Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

June 4th, 2008:

Fantasy? Or Science Fiction?

“Hilary? Hey, John McCain here. How's it going? Yes. Understood. I read the news. Look, I'll get to the point: Do you still want to be President? I think I can help get you there. It's unorthodox, but hear me out.

“Your party is in trouble. Once the media decided to anoint Obama as our next President, they turned on you, and split the Democrats wide-open. My numbers people tell me that about a quarter of your supporters would rather vote Republican than vote for Obama. They may not actually do that; they may just stay home. But if Barack thinks he's just going to walk off with the election, he's greener than he looks.

“My party, on the other hand, is just about dead. The corpse is still twitching, but the neocons killed it a long time ago. The Democrats are split two ways. The Republicans are split ten ways. Ok, I won't lay it all out; I respect your research staff. This is not new news. Over here we're all having a bitch of a time trying to decide what the party stands for, and the party leaders don't even like me. They're keeping their mouths shut; they don't want to do what your party's doing to itself. They wanted Rudy Giuliani, and they expected me to lose gracefully and go away. I lose gracefully—when I lose. But they're gritting their teeth when they say they support me. Behind the scenes they've said a lot of the same things about me that your party bosses are saying about you. I'll admit to you privately that I'm pretty angry about that.

“But set that side for now. We both have this other problem: There are a lot of people who are disgusted with the whole business. It's not fair to say that they're in the middle, between you and me, between Republicans and Democrats. They're outside the graph. They're tired of the posturing and the tribalism and the personality cults. They know the country's in trouble, and they want it fixed. They're tired of the War, they're afraid for their jobs, they're afraid of getting cancer and losing everything they own before dying in agony. Global warming isn't on their radar. Neither is gay marriage. Those are fringe issues. It's about the economy. It's always about the economy. Bill had that dead right.

“There's a window here: Remake the Republican Party out of the rubble, put some solutions on the table, and try to find a way out of the mess we've gotten ourselves into. That's what I'm going to try to do. I'm going to piss a lot of my party people off, but I'm going to tell them to hit the road. I'm going to turn the whole thing inside out. I'm going to let the tax cuts expire. I'm going to propose another approach to universal health care. It may take a couple of years, but I intend to end the War.

“No, I don't blame you. I don't expect anybody to believe me, which is why I'm not telling anybody. But that's what I'm going to do. Look: I'm 71. I'm in decent health but I get tired sometimes. I have this one last chance to do something completely audacious, which is to break the gridlock and get this country back on track. Otherwise, I keep the status quo and go quietly into that good night, probably before the end of my second term. I do not intend to be another William Henry Harrison.

“I admire your guts and your persistence. I respect your positions, even the ones I don't hold. I think I can win this November. But with you as my VP, I don't think we can lose.

“Hilary? Hilary? You there? Yes, I'm serious. And I'll make you this promise: Run with me in 2008, and I will choose not to run in 2012. We don't have to say anything now. I'll be 75, and that's too old to do it again. The public will accept that.

“Hold on. You do not have to actually be a Republican. You simply have to pretend to be one for a year or two, until we completely re-create the Republican party somewhere in the center. My research indicates that many more Americans want consensus than ideological polarization. We may have to upset a few noisy people at the extremes who like to think that they're more important than they are. I'll cover the right if you'll cover the left. But I promise you, when we're through with it, it will be an utterly different party.

“Barack's young, and his people worship him. He'll try again in 2012. Still, I don't think there's a slate in the universe that could win against Clinton/Rice.

“Are you in? You don't have to tell me right this…

“Wow. Good. So let's do it. You've waited long enough. I've waited too long. It's time. It's just damned time.”