Imagining the Democrats' 2010 Election Strategy Meetings

One can only imagine the political theater in the White House as Democratic leaders try to map a winning political formula for the midterm elections.

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With Friday’s announcement that unemployment continues to stick at 9.5 percent, Democrats lurch toward the November elections under the weight of an ever-ballooning debt and a massive expansion of government--but few jobs. They’ve passed an unpopular overhaul of the healthcare system, they’ve engaged in the quasi-nationalization of the American auto industry, and they’ve passed a behemoth economic stimulus plan that has stimulated the spending fantasies of Congress more than the economy. Yet, despite a domestic mobilization on a scale of the Iraq war, jobs are still as elusive as weapons of mass destruction.

[Check out a roundup of editorial cartoons on the economy.]

After the self-indulgent pursuits of a Congress temporarily unhinged with liberal fantasies--cap and trade anyone?--voters intend to punish members on the campaign trail for losing sight of their number one priority: jobs.

Which has left the White House and congressional leaders scrambling to retroactively repackage their massive new government spending programs as efforts to save jobs all along. Thus we have the much-hyped “Make It in America” campaign, rolled out by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and embraced by the White House as a way to repackage its costly government acquisition of Chrysler and General Motors as investments in American manufacturing and jobs.

[See who donated the most to Pelosi's campaign.]

And if this Hail Mary doesn’t work, they can always look back, back, back to 2008 and play the “Blame Bush” card.

One can only imagine the political theater occurring in the White House as Democratic leaders try to map a winning political formula for the midterm elections:

President Obama, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Senior Adviser David Axelrod, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid, and GM CEO Edward Whitacre gather in the Oval Office. Obama in shirtsleeves with his feet up, tie loose. The rest sit stiffly in chairs.

Obama (sighing): “Tell me again why Ed Whitacre is here?”

Emanuel: “He reports to you as much as any of the rest of us, sir. We own the [expletive].”

Axelrod: “We’ve got to pull a Clinton, show the American people that we feel their pain. GM’s our ticket.”

Emanuel: “What the [expletive] does that [expletive] mean?”

Reid: “It means, have you seen the unemployment rate in Nevada? It means, have you noticed that I’m about to lose my job to a right-wing crackpot?”

Axelrod: “We’ve got to show that the billions and billions--”

Pelosi (clapping her hands): “And billions and billions!”

Axelrod: “--we’re spending is actually doing something to turn the economy around.”

Emanuel: “That is, besides buying you a [expletive] choo-choo out of Las Vegas, Harry.”

Gibbs: “We’ve got to show job creation.”

Axelrod: “Er, stick to ‘jobs saved.’”

Gibbs: “I’m having trouble sticking to that line without getting ridiculed.”

Emanuel takes off his shoe and hurls it at Gibbs: “You stick to it, you knuckle-[expletive] or I’ll carve out your liver with a fork.”

Pelosi: “Why can’t we run on our record?”

Room goes quiet.

Obama: “Got it. General Motors equals jobs.”

Axelrod: “We’ve got to show this wasn’t really just using billions--”

Pelosi: “And billions and billions!”

Axelrod: “That this wasn’t just taxpayer dollars used to prop up two failing companies and win some union votes.”

Obama: “Got it. We’ll say we’ve saved free enterprise by taking it over. You saw my speech in Detroit, right? The business about GM and Chrysler being willing to take the ‘tough and painful steps’ necessary to turn things around.”

Whitacre: “I sure did, Mr. President. And let me tell you, for another 50 billion or so I’m ready to take a lot more pain. I’ll be positively masochistic. You can plunge that No. 2 pencil in my eye. Metaphorically speaking.”

Reid: “Let’s think bigger, throw in Ford, too. Talk about how we saved the Big Three, the entire industry.”

Obama: “Ford didn’t take our money.”

Reid: “We’re going to get all candid now? In the middle of an election season? We said nobody would lose their insurance with the healthcare reform, too, and that didn’t seem to bother you.”

Axelrod: “Okay--‘Saved the Big Three’ it is.”

Pelosi: “Don’t be ridiculous. We saved nothing less than American manufacturing. We’ve started a veritable manufacturing renaissance. We’ve rolled back the outsourcing, job-killing, un-American policies of George W. Bush and returned the people to work.”

Gibbs: “The latest employment rates were released yesterday. We’re still knocking on 10 percent’s door.”

Obama: “Did you see the headlines today? One headline here about unemployment killing the recovery and another there about the stimulus being a flop. Everything front page. Has all the media gone ‘fair and balanced’ on me?”

Emanuel bounces his other shoe off the back of Gibbs’s head: “Fix it, monkey [expletive]-face.”

Gibbs: “How am I supposed to do that with Christina Romer running around martyring herself and apologizing for saying our stimulus would create jobs?”

Emanuel snaps his finger at an intern: “I want you to find Romer. I don’t care what it takes. You don’t eat, you don’t sleep, you don’t kiss your little girlfriend until you bring her to me. Dead or alive.”

Gibbs: “Uhm, she resigned yesterday.

Axelrod: “Great, another job lost.”

Whitacre: “Look, for another hundred billion--and, you know, that’s a lot of pain I’m willing to absorb--I can give you a lot of jobs. I can give you as many as you’re willing to pay for.”

Obama: “I think we need to get a few jobs to people working outside of Detroit, Ed. We’ve got to show--what was it?--a renaissance, yes, a renaissance in the manufacturing sector. What other manufacturing jobs have we created--saved, I mean.”

Awkward silence.

Whitacre: “Just saying, sir, I think I speak for all of the job-loving Americans at GM when I say we’re ready for more White House pain. Write me a check and staple it to my earlobes, sir. I can take it.”

Pelosi: “Tell me again why we shouldn’t run on healthcare reform?”

Emanuel wrestles Gibbs’s shoe off his foot and heaves it at Pelosi: “That whole [expletive] healthcare and your [expletive] and we’ve got [expletive] polls and [expletive] in the sewer. So I hear the [expletive] words heath and care and reform and [expletive] in the same [expletive] sentence, I’m gonna start [expletive] somebody’s head and lining up some [expletive] body bags around here.

Awkward silence.

Reid: “Do federal government jobs count as manufacturing jobs?”

Whitacre: “Put me in a room alone with Rahm, sir, along with a vice grip, some pliers and PVC piping. I’m willing to do it in the name of the renaissance, sir.”

Axelrod: “We’re running out of time. Let’s go ahead and pull out the Bush-bashing strategy, not going back to the bad old days, going forward instead of backward--”

Obama: “Putting it in drive instead of reverse, into D instead of R--get it?”

Emanuel: “Grainy images of local little Republican [expletive] brains morphing into [expletive] and then Bush just erupting with spontaneous [expletive] combustion.”

Obama: “Okay, it’s settled then? We run against Bush again?”


Obama: “Great. I’ve got Oprah in the lobby, and you do not make Oprah wait. Pelosi, Reid--you guys handle this and leave me out of it--I’ve got an election in 2012.”

  • See a slide show of 5 bad Democratic policy ideas.
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  • See a round up of the month's best political cartoons.