But unless things improve soon in Iraq, I may have to resign at some point before November. Damn those Iraqis! This was all supposed to come out different: We march in there, topple Saddam, they cheer and start working with us to reconstruct the country, install democracy and free markets, the rest of the Middle East follows Iraq's lead. Instead, those ungrateful Iraqi bastards start attacking us, and Iraqis across the board want us to leave so the level of violence will go down.
Cambone: Well, at least the pundits are not talking about torture and Abu Ghraib anymore, where, I remind you, both you and I are extremely
vulnerable. At least, we've got Americans' anger directed onto Iraqis who are killing each other in 'sectarian strife' -- no 'civil war' admitted -- and on how the new Iraqi government is starting to take
over control of their own security, with us 'helping' them a bit, of course.
Rumsfeld: Yes, torture's sorta off the table. But our big plans to remake the geopolitical map of the Middle East is in great jeopardy -- unless we can pull out something that we can spin as a sort-of victory in Iraq, so our military forces can be freed up for Iran.
Ken Mehlman (on phone): Look, I understand why your gay magazine wants me to talk about my sexual orientation, but you've got to understand that the political situation is really tenuous right now. Maybe I'll be in a position to speak more about this issue after the elections. But we have to keep a united front with religious conservatives and
fundamentalists at least up until election day in November. And even mentioning gays without a pejorative can rile them up and they might sit on their hands on Election Day.
No, I can't fix you up with Jeff. Goodbye.
SEN. JOHN McCAIN'S OFFICE
Unidentified Staffer: Senator, I just don't see how it can be done.
McCain: I haven't quite got it figured out either. I can't run to the right of the Bushies, as those voters don't trust a Republican 'maverick.' And I can't run to the left of the moderates, since my
strong pro-war, anti-abortion stands wouldn't stand that much scrutiny. So I guess I have to keep running somewhere inbetween those two, branding myself as a likeable, honest hard-liner but definitely independent and not as arrogant or lunatic as the crowd in power now. So that means bashing Bush on certain policies, but cuddling up to the fundamentalist base for support.
Staffer: That's a mighty dangerous high-wire act -- lots of heavy political wind up there.
McCain: You got it. But what am I going to do? I'm more than 70 years old, and this is my last shot. I've got to do the political zig-zag dance: step to the right to win the nomination, step to the center to win the election.
Staffer: You don't think Rove and the rightwingers won't shoot you down again as they did so viciously in South Carolina in 2000?
McCain: They might, in which case this time I'll take 'em on and go for their jugular. But I don't think they will. They want Republican rule to extend into perpetuity, so they can keep collecting all the power and money goodies. I can win the middle, and they know that. So I won't be exactly what they're looking for, but they can live with me in the
White House, since they can continue making out like bandits with them in control of Congress and in wars abroad. It's a win-win, baby!