Volume 21, Number 23 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | Oct. 17 - 23, 2008

Talking Point

A bad dream with Sarah Palin & Dr. Stangelove

By JERRY TALLMER

3 a.m.

The telephone rings. The red telephone.

“Madame President? I’m sorry to wake you.  This is General Buck Turgison, chairman of your Joint Chiefs of Staff … ”

  “Please, General Turgison. It’s not Madame President. You know better than that. It’s Ms. President. And you don’t have to apologize for waking me. You didn’t wake me. I was hard at work at what I’m going to say next week at the All-Power Middle East Accountability Conference … ”

“Mizz President, I have to tell you it’s highly unlikely there’s going to be an All-Power Middle East Accountability Conference. It’s highly unlikely there’s going to be a Middle East if we act in time. The fact is, Mizz President, we’ve just gone on Red Alert for missile or missiles ready for launch this way out of the Middle East — some country in the Middle East, we’re not sure which, and the Joint Chiefs and their staffs are at this very moment on their way to meet me in four minutes in the Situation Room, and a Lieutenant — wait a second, here’s his name — a Lieutenant Lothar Zoss is about to knock on your bedroom door to escort you over to the Situation Room, and … ”

“General Turgison, it’s not Mizz President, it’s Ms. President, a little more like Miss than Mizz, you’ll have to practice that, and there’s no need for Lieutenant Zoss to escort me over to the Situation Room, I was going quite unescorted to situation rooms in Anchorage, Alaska, before Lieutenant Zoss was probably born, and besides, why waste all that time going back and forth. Can’t you and your Joint Chiefs get over here to the White House in four minutes, starting right now? Like in the Olympics, you know. The quarter-mile dash. It’ll do some of those waistlines good. I bet I have a smaller waistline than most of you guys, and I’ve had five children. We’ll hold the Situation business right here in my bedroom, which is also my workroom, and … ”

“Just give me 30 seconds, Miss … Mizz … Muzz President, to have the change in venue passed along to all the chiefs and their aides, and I’m on my way. If we can all meet in four minutes we’ll have another four minutes to arrive at a decision — whether or not to pre-empt — before the missiles over there, if they are missiles, can be launched from their silos over there … ”

“I look a wreck, General, but you gentlemen won’t mind that, it’s all in the service of saving democracy and our way of life, isn’t it? Drill, baby. Drill. See you in four, General …

“Todd, Todd, wake up, honey. You’ve got to get out of here, go to the Lincoln Room or someplace for a little while. There’s company coming. Not really company. Generals and admirals and fly boys and like that. Emergency stuff. Nothing to worry about. Nothing we can’t handle. Nothing this country can’t handle. [Sigh.] If only Dick Cheney were still alive. He’d know what to do and how to do it. That’s right, honey. Take your pants and all. To the Lincoln Room, or wherever. Only for a few minutes. Ooooops, golly gee. Here they are. The whole mespuche, as Barney Frank keeps saying. Come in, General Turgison, Come in, one and all.”

“Muzz President, this is General Jack D. Ripper, he’s kind of rarin’ for action, and this is Colonel Bat Guano, and this is Major T. J. ‘King’ Kong — he’s the man who’ll actually aim and drop a Z-Bomb if we decide that’s the best way to go about it — he’s a little bit crazy, you know (wink, wink) and that gentleman over there, the one with the thick glasses, you mustn’t mind his accent … ”

“Oh, I know him. It’s Dr. Kissinger. Hello, Henry, the last time I saw you I told you those clowns in the Middle East couldn’t be reasoned with. Now look where we are. And what we have to do — fast. If you see a caribou charging toward you — well, a king cobra the size of a grizzly bear … ”

“Muzz President, if we could just go round the table with a show of hands. There’s less than two minutes now.”

“General Turgison, General Ripper, generals and majors all, do your stuff. I won’t say a word. I’m very good at not saying a word when I don’t want to. So take your vote, and I’ll raise my hand, if that’s how I feel, when you get to me.”

“Thank you, Muzz President.”

“But there’s just one thing I want to make clear. Quite clear. If you fellas decide to go the Z-bomb route, then I, your Commander in Chief, am going to be the person to drop that damn thing, even if I have to ride it all the way down to the ground at Teheran or Damascus or Riyadh, or wherever the hell … I have pretty good aim, you know. ‘One shot Sarah.’ Just ask the next moose head you come across on some wall.”




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