Kucinich, Air Force One, The Snake and the Sell Out
When I heard Dennis Kucinich would be flying on Air Force One with President Obama to Ohio I knew he was in trouble. Danger, even.
What transpired was part Air Force One with Harrison Ford and Snakes on a Plane with Samuel L. Jackson.
Here is a rough transcript of what happened to get Kucinich to switch his vote from a no to a yes on the Senate health care bill.
President Obama and Rahm Emanuel are in the Air Force One situation room.
Rahm: Where is that fucking vegan UFO believer? I’m gonna kick the shit outta him. When I’m done, he will be an unidentified flying object. I was a soldier in the Israeli Defense Force. Best military training in the world. Learned a lot of cool torture techniques. The press always mentions I did ballet not that I was a soldier. Because I did a few plies I’m a pussy?
Obama: Easy tiger. We’re not getting physical with Dennis. He’s going to cave. He always does. He talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk. Remember when he delivered the progressive Democrats to John Kerry?
Rahm: I hate the word progressive when it’s in front of Democrat.
Obama: Okay. Which Democrats do we have on board for the bill?
Rahm: John Conyers. Easy. The man hit the mat the minute you won the election. You know he’s down with the first African-American president. He’ll do anything for you and nothing for the Congressional Black Caucus. He’s one old dog we don’t have to teach new tricks. Signed on with HCAN principles right away and shilled for the public option. What a bunch of fucking, fake bullshit that was. It was never going to be in a bill that passed. Conyers is a legislative loser and his staff a bunch of morons. What’s he ever passed that was important?
Obama: The bill that made Martin Luther King an official federal holiday. It took him 15 years.
The two men burst into laughter and do the fist bump.
Rahm: That fucking faggot Eric Massa went down. He was a single-payer supporter.
Obama: Rahm, don’t use that word.
Rahm: I apologize Mr. President. What I meant to say was I’m proud he had the courage to come out of the closet at this juncture. And then resign.
Obama: Who else?
Rahm: Anthony Weiner. I personally crushed his nuts. You see me yelling into my Blackberry, I’m yelling at Anthony. Hey Anthony, shut the fuck up about single-payer! But he’s my people, good Jew Boy, supports Israel, articulate, good looking, too. Supported single-payer, the public option and now the Senate bill. A logical progression. We have to reward his loyalty. Appoint him to an important committee.
Obama: I read Michael Moore is urging people to get behind the Senate bill. He just wrote a piece attacking Stupak for not supporting it.
Rahm (Enraged): I hate him! Big Fat Stupid White Man. Capitalism: A Love Story. What’s that guys’ problem? He’s from shithole Flint fuckin’ Michigan that’s his problem. But he always ends up caving. He supports Nader one year and then begs him not to run the next. Fuckin’ loser. At least he understands lesser evil politics.
Obama: You’re pissed because Moore wants to replace you with himself. I read the open letter he sent. It was funny. I like his films. I’d never say that in public, though.
Rahm: We’ve got all the liberals backing the bill: The Nation, Moveon.org, Robert Reich. Without the public option. They never ask for anything in return. Pathetic wimps. We just raise the specter of the Republicans back in power and they fall like dominoes. Works every time. It’s beautiful in its simplicity.
Obama: They don’t ask and we don’t tell.
Rahm: The New York Times is with us. We’ve got Krugman.
Obama: I worried Paul wouldn’t cave. He prefers single-payer, it saves money and covers everyone. How about Harvard, my alma mater? Who do we have there?
Rahm: Atul Gawande. Surgeon. Don’t you remember we passed a couple of his New Yorker articles around the Whitehouse?
Obama: I didn’t read them. But David Himmelstein, Steffi Woolhandler and Marcia Angell are at Harvard too and that’s a problem. They’re hardcore PNHP, outspoken, single-payer doctors and haven’t buckled. They’re constantly criticizing and pointing out all the problems with our plan and do solid research on the health care crisis.
