On September 11th, this year, Senator Barack Obama lunched with former President Bill Clinton. What do you think they talked about? I let my imagination run away with me, and here’s what I heard as a hypothetical fly on the wall . . .
Obama: Bill, I’m glad you invited me to lunch today. I could use a few pointers.
Clinton: I thought you might.
Obama: I’ve done my best to tell that lie over and over and over again about McCain being the same thing as Bush, but I just haven’t been able to get people to buy into it the way people bought into your lie about not having sex with that woman, Monica Lewinsky. The polls are headed the wrong way.
Clinton: Listen to me, Barack, and listen well. You don’t have to tell any lies until you have to file an affidavit under oath. You should get the media to tell the lies for you so you can stay above the fray.
Obama: I try to get the media to work with me, but they’ve been to busy lavishing their attention on Sarah Palin.
Clinton: Just say the word, and I’ll make sure that changes.
Obama: You can do that?
Clinton: Barack, I’ll have the media eating out of your hands.
Obama: Are you really that powerful, still?
Clinton: Barack, there’s a lot you don’t know about me. That’s OK. You don’t need to know. I just need some assurances from you.
Obama: Like what, Bill?
(Clinton leans in close to Obama’s ear and whispers very quietly while Obama’s eyes bulge and his jaw drops.)
Obama: (stammering) Well, ah, sure . . . Bill. Um . . . yeah, . . . uh . . . and you promise me the media will be . . . uh . . . eating out of my hands?
Clinton: You just watch. The media will turn a blind eye to anything amiss with you and Joe Biden. They will absolutely rip McCain and Palin to shreds.
Obama: You’re sure about that?
Clinton: Let’s play a simple word association game. Ready?
Clinton: Paula Jones
Obama: Trailer park trash.
Clinton: See? She’s the sexual harassment victim, but I’m the distinguished elder statesman while she’s just trailer park trash. Nobody ever, ever, made the suggestion that I was the least bit sexist for using her, did they?
Obama: (eyes widening) You know something, Bill? You’re right! That was just masterful how you manipulated the coverage that way.
Clinton: You came to see the right person, Barack. I have . . . powerful . . . connections. You just watch, Barack. You’ll see fewer and fewer Republican pundits on the networks to present any opposing views as the news anchors just rake McCain and Palin over the coals. When they convene panels of experts to offer political analysis, it’ll be just journalists and a few Democrats, . . . but mostly journalists, just to increase the distance between you and the mudslinging. If a Republican pundit is on a panel, they’ll get less than two seconds to give a sound bite before they’re cut off. It’s going to be beautiful, Barack. ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN, they’ll all do the dirty work for you.
Obama: And Fox News?
Clinton: Think positive, Barack. Fox News is living on borrowed time. Once you’re in the White House, the Fairness Doctrine will take care of Fox News.
Obama: (with a faraway look) Yeah . . . the Fairness Doctrine.
Clinton: Is it a deal?
Obama: Sure, . . . um . . . how soon will this all start?
Clinton: Tomorrow, if you like.
Obama: Just like that?
Clinton: Just like that . . if you just say the word.
Obama: Cool. Deal. It’s a deal, Bill.
Clinton: You know, Barack, you should have never disparaged the old style of politics. Old style politics can be a powerful ally.
Obama: Oh, you mean that talk about change and a new kind of politics? Do you think I meant all that? If you thought that, then maybe I’m getting almost as slick as you, Bill. Maybe I’m almost there, after all.
(Obama and Clinton emerge from the room to greet reporters while exhanging winks and grinning ear to ear. I wish I could have heard what Clinton whispered to Obama.)