President Obama and his economic team are seated in the Oval Office with the new Speaker of the House, Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. It is January, 2011, and it is Boehner’s first meeting with Obama as Speaker.
President Obama: I want to thank you both for coming to the White House to meet with me today. I believe that with a renewed commitment to the American people, that we can bridge our differences and forge a consensus that will move our country in the right direction, which is forward. I believe you know Gene Sperling, my new National Economic Council Director, since you worked with him when you two were part of the Republican leadership in the 1990s, when he had the same position under Bill Clinton. And you know Jack Lew, my OMB director, who was also Clinton’s OMB director.
Speaker John Boehner: Boy, this all looks very familiar!
Obama: Yes, it does.
Boehner: Mr. President, thank you for inviting us here today. The American people, and the Tea Party, have spoken, and so we must act. The Congress must end the practice of earmarking. We must enact a 10-percent income tax cut for all working Americans while making a 2 percent across the board cut in spending – with the exception of defense and national security spending, each of which must rise by 10 percent. We must repeal the health reform law and replace it with tax credits for individuals to purchase health insurance. We must build a 30 foot high fence across the entire southern border of the country and send all 11 million illegal immigrants back to their countries. We must overturn Roe v. Wade and reinstitute Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
Obama looks stunned. A smile begins to grow on Boehner’s face. Obama starts to smile too.
Obama: You totally had me there for a minute Boehner!
Boehner: Oh Hell, you’re an easy mark, Mr. President.
Vice President Biden: Fuckin’ A!
Obama: OK, let’s cut the crap and get down to business.
Boehner: OK, we can’t have earmarks in the House, but Reid isn’t banning them in the Senate, so we’ll just scream and shout and at the end of the day take a few of them.
McConnell: I mean, we gotta get these guys reelected. We gotta have earmarks.
Obama: I’ll say I don’t want to sign it, but that we can’t shut down the government, and then I’ll sign it.
Boehner: Also, we gotta satisfy the base, so I’ll need some tax reduction, maybe for small business.
Obama: (grinning) You’re twisting my arm!
Boehner: And we can flatline defense spending, but I need you to drop a program or two out of the Commerce Department.
Obama: You’re twisting my arm!!
Boehner: And you can add more transportation funds, but we gotta find some poverty program that ain’t working and get rid of it.
Obama: You’re twisting my arm!!!
Obama: Ahhh, you broke it. OK, deal. But you guys ain’t touching my illegals. I plan to get a lot them to the polls in 2012.
Boehner: Are you kidding? Done. What are we going to do with those suckers anyway, have the INS round ’em up? I can’t even get those people on the phone.
Obama: Uh oh, Boehner, what’s wrong?
McConnell: Oh no. Boehner’s crying again:
Biden: Fuckin’ A!
McConnell: Boehner, what’s wrong.
Boehner: It’s just, (sob) I’m so happy. (sob). I’m just so happy. This feels just like old times when I was in the Republican leadership in the 1990s, making deals, havin’ fun. Waaaahhhhhhhhhh!
Obama: Oh come on. Sperling, give him a tissue. We’re going to make lots of deals. And we’re going to express lots of outrage that we have to make them. And then I’ll call you guys assholes, and you’ll call me a socialist, and everything will be great. And we’ll all get reelected.
Boehner: Waaaaahhhhhhh! I love you man.
Obama: I love you too, Boehner. And I love you, four eyes.
McConnell: Come on, Mr. President.
Obama: OK, sorry McConnell. Well, lets’ go. Group hug. Group hug.
Boehner: Thank you, Mr. President.
Obama: Thank you, Boehner.
Biden: This is big fucking deal.