Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Armageddon – Democratic Style

Disclaimer: When I wrote this I was envisioning it as a Saturday Night Live skit.

[Flashback to three weeks ago]

The President is seated at his desk in the Oval Office. He shuffles through some papers. A hard knock on the private door used by the Chief of Staff causes the President to lift his eyes and call out, “Enter.”

The door opens and the Chief of Staff hurries in with the President’s science adviser in tow.

“I’m sorry to interrupt you, Mr. President, but this couldn’t wait.”

“What is it, Bob?”

“Dr. Singh has brought urgent news. A large asteroid is headed for Earth. We have three weeks before it strikes.”

“Good God,”

The harried looking physicist who had entered with the Chief of Staff glances at his watch and says, “22 days, 2 hours, and 14 minutes, Mr. President.”

“What can we do?”

“NASA has a contingency plan for this scenario. I brought a copy with me.”

Dr. Singh extends a folder to the President.

“The first two pages are a summary, Mr. President.”

The President turns in his chair to look at his Chief of Staff. “Bob, we need to get some people together. The congressional Leaders, Joint Chiefs, DHS, FEMA…” The President’s voice trails off.

“Should we try to conference-in the Secretary of State?”

“Yes, good idea. She’ll have a lot to do.”

The President thinks for a moment before speaking.

“We’ll need the national guard to keep order once the news gets out. After you set up the meeting, I want you to schedule a call to the head of the governor’s association. She can alert the other governors.”

“I’ll get right on it, Mr. President.”

The President’s attention shifts to the papers in front of him. He begins to read.

“Take a seat, Dr. Singh.”

The worried looking scientist sinks gratefully into one of the tall-backed leather chairs facing the President’s desk. He tries not to fidget while the President reads.

The President closes the folder and then looks at Dr. Singh.

“Will this work?”

“I believe so, Mr. President.”

“Can we do it?”

“I’m not…,” the science advisor’s voice trails off. Then finally, he says, “It’s really our only chance. We have to try.”

[Scene change – flash forward two hours to the wrap-up of the meeting in the Cabinet Room. The President is speaking.]

“We are all in agreement. Let’s get to work.”

“One moment, Mr. President.”

The words come from the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives.

“You can’t be launchin’ all these nukloor weapons without the approval of Congress.”

“What are you talking about? I am the Commander-in-Chief.”

“Firing that many missiles is an act of war. Only Congress can authorize a war and we haven’t done that yet.”

“Good God, man! Didn’t you hear a word that was said in this meeting? We have to act now!”

“Now there you go rushin’, again. You’re always tryin’ to scare us so you can rush us into things. Well, not this time.”

The President looks totally flabbergasted at the opposition.

“Then go get me that approval.”

“We’ll get right on it, Mr. President, as soon as we poll our caucus. It should only take a couple of days.”

“This needs to be done today. Tomorrow, at the latest.”

“I’m sorry, Mr. President. That’s just not possible. We have people out of town. They need time to get back. Now that I think of it, we’ll probably need three days. Yup, three days.”

The President shakes his head in disbelief and then shrugs in defeat and says, “All right. Three days, no later.”

[Scene change – flash forward four days to Oval Office. The President is speaking to the two Republicans seated facing his desk.]

“It’s nice of you to join us, at last.”

“It’s good to be here, Mr. President,” responds the Minority Leader.

“I hear you’ve had some trouble getting your caucus members in line. What can I do to help?”

“Well, Sir, some in our caucus think it would be foolish to launch all of our weapons. We’ll be left defenseless to the Chinese and Russians. We don’t think we should shoot more than half of them. We need the rest to have a strong deterrent.”

“But the scientists say we need to send all of them to ensure that enough hit to push the asteroid onto a new trajectory.”

“We’ve had our own scientists take a look at the numbers and they say we could do it with half as many weapons.”

The President looks to his science advisor for assistance.

“It could be done with fewer, but that would mean waiting longer before firing. It would better to fire sooner and with more weapons.”

“There you go, Mr. President. Your own scientist agrees. It can be done.”

“Will you be able to get your caucus to agree if I agree to half?”

“Of course, Mr. President, we’ll get back to you in a couple of days. We don’t want to rush things more than we have to in a time of crisis.”

[Scene change – flash forward three days. Same setting. The President is speaking.]

“I hear you are still having trouble with your caucus.”

“Some of them still have concerns, Mr. President. They think it is going to be too expensive.”

“It has to be done. We’ve agreed that we can’t do it with less than half of our missiles.”

“That’s not what this report says. It says we can do it with 25% of our missiles. That would save us billions of dollars.”

“Dr. Singh?”

“That’s not what NASA and Missile Command say, Mr. President. They say we need no less than 1/3, all fired at the last possible moment.”

The science advisor looks at the Minority Leader and asks, “What is the source of this study?”

“Why, it’s from the astronomy department at Liberty University.”

“I didn’t even know they had an astronomy department.”

“Well, they do. A damn fine one. It’s headed by a fellow named Johnson. His name’s on this here report.”

The President turns to his science advisor. “Can we do it with 25%?”

“It would be borderline, Mr. President. I can’t guarantee it would work.”

“But, it might work?”

“Yes, it might.”

“There you go, Mr. President. Your own scientist agrees.”

“He said it might be possible. We need to fire more.”

“Now, Mr. President, you know we’ve got other opposition. There’s the religious angle. People say God will save us. We haven’t seen the end days yet. Some people are bound to live.”

“Then we’ll have to go with only some of your caucus.”

The President turns to the Majority Leader seated near the other corner of his desk. “Do you have enough votes without them?”

“I’m afraid not, Mr. President. Our more conservative members agree with the Republicans. They are worried about the deficit. They’d like us to use as few as possible.”

The President’s shoulders seem to slump a bit before he straightens and turns to the Minority Leader. “All right, Mr. Johnson. You’ve got your 25%.”

“Very good, Mr. President. I’ll have that authorization for you this afternoon.”

The room empties until only the President and his Chief of Staff are left.

“Did I do the right thing, Bob?”

“You did what you had to, Mr. President. This is the best deal you could get. We have to hope for the best.”

The President swivels his chair to stare out the window. He seems lost in thought.

[Scene change – flash forward to present. The President is seated at his desk in the Oval Office. He is speaking on the phone.]

“Yes. Yes, I understand. No, Doctor. That isn’t necessary. It was my decision. Mine alone.”

The President leans forward to replace the phone and then stands and walks to the window. His Chief of Staff follows a step behind.

After standing in silence for several minutes, the President speaks, “What have I done, Bob? My God, what have I done?”

“You did what you had to do, Mr. President. It was all we could get. The scientists told us it could work.”

The President speaks so softly the man standing beside him misses the words.

“What was that, Mr. President?”

“Dr. Singh said, might. It might work.”

The two life-time friends continue to stand
at the window quietly starring into space.

[Dissolve to black]


  1. HappyinVT

    Dr. Dean telling Morning Joe today that he would not be “vigorously” working for Obama’s re-election.  Although he apparently was taken out of context or misquoted or something.

    Before I make a substantive comment let me ask if the “Democratic Style” is meant to mean democratic small “d” or Democratic big “D”?

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