Pre-election banter with the Government Guy

By Bob Buckel | Published Saturday, October 13, 2012

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You’ve probably noticed there’s an election coming up soon.

It’s an exciting time, with both President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney out there on the campaign trail, eating rubber chicken, shaking hands and kissing babies with reckless abandon. They’re fighting hard for those “swing” states, courting undecided voters, hoping for balloons and confetti on Nov. 6 instead of that sad speech thanking their volunteers, congratulating the other guy and blaming it all on pollsters.

Bob Buckel

This year’s election is very much up in the air. The TV people are ecstatic that they may actually get to tell people something that hasn’t already been tweeted to their iPhones.

My not-very-secret federal government informant – I just call him the “I’m-from-the-government-and-I’m-here-to-help-you” guy – tells me that the Obama administration is feeling very antsy since that last debate.

Oh, wait – here he is. I could’ve sworn that chair was empty! How’s it going?

“[Sigh] I’ve been better. I remember those heady, honeymoon days when everybody liked us. All that changey-change and hopey-hope, giving money away like it was Halloween candy. Man, it was fun to be in government then.”

So what’s different now?

“Everything! For one, our guy isn’t a novelty anymore. His race is no big deal. It’s all just about the economy, how bad everything is. People are such whiners.”

Well, you have to admit, there’s still not much recovery going on.

“No? I happen to think a lot of people are better off than they were four years ago; they’ve just forgotten how bad things were. Bush didn’t even leave any change down in the cushions of the chairs in the oval office. Believe me, we looked.”

It wouldn’t have made much difference, with those trillion-dollar deficits.

“Hey, wars are expensive! And we didn’t start ’em. Besides, even though money is tight, everyone still wants their check, their grant, their tax refund. Don’t cut mine! Cut theirs!”

But you’re spending money you don’t have.

“Seriously? Like every president since Grover Cleveland hasn’t done that? Besides, I don’t know how people can say we’re out of money when we print the stuff! C’mon! The presses work, there’s plenty of ink! But we’ve got a plan for that, too. We’re thinking of converting all Social Security payments to Arby’s coupons.”


“Yeah, but don’t tell anyone. That’s one of our zingers for the next debate.”

Oh, yeah. That debate … I thought your guy was going to romp. He’s witty, he’s affable, he talks in crisp, staccato sentences. What happened?

“I don’t know. It was like, he froze. I think it freaked him out to realize that Romney may actually not be a robot. He kept looking to see whose hand was making Mitt’s mouth move, you know, like with the Muppets.”

Well, speaking of Muppets, at least your guy has Big Bird on his side.

“I’m not sure Big Bird brings us a lot of votes, given his target audience.”

So overall, what’s the problem?

“I don’t know. There’s just a sense that the shine has gone off. All the things we felt so good about, coming in, making all these sweeping changes – the ship is a lot harder to turn than any of us thought it was going to be.”

If Romney gets the job, he’s going to realize that, too, right?

“Yeah. But it won’t do me any good. I’ll be unemployed. Hey – at least I’ll be making his economic numbers look worse!”

At least you have a backup plan, huh? Hey! Where’d he go? The chair’s empty again.

Scary …

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