The president’s bid for re-election kicked off in high style at a posh corporate fundraiser at the Ritz Carlton convention center in New York, minutes away from the Wall Street debauchery that spawned the inspiring Occupy movement. In attendance were top executives from each corner of the corporate world, representing former big backers from his uplifting 2008 campaign: Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, and Bank of America.
But a sense of gloom was suspended in the air as the president went over his powerpoint presentation on why he should be elected again. By his side was Press Secretary Jay Carney to assist him with fielding questions.
“You see this right here?” the president asked rhetorically. “This here is money. You take that times government and multiply by hope and that equals profit.”
Jay Carney nodded in agreement. “And that’s not just any profit,” he chimed in. “That’s unprecedented, never-before-seen-in-world-history, trillion-dollar boondoggle profit.”
“Just pitch me an idea,” the president picked up. “Right here and right now. Nothing’s too crazy — shoot the moon.”
A moment of silence filled the room before it was finally broken by a hollow voice in the back.
“What is that Jack?” Jay Carney asked to make sure he heard the man right. “Plant algae?”
“Sure, sure,” the president said, scratching his head. “That green stuff on the pond when you’re out playing golf. Hmm, seems like you could turn that gunk into fuel, run your golf cart on it. Bam! $150 billion grant from the EPA. It’s just that easy.”
A pair of executives gave each other a high five and each produced a silver pen to write the campaign a check. Others remained dubious.
“Yes, Mr. Dundleberg,” Jay Carney perked up with characteristic uptalk. “You’re concerned about government picking winners and losers? I’ll let the president handle that one.”
“Well, it’s like this,” Obama began. “If the Republican Party wins, you’re automatically a loser. They’ve got those tea baggers all wee-weed up about limited government, private property, The Constitution, stuff we all here could do without. If you pick the Democrat Party, we might pick you. We might not. It depends on what you do for us.”
“But isn’t that a bit like that line about selling us the rope to hang us with?” a corporate executive in a gray pin-striped suit objected. “I think it was that communist guy Leonard who said that.”
“No, no,” the president instantly retorted. “I have no idea what you are talking about. But if you have an idea for a new kind of rope, we’d be happy to fund it.”
“I’m going to be frank,” a white-bearded man in a double-breasted suit spoke up. “The word on the street is that you guys are… you know… socialists.”
Out of the blue, the president and his press secretary burst into a fit of raging laughter. After several minutes of gregarious, red-faced histrionics, slapping their knees forcefully and only taking breaks for sips of water, occasionally spluttering the room with demonstrative sprays, they eventually settled down into a moaning, semi-reserved chuckle in the confines of that deadly silent conference room where everyone else felt extremely awkward.
“Jay, would you like to take this one?” the president spoke with a wry smile.
“Bob,” Carney began. “If I might call you Bob. What would you say if I called you a comic book hero, say, The Incredible Hulk, right here and right now?” The press secretary said and paused for effect.
“Why, you’d say I were crazy. You’d respond that you didn’t claim that you were The Incredible Hulk, you aren’t aware that you’re The Incredible Hulk, and therefore, you can’t possibly be The Incredible Hulk. It’s like that with socialists. Unless someone declares that he’s a socialist, then he’s not a socialist. I hope that is the end of that.”
The executives just stared at the young, shaggy haired man with the funny glasses without moving. All eyes were on the president.
“If that’s not enough to ease your concerns, I will completely take that issue off the table for you. We have been saving this announcement, but since you are all such valuable members of our re-election team, I have decided to give you the inside scoop on our campaign slogan in 2012: “We’re Not Socialists.”
“Now don’t you all feel silly?” Jay Carney said with a smirk.
Smiles returned to the faces of the corporate contributors and the president had once again won an important coalition over to his side.
“If you’ll excuse me,” the president said hastily, “I’ve got an important meeting with some public sector unions before giving a briefing to some leaders of the Occupy movement. If you make your contributions out to my SuperPAC ‘Obama is Not a Socialist 2012’, I’ll be much obliged. But you didn’t hear that from me. Thank you, gentlemen.”
Author’s note: The above is satire. ,It is a fictionalized account intended to elucidate certain ideas and principles by taking them to absurd lengths. It is not intended to be taken literally.