Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Waiting for the Barbarians



Now that Judge Roberts, W’s telegenic stealth nominee for the Sandra Day O’Connor vacancy, looks like such a shoe-in, we can’t help but wonder who the White House is going to suggest for the next opening once they finally pry the job from Chief Justice’s Rehnquist’s cold, dead, hand. I’m guessing it will go something like this when W announces the name at a special press conference:

“After carefully reviewing a diverse list of nominees including women, Latinos, African-Americans, old fat gray white guys and young Bible thumping Republicans with bowties, I have decided to put forth a member of a minority which has thus far been sadly unrepresented on the Supreme Court: Attila the Hun.”

“Mr. President, that sounds Un-American. Aren’t Huns actually Hungarians?” asks Helen Thomas, dean of the Washington Press Corps.

“He’s a naturalized American citizen, Helen. A Hun-American.”

“We know nothing about his educational background….”

“He sacked Rome a few times, Helen. Can you imagine what a learning experience THAT was?”

“But Mr. President, does he have judicial experience?”

“After my crackerjack staff vetted the shit out of him, I had a nice long talk with him in the Oval Office, Helen. He says he regularly presided over the equivalent of summary courts-martial in the field, issuing punishments such as decapitation, drawing and quartering, you know---tying guys’ arms and legs to four different horses and then slapping the horses’ asses and watching the guys get ripped apart…. Very cool stuff, and sometimes he personally served in the field as executioner and/or torturer: pourer of hot lead down throats and whatever else the situation required. After that, I’m sure adjudicating decisions regarding Constitutionality will look like fingerpainting.”

“Where does he stand on terrorism, Mr. President?”

“Right inside its skin. He knows terrorism inside and out, Helen. There’ll be nobody putting anything over on this puppy. He WAS a terrorist. He terrorized the entire ancient world, for crissakes.”

“So can we assume that any decisions he makes regarding the torture and incarceration of prisoners at Guantanamo…..”

“Helen, he’ll torture first and make judicial inquiries later when it comes to those Koran-sniffing bastards we got locked up in Guantanamo…..”

“But Mr. President, it isn’t really the place of Supreme Court Justices to personally torture prisoners….”

“That was the OLD Supreme Court, girl! The new justices will kick Al Qaeda butt and any other kind of butt that’s out there to be kicked! You can’t imagine what kinda heat this dude will be carrying under his robe! He’s raped and pillaged entire cities without blinking an eye, you know. Cities, hell! This badboy has beheaded whole continents!”

“Mr. President, to get back to his judicial resume.”

“Resume, schmesume. This is a destroyer of worlds, you old artifact!”

“Mr. President!”

“Sorry, Helen. I just can’t suppress my enthusiasm for this, this…..”


“Exactly, Helen! He’s got exactly the kind of fresh, raw, ruthless, red, Hun-blood coursing through his veins that the post-9/11 Court needs.”

“But Mr. President. Couldn’t you have at least named a WOMAN barbarian to the Court?”

“Now how would that have looked to the terrorists, Helen? Do you think a WOMAN would strike fear into their hearts?”

“But Mr. President, striking terror into terrorists’ hearts is not part of the job description for Supreme Court Justices….”

“It IS now. Get with it, Helen! Where have you been since 9/11? Nothing’s the same! Everything’s different! Haven’t you heard? We’re in a perpetual war on terrorism. And our judges are at war, too. What good is a justice if he’s not also a warrior? Let me tell you: He’s good for nothing. The Age of Bleeding Heart Liberal Judicial Activists died back in the Stone Age when you passed through menopause, Helen!”

“Mr. President, I take exception to that sexist remark.”

“Of course you do, Helen. That’s why your old withered integrity-filled journalistic ass is on its way outta here! We don’t have the luxury of NOT being sexist, or racist, classist, militarist, or culturally chauvinist, now that we are at perpetual war against terrorism. We’ve got to make sacrifices to win this thing, and the first thing we’re sacrificing is the truth, and the second our humanity!” Helen faints. Nobody in the Press Corps, which has already prostrated itself before the President, notices or dares to help her. “And now, I’d like to personally introduce my new nominee: the man I expect to be the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Attila the Hun.”

