Obama says clean energy is not a socialist plot: A play in one act
Scene: Interior, leadership chamber, underground Socialist headquarters, deep beneath the Department of Labor. Long table in dimly lit room. Around the table sits a very diverse group of people.
STAFFER runs in, holding a sheaf of papers. The assembled people look at him, expectantly.
Staffer, catching his breath: Well. He denied it.
(Murmurs. A few soft “no”s.)
Nancy Pelosi: What’d he say?
Staffer, reading from piece of paper: “President Obama quipped Sunday night that energy efficiency initiatives are not a ‘socialist plot’ …”
Pelosi: And the report is accurate?
Staffer: (Nods.) Agent Clooney was in the room. It gets worse. He also said, “I’m big on oil and gas, and developing clean coal …”
Al Gore, crying out: His chip has failed!
Staffer: That was my thought.
Eyes turn to Steven Chu, who anxiously stabs at the buttons of a device with a lot of blinking lights.
Richard Trumka: Well, God damn it! If we can’t even count on him to hide the success of clean coal technology, we’re doomed! (Starts to panic; looks around wildly.) It’s over! We …
Unseen figure: Be quiet, Trumka.
A hush falls. Light comes up, revealing a figure at the head of the table. It’s Rachel Maddow, wearing a Media Matters sweatshirt and an eye patch.
Maddow: We knew this would happen.
Bill McKibben: Yeah, but we told him to …
Maddow, interrupting: We knew this would happen. We knew the direct approach, a push for straight socialism wouldn’t work. And it’s why we prepared the backup plan.
With a silent flick, the room goes dark and the walls surrounding the room light up with video screens. On the screens are Mitt Romney, speaking before audiences in the mid-2000s. On one, he extols solar. On another, he advocates investment to address climate change. On a third is the now-famous “That plant kills people!” speech.
The room is silent. The mood, unsettled.
Maddow, as lights come back up: We agreed that this was our fall-back. None of us wanted this to happen, but it is upon us, now that Barack has failed. We invested a great deal in Candidate Willard. We used our media control to convince primary voters that he was “severely conservative.” And now we have no choice but to put him in the White House.
The room suddenly gains a jolt of energy.
Nate Silver: So we need to skew the polls again?
Maddow: Yes. Slowly — but convincingly! — turn them around.
A hand is raised.
Maddow: Yes, Dave?
Dave Matthews: Should I let him use one of my songs for his campaign?
Maddow, rolling her eyes: Sure, Dave. Go nuts.
The room slowly moves into action. Barney Frank and Lady Gaga confer in one corner. The San Francisco Giants outline a new communications strategy to Jimmy Carter. Keith Olbermann enters, drops off sandwiches, and is shooed away.
Maddow gets up, walks toward a shadowy far corner of the room where she can speak privately, and places a call. It rings.
Maddow: Plan B is in motion, sir. We tried the direct route and Barack failed us right when he could have seized the mantle.
Voice: I see.
Maddow: What you began, we will finish. We will have our Socialist in the White House; we will invest every federal dollar in our friends’ green energy companies.
Voice: And PBS.
Maddow: Yes, yes, and PBS
Voice: Very good. I’m counting on you.
Maddow: Yes, sir.
She hangs up.
Cut to a hand holding a phone receiver, then placing it down gently on an old push-button phone.
Voice: Very good.
Camera pulls back and we see the speaker, sitting at a desk in the Washington Monument which has been converted to a private residence.
The speaker is Ted Kennedy.
Obama: Green energy not ‘socialist plot’, The Hill.