(A Ghostly Story in Two Parts)
Sometime during the night — he was never sure when, since the clock in his office ever-after remained at twelve midnight — he was awakened by what sounded like music from a tinkling piano. “What were the words again?” he wondered. Something about happy times, or happy days. No matter, he had work to do.
Suddenly, the music stopped and the room was filled with light! Wiping the sleep from his eyes, he now beheld the figure of a saintly-looking man. A wreath of smoke that ethereally circled the fedora on his head gave the appearance of a halo, thought Obama, until he realized that it was simply the output of a cigarette in an exquisite holder which protruded jauntily from between his clenched teeth.
“Who are you?” stammered Obama, “And what do you want?”
“I am the Ghost of Liberals Past. I and my brethren have walked the Earth for decades seeking, as have you, to bring the redemptive truth of socialism to a resistant world. But unlike you, we didn’t do it with blind arrogance, but fed it bit by bit to the American people under the guise of compassion. Whenever our goals are out in the open, we are defeated…a lesson you must learn! Take heed; rise and walk with me.”
In an instant, Obama and the Ghost were borne on the wings of the wind where they landed on a sun-splashed beach in Indonesia, where a young boy and his mother sat listening to a portable radio.
“Mom!” cried the president, his eyes tearing up in remembrance.
“Quiet!” demanded the ghost, adjusting his pince-nez glasses more comfortably on his nose.
“But Mommy,” asked little Barry, “why won’t President Johnson run for re-election? You told me he is a great, great man who always tries to help people.”
As his mother tried her best to console her son, the Ghost interrupted, “Many tried to blame the Vietnam War for the defeat of the author of The Great Society, but it was really the rejection of his blatant socialism by the Silent Majority.” At the mere mention of this phrase, both Obama and his eerie guide shivered with disgust.
Next, the pair was transported to a parking lot on a side street in Honolulu, where some high school students were partying in a car. “Damn the man!” hissed the teen-aged Barack, as they discussed the increasing probability of a Ronald Reagan presidency. “Instead of putting on sweaters, Jimmy Carter should have asserted his executive power! I can’t believe some of the things he’s done. Imagine a Democrat advocating for the draft!”
Next, the president saw himself as a upcoming community organizer sitting in his pew in the Trinity United Church in Chicago, listening with rapt attention to his spiritual advisor, who thundered from the pulpit: “No, no, no! Not God bless America…”
Suddenly, the ghost thrust his hands over Obama’s ears and whispered, “God bless the United States of America, God bless them; every one.” This phrase he repeated over and over until Barack was lulled into an uneasy sleep.
After absorbing the ghost’s message, Obama sat up wide awake and once again found himself shivering and alone on the Oval Office sofa. Seeking relief, he hurried into a nearby bathroom and splashed water on his face.
No sooner had he started to towel off, than he heard a soft voice calling his name; but looking in the mirror he saw nothing but his own ashen reflection. Turning around and looking down, he spied a queer, waiflike creature peering up at him. Why, it was the very image of a certain ultra-liberal congressman from Ohio!
“Barack, Barack Obama,” came the plaintive wail from the elfin Ghost of Liberals Present. “Come with me and see the scenes of the wreckage you have wrought on our brethren by consorting with the GOP.”
“Lead on, good Spirit,” gulped the President, strangely bowing low to the waiflike ghost.
Countless scenes of progressive carnage filled the next few hours, as the little spirit took Barack to union halls, coffee houses and college dorms to witness the angst of liberals across the nation.
“Look here,” ordered the ghost, pointing to a computer monitor with a Daily Kos post on it. “They are claiming that you are a…a Reaganite! Worse yet, you have split our coalition to the point that black columnists in the Washington Post have taken notice.”
“Bah, humbug!” stammered Obama, “I’m the agent of hope and change who has pledged to give minorities their shot at the American dream!”
“Are there no food stamps?” sneered the ghost, parroting Obama’s very words earlier that evening. “And the state and federal welfare programs? Are they still in operation?”
“Oh, cruel Spirit,” said Barack, with an interest he had never felt before, “Tell me if liberalism will survive.”
“I see vacant seats on the Democrat sides of the House and Senate chambers,” replied the Ghost, “and a gavel with a Republican owner, perpetually preserved. If these shadows remain unaltered by the refutation of your desire to compromise with the forces of evil, the movement will die.”
“No, no, no!” cried the president, as he sobbed himself to sleep.
Waking this time in a pool of cold sweat, Obama struggled to reconcile the conflicting messages of the two prior spirits while waiting for the last in stark terror. Clearly, his mission was to save liberalism; but by which method?
As if in answer, the beeper on his Rolex tolled midnight; for the third time that night! Standing before him now was the most feared specter of them all: the Ghost of Liberals Yet to Come; a solemn phantom, draped and hooded, coming like a mist along the ground towards him. He thought he caught a glimpse of its face; with the squinty eyes of a burglar and a nose like W.C. Fields!
“You are about to show me shadows of the things that have not happened, but will happen in the time before us,” Obama pursued. “Is that so?”
The Spirit answered not, but pointed onward with its hand. In an instant, they were transported to the middle of Washington, D.C. on a sparkling winter morning. Picking up a newspaper that was blown into their path by a crackle of wind, Obama noticed its date: Sunday, January 20, 2013. Its front page revealed a huge photo of a smiling, attractive woman with perky bangs, under the headline: “Hockey Mom Makes History!”
Reeling with despair and disbelief, Obama was then propelled to the threshold of the Oval Office where his furniture was already being hauled away. Nailed to the door was a sign painted in blood red ink: SIC SEMPER HYPOCRITAE! (Thus always to the sanctimonious!)
“Spirit!” wailed the future former president, “How can I avoid coming to this horrible end?”
The specter said nothing, but held up both ghostly hands with its index fingers and thumbs joined together in a deltoid shape. Staring closely and trying to delve the meaning of this mysterious sign, he saw an alteration in the phantom’s hood and dress. It shrunk, collapsed, and dwindled down into a basketball trophy on his desk.
“I’ve got it!” he yelled triumphantly; now wide awake and thrusting the trophy into the air. “I know how I can get both sides to play ball. I will be the savior you all thought I could be, and I will save my party and the nation. Oh thank you, wondrous spirits, for you three have taught me the third way!”
Obama was better than his word. In order to sneak through his socialist agenda, he promoted, and even embraced some conservative views: “I’m not willing to let working families across this country become collateral damage for political warfare here in Washington,” he cheerfully chirped, extending the Bush tax cuts for all.
He had no further intercourse with spirits, but lived upon the Triangulation Principle ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep socialism alive better than anyone, save the ghost in the fedora. And so, from then on, he smoked his Marlboros in a long cigarette holder, ever proclaiming, “God bless the United States of America! God bless them; all 57.”