Rahm: Which we use to scare Americans into supporting the Senate bill. Mr. President, I don’t mean any disrespect, but your previous association with PNHP and Dr. Quentin Young hurt us. What were you thinking when you spoke at that AFL-CIO conference and endorsed single-payer and said we just have to take back the Whitehouse and Congress? That video gets tons of hits on YouTube.
Obama: I was young, naïve, needed votes and PNHP members are very persuasive. I really believed in a national, single-payer system.
Rahm: You woke up, smelled the Kona coffee and realized you couldn’t get elected to the presidency and support the abolition of the private insurance industry. Any chance we could get Dr. Young to endorse the Senate bill?
Obama: Hell no. That guy has principles. He was Martin Luther King’s physician. He hasn’t compromised on single-payer since the founding of Physicians for a National Health Program twenty years ago. I admire that.
Rahm: The New York Times said Nancy is running a “massive whipping operation.” That triggered a massive fantasy for me. She’s wearing sharp, stiletto heels, tight, black leather pants, bustier, screaming and cracking a bullwhip on those motherfuckers that won’t vote yes. Hot shit! Her district in San Francisco, they’re all into S & M and B & D.
Obama: Really Rahm? Fantasy? Your staff tells me your 7am meeting every morning is like what you just described and you act like Nancy… Let’s get this over with. I’ll talk to Dennis first. We do good cop, bad cop.
Rahm (Embarrassed): Sorry Mr. President. Before I go, say the catch phrase, please?
Obama (In a stentorian voice): Not now. Not this time. Not on my watch.
Rahm: That’s killer! The American people are eating it up.
Obama: Thanks. I’ve been working on the delivery.
Rahm exits. Kucinich enters the situation room. .
Obama (Stands up, smiles, shakes Kucinich’s hand): Dennis, welcome to Air Force One. Did Ms. Smoot give you the tour?
Kucinich: Yes Mr. President she did. But I have to say, I miss Desiree Rogers. That woman was beautiful, talented.
Obama: It’s still the people’s Whitehouse, Dennis.
Kucinich: I know why I’m getting this awesome plane ride Mr. President.
Obama: Dennis I need your vote. This bill isn’t perfect, I know that, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Kucinich: I believe health care is a civil right. This bill doesn’t move the country in that direction.
Obama: I feel your populist rhetoric. I’m using more of it myself in the countdown to the vote. But come on. You’re going to tell me about civil rights? I’m all about civil rights. I’m a product of the civil rights movement.
Kucinich: You used to be a single-payer supporter. What happened?
Obama: I’m a pragmatist and politics is the art of compromise.
Kucinich: I saw the video of you on YouTube talking about taking back the Whitehouse and Congress and then enacting single-payer.
Obama (Irritated): I have to get YouTube to take that video down. I said that 5 years ago. Today I need your vote. My reelection depends on it. You want Palin in two years? You want the Republicans back in the Whitehouse, because if you vote against this bill that’s what you’re voting for.
Kucinich: I’ll be branded a huge sell out, unable to stick to my principles. I voted against the lousy House bill. How can I vote for the Senate bill which is even worse?
Obama: Dennis, the good, hardworking people of Ohio support this bill. They understand something is better than nothing. And it’s not like you haven’t sold out before. Don’t worry my PR people will help spin the switch.
Kucinich (Hesitating): I… I don’t know.
President Obama gets up and walks to the door.
Obama: Take some time and think about your decision. And remember what I said at a rally a few days ago: If not us, who? If not now, when?
Kucinich: Is that your new catch phrase?
Obama: No, it’s this; Not now. Not this time. Not under my watch.
Kucinich (Mesmerized): That is really powerful Mr. President.
The president exits and huddles with Rahm.
Obama (Whispering): Is Jackson ready? Where is he?
Rahm: He’s in your office getting into character. Wacko Jacko is going to whack Kucinich with his snake.
Obama (In awe): He brought the snake? Alright! And don’t hit Dennis. Do not lose your temper. Understand?
Rahm: Yes Mr. President.
Rahm walks into the room. Kucinich jumps back in his seat, a look of fear spreading across his face.
Kucinich: I didn’t know you were on Air Force One.
