THE SCENE: A conference room in Barack Obama’s campaign headquarters. Giant photos of The One and all of his various symbols (the Possum seal, the circular hands, the “Buy American“) are plastered all over the walls. The color scheme is aqua, magenta and off-white – the colors of Barackracy(TM)!.
Seated around the black granite table are BILL BURTON, DONNA BRAZILE, MICHELLE OBAMA and DAVID AXELROD, Obama’s (real) VP selection team. The action takes place over several months, but has been distilled into one short span of time for dramatic effect.
BURTON: Well, Mr. President, let’s get to it. We’ve got a great list of options for you – all the Democratic bigwigs are just DYING to jump on the Obama Train!
OBAMA: Great, great. List ’em all for me one more time, Bill?
BURTON: With pleasure! I’ve got ’em separated into groups for you – you know, to sort of highlight what they’d give to your administration.
Okay, first up, we’ve got Democratic Governor VP’s.
OBAMA: Yeah, um – what would they give me again?
AXELROD (patiently): Executive experience, Mr. President.
OBAMA: Oh, right, right. Funny – I can’t believe my community organizing credentials aren’t enough for these people. I mean, what do they need from me, assurances that I’ve held a full-time job or something? Anyway, let’s hear it.
BURTON: Okay, here we go: Ted Strickland, Ed Rendell, Tim Kaine, and Kathleen Sebelius. Which one do you prefer, Mr. President?
OBAMA: Let’s see. Strickland. No, Rendell. No, Kaine. No, Sebelius. Dammit! I just can’t pick. Text ’em all and see what they say! (A slight pause, while AXELROD, BURTON and BRAZILE all type on their iPhones.)
BRAZILE: Crap. Ted said no.
OBAMA: Really no, or Joe Biden no?
BRAZILE: Really, REALLY no. Here’s what Ted said (reading aloud): “Absolutely not. If drafted I will not run, nominated I will not accept and if elected I will not serve. So, I don’t know how more crystal clear I can be.”
MICHELLE: Ouch! That’s okay, honey. He was a Clintonite anyway. You’d probably have to hire a food-taster. (all laugh)
AXELROD: Yeah, I’ve got basically the same story from Rendell. He really wants you to pick Hillary.
OBAMA: As if! My supporters already think she is Satan. Can you imagine what they’d say?
BURTON: Hate to be on the receiving end of THAT blowback! Man, those guys are vicious. Anywho, good news! Sibelius is willing and available.
AXELROD: Uh, Mr. President? I’m getting some not-too-encouraging feedback on her. Apparently, she bored everyone to tears after Bush’s SOTU address.
OBAMA: Ah, well, so much for that. We need someone who is as dynamic a speaker as I am!
MICHELLE: Well, not QUITE as dynamic, Mr. President. (everyone laughs) What about Kaine?
AXELROD: Unfortunately, he’s a little too unpopular in Virginia to help you there. Another dead end.
OBAMA: Okay, fine. Who else have you got, Bill?
BURTON: Next up – the Post-Partisan VP’s!
OBAMA: Oh, these are my favorites!
BURTON: Mine too, Mr. President! OK, here we go: Chuck Hagel, Sam Nunn and Tom Daschle.
OBAMA: Oooh, wow. They’re all such great guys and sooooo Republican-friendly! Plus, Chuck Hagel has that whole anti-war thing going on. Hey, Donna, what do you think about this?
BRAZILE: Well, Barack, I just don’t like any of these choices. They are totally Old Washington. And Chuck Hagel? Are you serious? You know how your supporters would freak if you chose a Republican, even one they kind of like.
MICHELLE: Yeah, honey, I agree with Donna. Hagel’s out.
BURTON: What about Hillary’s supporters? Do you think they’d go for a more moderate VP choice like Daschle or Nunn?
(Blank, shocked stares all around.)
BRAZILE: Bill – you don’t think we need those crazy white Republicans, do you? Hell, I already told them to stay home. They ain’t voting for the President anyway.
AXELROD: Yeah, Bill. Get with the program. Clinton bad. Clinton voters bad. PUMA bad. Got it?
BURTON (intimidated): Yessir, Dave. Won’t happen again. Ready for your next group, Mr. President? It’s the Foreign Policy VP’s!
OBAMA (interrupting): Waitaminute, waitaminute. Everyone knows I’m stronger on foreign policy than McCain or Clinton! I mean, all those years I spent abroad…
AXELROD: Mr. President, to be honest, that wasn’t your finest moment. The whole Georgia/Russia/Poland thing is taking its toll on your National Security numbers, too.
OBAMA: But-but-but – I was so Presidential in my windbreaker!
MICHELLE (soothingly): Now, honey, I don’t think it would be too hard to fix. All we’ve gotta do is pick someone seasoned and experienced.
BURTON (excited): Ooh! What about Wes Clark? He would be perfect. Your supporters love him and he is absolutely unassailable on the whole National Security thing!
BRAZILE (scornfully): Damn, Bill, try to keep up. He’s under the bus now! Remember, he attacked McCain on his national security creds? He’s not even coming to the Obama For America Convention.
BURTON (embarrassed): Oh. I’ll add him to my “OTB” list. I guess I’ll have to buy some more memory for my iMac! Anyway, our other candidates are, um….well, gosh, there’s only one name left.
(ALL TOGETHER): Joe Biden!
OBAMA: Well, damn. I guess there’s no one left to ask. If only he didn’t have such a big mouth…Oh well. Go ahead and ask him.
AXELROD: Already done, Mr. President. He’s ready to serve! When shall I text your followers?
MICHELLE: How about 3 a.m.? (everyone laughs)
BURTON: Great idea, Michelle. Let’s do it!
OBAMA (standing): Well, everyone, I want to congratulate you on a job well-done. We will certainly ride to victory in the General Election with this wonderful ticket of Hope, Change and Experience!
BURTON (muttering): Yeah, if we get the nomination.
AXELROD (menacingly): WHAT did you say, Bill?
BURTON: Nothing. O’Biden 08!
ALL: O’Biden 08!
Cross-posted at The Confluence