the stuff on a Kentucky Air National Guard and…

D: Okay! Okay!! OKAY!!! OKAY!!!! OKAY!!!!!

R: Don’t scream Howard. Let’s just shake.