Attila strides to the podium, accompanied by an even dozen of his best-looking and youngest trophy wives, who have about 50 very cute, rambunctious, toddlers in tow. “All these kids yours, Attila?” asks the President.

“So my wives tell me!” joshes Attila. “And if their kiddies don’t pass the DNA test, it’ll be into the meat grinder with mother AND child! The survivors can serve them as lasagna…..a dish, incidentally, the Romans taught me…..before I slaughtered them!”

“Attila,” says the President, “some of the lefty Press Corps out there….”

“They’re still alive?”

“Just barely…..” says the President, staring at poor Helen Thomas, who still hasn’t revived and is lying face down in front of the podium.

“Then off with their heads!” cries Attila, pulling a terrifyingly long sword out from under his robes. He grabs the unconscious Helen and is about to saw her head off when the President stops him.”

“Not here, Attila. It won’t look good in front of the cameras. The world will think we have BECOME like the very animals we are fighting! If you’re so hungry to behead her, do it later, after the cameras are turned off.” Attila lets poor Helen drop. She hits the floor with a sickening thud. “Whoa, Nellie! That lady’s in her 80’s! Handle with care!” And the President and his nominee share a hearty laugh. “Now Attila, there are some lilylivered appeasing pinkos out there that have been asking what your judicial qualifications are. Would you care to tell the cameras about your educational background?”

“I don’t know how to read or write in any of the 26 languages of the nations I have looted and pillaged. Everything I know I learned on horseback while cutting a savage swath through the civilizations I conquered and devastated. Well, horseback or ladyback. Because once I conquered a country, I always helped myself to the best lookin’ ladies!” Attila indicates his many wives, who are of every hue and ethnic group. “I’m an equal opportunity ravisher, you know what I’m saying?”

“Wow,” says the President. “Lucky you. I have to make do with Laura the Librarian, you know what I’m saying?”

“What about those sexy daughters of yours? You’re the leader of the Free World. Nobody’s gonna make a peep if you keep it all in the family.”

“That’s OK for barbarians, Attila. But I’m a Republican….a family values kinda guy.”

“Well that’s your problem, isn’t it.”

“So you didn’t go to Harvard or Yale or anything?”

“No I didn’t. YOU went to Yale and Harvard and look what YOU learned.”

“Touche, Attila. Is there anything you’d like to say about Roe vs. Wade or the Patriot Act or States Rights?”

“Just this, Mr. President. Since 9/11, everything’s different. The Constitution and its Bill of Rights are luxuries this nation can no longer afford. Anybody who votes against me in the House or Senate deserves to have his limbs tied to four mustangs whose asses I will personally SLAP on in front of the Capitol steps. Come to think of it, let’s tie the Constitution to the Four Horses of the Apocalypse and I will personally slap THEIR asses and we’ll see just what that creaky old document is made of, whether it’s sturdy enough to hold up under the stresses of the Perpetual War on Terrorism. What do you say we go right over to the National Archives now and put that baby in the horse-shredder, Mr. President?”

Silence reigns. All are stupefied. Neither the President nor anyone in the Press Corps can think of a rejoinder or a question. Meanwhile, feisty Helen Thomas has started to revive. She puts up her hand. “Helen?” says the President. “Make it a good one. It’ll be your last.”

“Do you think this nominee will satisfy the requirement of your rightwing Holyroller base, Mr. President?”

“Of course, not, Helen. He doesn’t have Jesus’s ear and he’s all too willing to perform abortions, at swordpoint, on demand. There’s no telling for sure how he’ll vote on Roe vs. Wade. But I’m putting forth his name because I’m a moderate, a consensus President, and a uniter, not a divider.” The President smiles into the camera.

Attila grabs Helen in one hand and wields his terrifying-looking serrated sword in the other. “Can I do her now, Mr. President, can I?”

George gives Helen a cheerful thumbs down. “Sorry to see you go, really I am. But you’re just not telegenic. You’ve overstayed your welcome. You’ve got to admit you had a good run. How long have you been here? Since Truman?” Helen nods yes as Attila draws back his terrible swift sword and the cameras cut to: Commercial.