Rahm: The president and I thought we’d surprise you. I’m not going to waste any time. What the fuck do you think you’re doing Dennis the red fucking menace?
Kucinich: You’re not going to bully me into voting yes, Rahmbo. I have principles and ethics that are non-negotiable.
Rahm (Explodes): Bullshit! Everything is negotiable. You selfish, fuckin’ prick. You’d rather have the president lose the election in two years than vote yes on a bill that gives health insurance to 40 million people.
Kucinich: 30 million over 10 years. Maybe.
Rahm: Millions of people are going to be able to buy private health insurance because we’re going to give them billions of dollars.
Kucinich: Billions of dollars for the insurance industry – the cause of the health care crisis. All those CEOs care about is profits not patients.
Rahm: Don’t give me that bleeding heart, commie crap you fuckin’ retard. This is capitalism. The Democratic Party is a capitalist party. You don’t get that? If you believe that “patients over profits” bullshit what the hell are you doing in the Democratic Party?
Kucinich: I’m inside the party to move it to the left. Make it more progressive.
Rahm:(Bursts into laughter): You gotta be kiddin’ me. You don’t move the party left, you always move to the center or the right. You deliver the progressives to the party every four years. You’re more fucking retarded than I thought. Hey, watch this.
He turns on the TV. It’s live video feed of Michelle Obama and Mrs. Kucinich.
Kucinich (Nervous): Is that my wife? Elizabeth’s on Air Force One?
Rahm: The president didn’t tell you we invited her? Just watch.
Michelle: I’m heading up the initiative to fight obesity in children. It’s one of the leading causes of diabetes. The disease is an expensive drain on our health care system so it’s best to prevent it. I started a garden, too. People have to take personal responsibility and make healthier food choices and gardening is a great way to eat more organic, fresh fruits and vegetables.
Elizabeth: I heard about the garden on the news. You’re growing collard greens and kale, right?
Michelle: (Annoyed, but smiling): No, we’re growing arugula, radicchio, cardoons and asparagus. So tell me, is your husband going to vote for my husband’s bill? If the bill passes it will improve the health of America’s children. The bill will expand Medicaid to millions of poor children with obesity and diabetes. Who could be against a bill that does that?
The TV is shut off.
Rahm: You have a beautiful wife and daughter.
Kucinich (Panicking): My daughter Jackie is on board?
Kucinich: (Angry, turning red) You bastard, don’t you dare hurt my family!
Rahm: Right now. What’s your vote? Up or down?
Kucinich: I want to see my family immediately.
Rahm: No problem, Dennis.
They walk toward the back of the plane. President Obama and Jackson are waiting. Kucinich’s wife and daughter are standing by the ramp guarded by Secret Service agents.
Jackson: (Reprising the famous scene from the movie, brandishes a gun and shouts): Enough is enough. I’ve have had it with these muthafuckin’ snakes on this muthafuckin’ plane. Everybody strap in. I’m about to open some fuckin’ windows.
President Obama and Rahm smile and clap wildly.
Jackson (Still shouting): Mr. Kucinich, you’re the only muthafuckin’ snake on this plane. You gonna sell out this bill? Y’all are going off this plane if you don’t vote for it.
The ramp door starts to open, red lights flash, alarm bells go off and cold air rushes in.
Jackie (Shouting): Leave my father alone! President Obama you’re the sell out. You sold out to the insurance and pharmaceutical companies, the Wall Street banks and to the warmongers in the Pentagon. Carbon credits and clean coal my ass!
Rahm: Someone shut that girl the fuck up.
Jackson dangles the snake in Kucinich’s face and drags him to the edge of the ramp.
Kucinich (Shaking and sweating profusely): Okay, okay, you’ve got my vote Mr. President.
Obama: I knew I could count on you Dennis.
Jackson: Mr. President, say the catch phrase. It’s got real soul, brutha.
Obama (In his most stentorian voice ever): Not now. Not this time. Not under my watch.
Helen Redmond is a medical social worker in Chicago and a medical writer. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org She blogs at: http://helenredmond.wordpress.com