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 eight of his memoirs, tentatively titled Angela’s Rashes. But he has graciously consented to once again advise American statespersons in these times of trouble. Address all correspondence to The Bootblack Stand, c/o firstname.lastname@example.org.
If your readers have ever wanted to see the Pyramids of Giza and the Great Sphinx, now is the perfect time. Due to unexpected cancellations, prices for airfare to and lodging in Cairo have never been lower! Discover the real meaning of “Arab Spring”—our sunny, balmy weather this time of year, perfect for escaping the snow back home in the Great Satan. (I kid, of course. One thing you will learn about the Egyptian people is that we are always playing zany jokes on each other!) And the amenities can’t be beat: We have several world-class hotels that are not on fire!
It is true, we have had some minor political disagreements, though you need not fear for your safety. Cairo is a bustling city, but five times a day, you will have the run of the place! Might I suggest you start your sightseeing around dawn?
Former Tourism Minister, Egypt
Dear Mr. Zazou—
I regret that I cannot recommend Egypt just now. Time was when I could point friends and colleagues to hot vacation spots all over the Arab world—for instance Sunny Side Up, a charming little bed and breakfast in Aleppo, or even The Lonely Moose, that great dude ranch outside Benghazi. But now the region is too unstable. Readers: Go to picturesque Manitoba instead!
I’m running out of ideas. I’ve dashed into a burning building. I’ve changed tires for stranded motorists. One time, I even gave a parakeet mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on live TV.
But once I’m in the Senate, I’ll have, you know, actual work to do. And I’ll spend much of my time in D.C., away from the friendly reporters whose acquaintance I’ve tended and cultivated. How will I get on television? You always hear about those kids who are allergic to the sun. I joke to friends that I’m the opposite. I need the klieg lights to survive!
Mayor of Newark
Cory, Cory, Cory—
Any veteran pol worth his salt could give you a dozen ways to keep the limelight. If you want to make it in this town, ginning up press coverage is a skill you’ll have to learn.
But I’ll throw you a bone. Just a few ideas, off the top of my head: Announce you have decided to live as a woman and shall henceforth be called Corrie Booker. Issue nine dozen press releases praising your own courage, then change your mind. Work for free and donate your salary to poor, sick babies, or to homeless, mewling animals—or, better yet, to poor, sick, homeless, mewling animal babies. Introduce a bill to name a post office after Jesus. When controversy ensues, explain that you’d meant Jesús Maria Sanromá, the virtuoso pianist, all along. Blame the scrivening mix-up on an intern. Strap on a wingsuit and parachute off the Washington Monument. When arresting officers approach, claim legislative immunity.
Or just tell the truth at a press conference and admit you’re really Oprah’s son.
Perhaps by now you’ve heard the news: We’re giving CNN and NBC the old heave-ho. If those bastards want to air multi-hour hagiographies of Hillary, if they want to wave their pom-poms and put on their Rodham 2016 foam fingers, then we will take our Republican debates elsewhere.
I’m stuck, though, on how to develop new outlets for our message, which will be a necessity. I mean, we can’t hold all 20 GOP debates on Fox News.
Republican National Committee
Dear Mr. Priebus—
This is an opportunity to re-think the whole charade—and bypass the news networks altogether. Why does the GOP make its candidates dance the kabuki in front of biased questioners like George Stephanopoulos? Republican debates should be refereed by Republicans: real, live, meat-eating conservatives from flyover country, with axle grease in their hair instead of pomade. Imagine a debate moderated by the bearded, camouflaged Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty. Or what if we took The Bachelorette as inspiration? Candidates would take an undecided voter out on a date—Christie to a Springsteen concert, Rubio to a Dolphins game—and win her over by whispering sweet supply-side nothings into her ear. Or, to attract Hispanics, the debates could be made into a telenovela: dramatic arguments over foreign policy, punctuated by slaps, and tears, and lingering shots of Ted Cruz’s strong jawline!
Dear. Mr. Plunkitt—
Here we go again. We’re going to hit the debt ceiling soon, and the GOP is already talking obstructionism. They’ve locked the doors to the lower chamber and taken a blood oath not to negotiate. Last I heard, John Boehner, that obstructing obstructionist, had chained himself to the rostrum and was blasting the great obstructionist anthem “We Shall Not Be Moved” over the House loudspeaker. Paul Ryan and Jim Jordan were huddled in the corner, consulting a Ouiji board on the best way to hurt poor people. This could get ugly.
Dear Mr. President—
Harry Reid will surely bring up the Nuclear Option. No, I don’t mean some silly procedural rule change. He’ll suggest you threaten to drop an H-bomb on old Radioactive Boehner’s house. But you mustn’t. That would go against everything John Lennon stood for.