"Okay, Karl, I've seen your cute little salute plenty of times. I think you can give it a little rest."

"Listen to Mister Cranky. What's the matter, chief? Having a bad day? Huh? Huh? Somebody get your..."

"Shut up, Karl. I don't think this is the time to discuss my burning sensation, if I have one, and even if I do, I'm not going to be talking about it to you. You got that poll data I asked for?"

"Yep, yep, yep, hot off the presses, the brand new AP-Ipsos, and if you were feeling petulant before, just wait till you take a gander at this baby. We're talking LBJ and the TET Offensive - you got him tied. We're talking Nixon at the height of Watergate - almost got him caught. We're talking..."

"Shut up, Karl. A president can't be obsessed with poll numbers. Let history be the ultimate judge. Now tell me what the numbers say about Katrina."

"Oh. Got it. 51% think that you..."

"No, no, no! I'm not listening, I'm not listening! I want to know what the people think I should do about paying for the damn mess."

"Oh, that... Hmm... Well, Chief, it's kind of a mixed bag on that issue. Want me to start out with the good news?"

"No, start me out with the bad news."

"Just kidding, Chief - it's all bad news! But let me start you out with this one. Only four percent don't have an opinion on what you should do."

"Those know it all American people... Well, I always say that opinions are like assholes. Everybody's got one. Let's move on. What do most people think that I should do to pay for the disaster?"

"Uh, I guess that's kind of good news. There is no single majority opinion on it. Although it looks like the biggest group - and we're only talking 42% here - think that you should cut back the spending on Iraq."

"Cut the legs out from underneath a free and democratic Iraq? That's crazy talk, and that ain't gonna happen. We're staying the course, by God. That's what people like about me. The fact of my resoluteness."

"Absolutely right, sir, absolutely right. The 40% of the people who still support you think that you're resolute as all get out."

"Well, there you go. Did any of those moron's think we should have a tax increase?"

"No, Chief, they surely didn't. You know, that wasn't even an option, which in my minds puts the validity of the entire poll in doubt. There was, however, 29% who thought that you should delay or cancel additional tax cuts... Whoa, sir! You need a handkerchief? You spewed coffee out everywhere. Heh heh. Looked a little like one of those whales spouting off."

"Not funny."

"Okay, here you go.14% think that you should just add it to the federal debt, and mmm, 11% think you should cut other domestic programs."

"Good options, both of 'em. How much is that, Rovester?"

"Sir?"

"How much percent is the cut people and the borrow people and all of the don't know people?"

"That would be, uh, 29%."

"29%? Hell, boy, that's damn near a consensus!"

 

2005, Mark Hoback