Sharing breakfast with a couple of AP reporters at the Denny's in Scranton, a relaxed John McCain made a bit of news by airing his thoughts on President Bush's recent commitment to the idea of a General Time Horizon (GTH) for withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.

"It's about time that bonehead listened to me," said McCain, biting enthusiastically into a hot steaming 'Moons Over My Hammy'.

"Oh Jeez, that's good. You bite into the sunofabitch as soon as it comes out of the kitchen and the cheese is all melty and yet the bread still has a nice firm texture, it doesn't get that wilt effect like it acquires after sitting there for a few minutes. So pardon me guys if I talk with my mouth full."

"So the General Time Horizon, huh? Great news. I've been telling the clown prince for years that every movie needs an ending, and duh, now he finally gets it. Of course I haven't been able to say much about it in public because we only have one president in a time of war, and that president, God help us, is George W Bush. So really, I figured the most important thing that I could do was to work behind the scenes to affect policy."

"Anyway, I was betting that... oh no, did that land... oh my goodness, this is awful... I just dropped half of my 'Moons Over My Hammy' on the floor. The whole half. It's... I'm not going to eat that... I'm going to get the waitress to bring me something else, something a little lighter, because... I don't know, it seems wasteful to get a whole other sandwich and only eat half of it... Unless one of you guys would like to share it with me. No? Okay... I'm a lumbejack and I'm okay, I sleep all night and I work all day... Heh heh, you guys know that song? It's a old Monty Python song and it gets pretty wild as it goes along. Yeah... Oh, nothing, I was just looking at the menu and thinking about ordering the 'Lumberjack Slam'. That's what made me think about the Lumberjack Song. Of course it would be ludicrous to get the 'Lumberjack Slam' when I just said that I couldn't even eat a whole other 'Moon over My Hammy'. Still..."

"Oh, sorry Jack, I was just daydreaming a little there. This is my first cup of coffee... Well, like I was saying, George Bush has a head like a block of wood, he really does. You can't tell him anything. Even his daddy couldn't tell him anything, didn't even want to try after a while. When his daddy had his Gulf War, he went in with half a million troops, and he didn't even intend to stay. So I kept telling the Bonehead-in-Chief  'Hey, if you're going to go into Iraq, do it right. You need more troops'. And he'd say 'If you're so smart, why aren't you the president? Don says we need a smaller, more flexible front'. And that was it as far as he could see it. Now I certainly don't claim to be a military genius, but you don't need to be one to figure out that with more troops and equipment on the line of battle, you're going to have a hell of a lot quicker victory."

"But I kept... hold a sec. Waitress, I'd like to get half a 'Lumberjack Slam'... Yes, I know there's not a half 'Lumberjack Slam' option on the menu, but I'd like you to make me one up... No, I'll pay the full price, but I just want half... Right, one buttermilk pancake, one bacon strip, one sausage link, one egg, half a slice of grilled honey ham, a small order of hash browns and one biscuit... Right... Because if you brought me the whole thing I'd feel like I had to eat the whole thing to avoid being wasteful... What's that, Katy? You'll split it with me? Okay, fine. Sorry waitress, forget what I said and bring me a regular 'Lumberjack Slam. And two plates. Thank you."

"So anyway, it's a couple of months past the 2006 elections - pretty bad, those - and Bush has gotten tired of his little Rummy, thank God, and I get a call from the idgit saying 'Hey John, remember that plan I had about sending more troops in? Well, I'm gonna do it and I'm calling it 'The Surge'. Son of a bitch puts a name on my idea and all of a sudden it's his."

"Soon after that I started working on him to try and define an end point, because he really didn't have one. Didn't seem interested in having one either. Jeez, I can't believe that guy is the president. So like I said, I started working on him right away to establish a time horizon for withdrawal, because I knew it might take a couple years to sink in. Plus we needed time for my surge to succeed. And damn if he didn't call me last week and say 'John, I think I'm gonna have a Time Horizon'. Took my very phrase, he did, and just dressed it up with capitol letters. Sonofabitch. But the bottom line is that if Barrack Obama wants to claim that he's the active force behind ending this war, then..."

"Whoops, here's my food... You know, this 'Lumberjack Slam' doesn't look nearly as big as it does on the menu... Jeez, I... The pancakes are on a little saucer... Katy, what about if I give you one of the biscuits and a ham slice? You can make yourself a ham biscuit..."


2008, Mark Hoback