The Bootblack Stand

On Marmosets and McBorscht

Our prize-winning political advice columnist answers letters from Edward Snowden, Newt Gingrich, and David Brock.

By From the September 2013 issue

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Dr. George Washington Plunkitt, our prize-winning political analyst, has recently retired from a staff position with the House Ethics Committee and is working on volume seven of his memoirs, tentatively titled Twine Kampf. But he has graciously consented to once again advise American statespersons in these times of trouble.

Dear News Media Editor—

Those touting the Senate’s immigration bill have been  referred to by the media, including your organization, derisively as the “Gang of Eight”—which is clearly a racist dog whistle, carefully coded language to demean these legislators in the world’s greatest deliberative body as mere hoodlums: Crips or Bloods or Latin Kings.

We demand that you cease publishing this intolerant epithet and apologize immediately.

David Brock
Founder
Media Matters for America

Dear Dave—

Isn’t it a bit presumptuous to assume whoever coined the term meant it as a slight? Perhaps he had in mind those lovable Sharks and Jets of Broadway’s West Side Story. Just picture it: Marco Rubio as Tony, the wayward Jet who falls in love with the younger sister of Shark rival Bernardo, played by Lindsey Graham. With electrifying music and titillating dance numbers from Chuck Schumer and John McCain!

Sure, we could come up with other appellations for groups of likeminded legislators, but each would be imperfect in its own way.

The Gaggle of Six? Too goofy.

The Clan of Four? Too historically fraught.

The Congregation of Twelve? Separation of church and state.

The Amalgamation of Eighteen? Too long. Try getting that one past a crotchety old Associated Press copyeditor!
GWP


George—

I’ve been tapped by CNN to anchor a revival of Crossfire, the long-running debate show, and I need someone to brainstorm with. No, I’m not worried about holding my own, even though I will face off daily against two leftist Obama drones, Van Jones and Stephanie Cutter, and despite the fact that my only ally will be some woman named C-Cup.

What I am worried about is falling into the same rut of back-and-forth shouting that killed Crossfire in the first place. I am a man of many interests, and I can visualize myself hosting episodes on an eclectic range of topics. A half-hour debate on which of America’s zoos has the best polar bear enclosure. (Spoiler alert: Memphis.) An examination of whether the moon, once colonized, should be admitted as the 51st state—and how this would make Puerto Rico feel. An interview with my wife Callista and the protagonist of her children’s book, Ellis the time-traveling elephant.

But how can I get my producers to approve such ideas?

Among the Stars,
Newt Gingrich

Dear Mr. Gingrich—

First let me say congratulations on your promotion from Speaker to Talker!

If I know anything about cable news—and I don’t—it’s that only two or three storylines are allowed at a given time, and that one of them must involve a missing child. (I’m told that last bit is an FCC requirement.) If you intend to break through the barrage, you must hijack the conversation. TV hosts often jump abruptly from subject to subject. Your transitions just might be a bit…abrupter.

Imagine: “Ambassador Bolton, how has the president handled this crisis? [Pause for response.] Don’t you think San Diego needs more marmosets to make up for its relative lack of cockatoos?” Or: “Senator McConnell, what are you hearing in your caucus? [Pause.] Did you receive the sketches I drew of that giant space laser? I faxed them to your office with a proposed timeline for construction.”
GWP


Mr. Plunkitt—

I write in a time of great need, asking only for your advice. I have escaped from my prison, the terminal, but I am malnourished and weak. At the airport, a few Western fast food chains offered my only sustenance, but it was all of the local variety, and could not stomach days of McBorscht. Now I must plan my next step. The U.S. is applying pressure to countries I have petitioned for permanent asylum. Only a few have withstood. Ecuador. Bolivia. Some micronation called the Principality of Sealand. What should I do?

I have sent this message from Moscow via carrier pigeon to ensure complete confidentiality. Upon receipt, please burn the letter and shoot the pigeon.

Cordially,
Edward Snowden

Mr. Snowden—

Your instincts were right: The pigeon was a spy. He broke shortly after I began waterboarding him, chirping his intent to carry my response straight to the CIA. Now you too know the sting of betrayal.
GWP


Plunky—

Has an editor ever had it so good? With Weiner and Spitzer both on the ballot, coming up with headlines is hardly even a challenge:
Spitz on the fritz! Weiner hard up! Comptroller no. 9! NYC: I’ll have the weinerspitzel! I don’t know whether to fire half my headline writers, or to just quit while I’m ahead and retire to a tropical island.

Col Allan
Editor-in-Chief
The New York Post

Mr. Allen—

It’s your headline writers who, after decades of toil, deserve a vacation and a stiff cocktail. Maybe a “sext on the beach”?
GWP

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About the Author
Dr. George Washington Plunkitt, our prize-winning political analyst, has recently retired from a staff position with the House Ethics Committee and is working on his memoirs. But he has graciously consented to once again advise American statesmen in these times of trouble. Address all correspondence to The Bootblack Stand, c/o The American Spectator.