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Your Man Pence

Friday, 14 December 2018

Dear Mr President,

As you approach the end of your presidency, you should worry a bit that your successor is unprepared. Unprepared and afraid.

Take a close look at the photograph above, forwarded to me by my sharp-eyed daughter. It is ostensibly of an Oval Office meeting to prevent the intrusion of terrorists (and their toddlers) across our southern border; actually it’s a photo-op to prevent the intrusion of reality upon your base.

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His eyes steal a wary glance at your performance from behind and to the side, his usual position. His mouth is set grimly, as he struggles to get a grip, if only on his knee.

The three principals are all easily identifiable as what they really are: you as a huckster, leaning forward eagerly, legs, arms, and lips spread wide, are attempting to fill the room with your body and your noise; Schumer, the smartest person in the room (and knowing it), though already suckered into and bested in a playground game of No-I-didn’t-but-you-did, has retreated into a smirk of intellectual superiority; and Pelosi, poised, confident, tactical, has turned to her real audience, the invisible press, while she gestures back at you – not so much as her opponent as her exhibit.

And then there is Pence. He leans stiffly backward, trying to put another inch or two between himself and the unseemly scene he has been ordered to attend. Not that he is expected to speak. Pelosi and Schumer do not seem to have noticed him. You have thrust your foot in front of him, perhaps to prevent his escape, more likely to signal his irrelevance. His eyes steal a wary glance at your performance from behind and to the side, his usual position. His mouth is set grimly, as he struggles to get a grip, if only on his knee.

Pence is deeply afraid – of Schumer, lest he become the object of a public joke, of Pelosi, because she reminds him of his ninth-grade civics teacher, but mostly of you. He looks like a puppy too close to a snake.

The meeting over, you rush off to catch yourself on Fox. Schumer and Pelosi go outside and look for the microphones. Pence ducks into his office and vomits into a wastebasket.

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Dan Embree