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OPINION COLUMNS

The Guv Guy and the fine art of politics

By Bob Buckel | Published Saturday, September 28, 2013

”Hello, Senator Cruz? This is Ed at the White House. The president was just wondering if you two could get together for, say, beer and nachos in the Rose Garden Monday afternoon?”

Uh, you have the wrong number. This isn’t Ted Cruz – but your voice sounds very familiar…

“Who is this?”

Bob Buckel

Bob Buckel

Wait a minute! I recognize it now! You’re the I’m-from-the-government-and-I’m-here-to-help-you guy!

“The news guy? I thought I was calling Ted Cruz!”

He must be right below me on your “favorites” list.

“Don’t flatter yourself. Neither one of you is on my favorites list. I should have known it wasn’t him when the voice wasn’t hoarse.”

So, you’re at the White House now? Last time we talked, you were in a hollow tree, working for the National Security Agency, listening to teenagers’ cell phone conversations.

“Oh, I got out of that gig as fast as I could. Someone with my experience is way overqualified for that job.”

Well congratulations, my old friend! Look at you, at the White House! The pinnacle, the seat of power, the apex of government, the -

“Oh, knock it off. I’m basically a telephone solicitor, except I only call Congress. The guy trying to get you to switch cable companies gets more respect.”

You call Congress?

“Yeah. Last week I was trying to drum up support to bomb Syria. The week before I was working the phones to generate some enthusiasm for Larry Summers for Fed chairman. This week, I’m all about getting this government shutdown stopped. Next week, who knows?”

Wow. I think the Astros have more wins in September than you do.

“Thanks. Still trying to be funny, I see.”

Yeah. And you’re trying to stop the government shutdown by inviting Ted Cruz to the White House for beer and nachos. I don’t think that’s going to work, either.

“Hey, I’m authorized to go all the way up to a sleepover in the Lincoln bedroom, with free monogrammed jammies and bunny pancakes in the morning. But don’t let that get out – McCain has wanted those jammies for years.”

But Cruz isn’t your problem! He’s in the Senate. It’s those Tea Party folks in the House – they’re the ones who tied de-funding Obamacare to keeping government going.

“Oh, we know that. But those House kooks look to Cruz for their marching orders. We figure if we can turn him, they’ll follow. He’s like the head kook.”

Good luck – sounds about like trying to convert the Pope to Hare Krishna.

“The Pope is more open-minded.”

Why Cruz? Why not Michelle Bachman, Boehner or some other House leader?

“What leaders? You can’t even talk to Bachman anymore, now that she’s been parodied on “Saturday Night Live.” Boehner… between you and me, I think he’s slipping. He’s the majority leader, and only a couple of Republicans will even return his calls anymore. He’s less in touch with reality than Bachman – and that’s saying a lot.”

And in Washington, that’s a problem?

“You’re a funny, funny guy. But seriously, we think Cruz may be open right now.”

Why is that?

“Well, since his Wendy-Davis-wannabe filibuster, most of the Republicans hate him, too. Even Rand Paul un-friended him. We think he’s vulnerable. The fewer friends someone has, the greater the chance they might actually want to be friends with the president.”

I’m pretty sure Cruz doesn’t care about Washington friends. He thinks he’s got 300 million friends out here in America. I guess we’ll find out, if he runs for president. But I do have one question.

“Sure, but make it quick. I have to invite the new president of Iran over to play in the sprinklers with Malia and Sasha.”

Yeah, that’s – never mind. My question is, if nobody in Washington likes Cruz anymore, what good will it do you to win him over? How does that help you?

“You – we – they… Listen, strategy is not my job. We want Cruz, and we want him now. He’s the hottest thing in Washington since Hillary’s pink pantsuit.”

Well, he did win the Senate seat by a pretty strong majority. The voters in Texas seem to like him.

“Yeah, they do. And he did. And you know what? The president won pretty big, too – and now he can’t even get four guys together for a game of pick-up basketball. What does it all mean? Why can’t anybody lead anymore? Who’s running this country, anyway?”

You work in the White House. You tell me!

“I’ll have to get back with you on that. I’m getting a text from the president… I’m now authorized to offer Cruz a cookout, s’mores and Dr. Seuss stories at bedtime. This guy is OURS!”

Bob Buckel is executive editor of the Messenger.

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