Sunday, November 19, 2017

400. Scoundrels

C.W. came in this morning as I was having coffee and plopped down in a seat across the table from me. He looked a lot like a young Harry Truman, complete with a white linen suit and wire-framed glasses.

“Morning,” I managed.


That maybe sounded a bit like Truman. He might have said that to MacArthur just before he fired him. I kind of hope so. “You tell me,” I said, and turned back to the book I was reading.

“I’ll tell you one thing,” he said.

I ignored him.

“This current batch of scandals and damaged careers proves how smart George W. Bush was.”

This got my attention. “It what?”

“If you want to run for office in the information age in your country, you must have one.”

“One what?”

“You must make yourself a ‘Salvation Date’ and stick by it.”

“A what?”

“A Salvation Date. It will get you through any scandal that someone digs up if you have the press trained right.”

“It what?”

“Makes you bullet-proof.”

“How so?”

“Simple,” he said. “It’s the date on which you made pals with the Galilean.”

“Say what?”

“They can’t ask you, the reporters can’t, about anything in your life preceding your Salvation Date. Anything before that you did before that date is off-limits. It was done by the ‘other you,’ the you that was under the spell of The Dark One. The ‘new you’ is the one since then and it is open for observation. Of course, your new life since that date must be spotless, washed ‘white as snow’ so to speak. It doesn’t pay to go back too far. Ask Bill Clinton.”

He took a deep breath and continued. “All those TV evangelists have one. Did you ever think, in your wildest imagination that people like Charles Colson, Jim Baker, and Jimmy Swaggart could ever be taken seriously again?

I thought. “Those proved modern miracles of self-righteous rehabilitation all right.” I said. “I can see where a political aspirant with a checkered past could use one.”

“This current feller has several. His tend to drift around as to the exact date and other specifications.”

“Let me make sure I understand. You’re telling me, I gather, that it gives one a clean slate from which to work?”

No matter how sleazy you might have been, you get to start afresh, sort of a political ‘do-over’ in case you need it. Jimmy Carter and John McCain didn’t need one, but most of the others do.”

“I’m beginning to get the picture,” I said.

“It’s marvelous, isn’t it? If anyone mentions a pre-date misbehavior, the bench-jumpers take to the streets to protest the casting of aspersions on their candidate’s religious bona fides.”
From this day on. Get it? - C.W.
“I thought our Constitution forbids a religious test for public office.”

He turned slightly toward me, pulled his eyeglasses down on the tip of his nose, and assumed a highly sophisticated and presidential manner. He spoke gravely. “Did you come into town on a load of watermelons?”

I had to think about all this for a moment. I said, “Are you sure about all this?”

“It’s called the ‘Salvation Date Deployment.’ Can’t you see?” he said. He was becoming quite excited. “It’s part of my new book, Scoundrels Are Us: American Politics in the Modern Age. What thinkest thou?”

“By Jove,” I said. “I think you’ve got it!”

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