The Devil and Karl Rove - a
screenplay by Paul Lewis
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
Stranger: Karl, I've come for you. It's
time to go.
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.
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?
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,
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'
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'.
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?
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!
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
Rove: Lose that much money, terrific, that's
Stranger: And he could do this by giving
huge tax breaks to the wealthy elite and corporations
movin' jobs offshore.
Rove: You're killin' me!
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?
Rove: Yes. And what about national security?
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.
Rove: What a fiendish imagination!
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.
Rove: Make it 200!
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
Rove: It'll be our record, boss.
Stranger: Right. And if we pull this off,
I've got one more campaign for us to wage.
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!
men sip brandy and laugh as the room fills with