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The Devil and Karl Rove - a screenplay by Paul Lewis

The scene: October 15, 2000, Bush-Cheney Campaign Headquarters, Washington DC. Karl Rove is sitting in a huge office chair speaking with an impeccably attired gentleman, also seated. The man is slick enough to be a senator or lobbyist; he has dark black hair, a pointed beard and a red gleam in his eyes. Both men are smoking cigars and sipping brandy.

Red-eyed Stranger: Karl, I've come for you. It's time to go.

Rove: Come on now, a deal's a deal, and this one won't be complete until the Governor wins re-election as President in 2004.

Red-eyed Stranger: Wait a minute. After 8 years of peace and prosperity, I've got him even with Gore in the polls, and I've promised that if the vote ends up close I'll find a way for Bush to take it. What more do you want?

Rove: What I want is the ultimate challenge, not just for me but for you too. To get my man re-elected after four years of failure--and I'm not talkin' mixed results but utter, ruinous failure, disaster, a full-bore, in-your-face, straight-from-hell, bring-on-the-apocalypse mess!

Red-eyed Stranger: This is a challenge, almost impossible. I like it. And W's history and talents do make him the least promising candidate I've ever backed for president--what with the cocaine, drunk driving, AWOL in Alabama, the nepotism-disguised-as-business deals, the easy path to wealth. Minimal experience as the weak governor of a government-hatin' state.

Karl Rove: And don't forget how he talks, the mutt. His I-know-where-the-sentences-start- but-not-where-they'll-end way of speakin'.

Red-eyed Stranger: No, with my help you've been polishing this load into shinola since the run against Richards in Texas. So just how bad should his first term record be?

Karl Rove: Well, the worse it is, the better I'll (I mean, we'll) look. Let's not ignore the obvious Republican moves: promise to support education, fight global warming, protect social security. Then break all the promises!

Red-eyed Stranger: Of course, but we can do better, I mean worse, than that. Heh. He could blow the entire Clinton surplus in just four years, the whole wad, plunge the country back into debt.

Karl Rove: Lose that much money, terrific, that's it!

Red-eyed Stranger: And he could do this by giving huge tax breaks to the wealthy elite and corporations movin' jobs offshore.

Karl Rove: You're killin' me!

Red-eyed Stranger: Right, and let's see: what if he has the worst job loss record since, well just for sake of drama, the Depression? And record high gas prices?

Karl Rove: Yes. And what about national security?

Red-Eyed Stranger: Well, he'll talk a good game. Mr. Tough guy. Mr. Stronger-than-steel, able-to-leap-tall-buildings butt-kickin' Superpres. But after enough months go by to make him responsible, we'll have a major terrorist strike on the US mainland. (I know just the guys for this.) And then let's have W start to go after them only to then divert resources to a disastrous, Vietnam-like war in the Middle East.

Karl Rove: What a fiendish imagination!

Red-eyed Stranger: Thank you so much! By the time the 2004 draws near, he'll have the army bogged down there, terrorists will be joining up in droves and strikin' all around the planet, while the US will be caught in a quagmire that by then will have cost 100 billion dollars.

Karl Rove: Make it 200!

Red-eyed Stranger: You devil! Ok, 200 billion. Done deal. If you can get this guy re-elected, better still, if you can get him re-elected by a few million votes, you'll go down as the greatest campaign czar in history! And the record will stand.

Karl Rove: It'll be our record, boss.

Red-eyed Stranger: Right. And if we pull this off, I've got one more campaign for us to wage.

Karl Rove: Oh?

Red-eyed Stranger: Yup. Don't care what Milton has me sayin'. Hell's all right, but after all this time guess I'd rather rule in heaven. Heh, heh, heh, heh heh!

(Both men sip brandy and laugh as the room fills with cigar smoke.)

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