A Week in the Life of a Contender*
Monday: “Eeek!” Callista says this morning, drawing me from my profound introspection. I am irritated at the disruption, sure that I am on the brink of a stunning breakthrough—likely something to do with Osama—I mean Obama’s—un-Americanness. “What is it dear?” I say, hurrying into the living room in my dressing gown and slippers. She points at the television. A ghastly red hairpiece is dancing around on the screen. It takes me a moment to recognise that egotistical blob, Donald Trump, beneath it. He is saying something about sending investigators to Hawai’i to look into Obama’s background. “How could he!” I fume. “I’m the one supposed to be sowing doubts in the public mind about the anti-colonial Kenyan!”
Tuesday: I meet with some communist sympathiser reporters in the afternoon. “I‘ve some stunning news”, I say grandly. They hang on my every word, dupes that they are. “I will be sending investigators to Kenya to look into Obama’s citizenship. I am convinced that what they will find will shock and horrify ordinary, hard-working, American-looking Americans”. “When are your investigators leaving, Mr Gingrich”, one of the toadying little socialist swine asks. I improvise, “Next week”. “Then they’ll be six days behind Sarah Palin’s private-eyes” another calls. Fuming, I stalk off-stage. “Any word on the economy, Mr Gingrich?” someone calls after me.
Wednesday: I wake up and call a secretary to check on how American Solutions, my 527 is doing financially. “Mr Gingrich, we’re doing fine”, she says. “We’ve raised $52 million since 2006, so I don’t think you have a thing to worry about”. I hang up and sigh, somewhat relieved. But what about Donald Trump, I think. He has billions!
In the afternoon I give an address. I warm up by calling for a permanent extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, hard-working, American-looking Americans. Obama, I say, is “in effect trying to create a Chicago style machine for the whole country with a billion dollars”. My cell-phone rings.
It’s a number I don’t recognise, but it’s a D.C. area code, and as much as I hate to do a Giuliani, I wonder whether it’s a rich donor, so I answer as the crowd applauds me. “Yes?” “Newt”, says a voice, “don’t you think you’re being a hypocrite?” “What are you talking about? And who are you?” “Newt, you just accused me of trying to buy Americans’ votes, when your organisation’s going around the country raising tens of millions of dollars”. “Barack?” I gasp. “Where are you? How do you know what I’m saying?” I look around, sweating, and hang up. The crowd is still applauding and fawning, so they don’t notice. But when I go to bed at night, Callista checks me looking through the blinds out at the yard. “What are you looking for, Newty-pie?” she asks. “Obama’s spies are everywhere!” I declare. She looks at me, brow furrowed, worried. As she should be. We are in real danger. Mau Mau tactics!
Thursday: The rabidly socialist, fascist, Godless, liberal media machine has been all over me recently for supposed inconsistencies. So I decide to play the card that no-one can criticise. The Grandchildren.
I say to reporters, “I have two grandchildren—Maggie is 11, Robert is 9. I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they’re my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American”. My cell phone rings. “Excuse me”, I say to the reporters, and, hands shaking, answer. “Yes?” “Did you know that Islam is a religion, Newt?” says that infuriating voice on the other end. “Yes Barack, I did. When are you going to release your birth certificate?” “We’re past that Newt”, he says blandly, “but I’m curious how the country can be secularly atheistic and radical Islamist at the same time?” “How did you know what I just said!” I say, my voice worryingly high, as I glance around. Maybe one of the TV cameramen is a spy? He laughs, and hangs up without answering.
“Who was that, Mr Gingrich?” a reporter asks. “A donor, a God-honest hard-working American-looking American”, I reply, “who was urging me to save this country from Obama’s radical socialist, fundamentalist, secular Islamist machine politics!”
Friday: I’m walking to an engagement in D.C. from my hotel, feeling a twinge of guilt that I’m not driving and contributing to our carbon emissions. I suddenly notice two black men behind me. Am I being trailed by Kenyan agents? Is that how Obama always knows what I’m saying? I quicken my pace, and they do the same. I leap onto a bus that is about to depart a stop and dash for the rear of the vehicle, the driver shouting after me that I have to pay my fare. “I’m a senior!” I shout back. “And I’m going to be king...I mean, President!” People look at me like I’m crazy, clearly not recognising me.
But then I see that the two men have boarded the bus as well, and are sitting at the front, talking amongst each other and pretending to ignore me. At the next stop I bail off, and hail a cab. I hop in and give the cabbie the address of the Institute. But then I notice: he has some kind of an African accent. Could it be? Obama is hiring veterans of the irrationally-anti-colonial Mau Mau war to hunt me down? In a panic I open the door of the cab and tumble out onto the curb. I right myself, pleased with my ingenuity, and saunter off.
That evening I tell Callista that I’ve been trailed by the Kenyan Secret Service. She looks confused. I explain. Her confusion remains. I thought I’d married a perfectly intelligent woman, but sometimes I have my doubts. I also envy Donald Trump’s “great relationship with the blacks”.
Saturday: I meet a clutch of reporters who are eager to get my reaction to the news that the Mau Mau revolutionary in the White House has just released his birth certificate. “Do you have a political platform left, Mr Gingrich?” one of them has the nerve to ask. I take a deep breath and reply, “Of course, my campaign will switch gears and focus on the critically important issue of who forged the signature on that certificate!” “Do you agree with Donald Trump that Obama was admitted to Harvard under false pretences?” asks another. “I thought of that first!” I shout.
“What do you say to insinuations that you’re losing your grip on the process? That Bachmann and Trump will be the two to slug it out?” another anti-colonial, Soviet-sympathising, Al-Qaeda affiliated journalist asks. Obama is a “perfectly fine, extraordinarily brilliant, sadly shallow, left-wing activist who has never yet become president,” I shoot back. “But Mr Gingrich”, the uppity man from the leftist, fascist media outlet replies, “that doesn’t make any sense”.
“They must often change who would be constant in happiness or wisdom”, I reply cryptically, cutting him off. But the media are feeling restive today, and he calls back, “That doesn’t make any sense either, Mr Gingrich”. I momentarily snap, “Confucius wasn’t a Muslim!” The press looks askance, and backs away.
The phone rings. I recognise the number and recoil. I don’t answer, but when I check my messages later I hear the voice: “Newt, I can hook you and John Roberts up, and he can explain the constitutionality of my position, but it might take him two tries”.
Sunday: After church, I come home and use one of these new-fangled electronic contraptions called a ‘google’ to search for myself. I type in my first name. There are apparently almost 9 million pages with my name on them! I preen at my popularity, but then notice that one of them mentions a “Newt Watch” and is located in California! It must be a front organisation for the Kenyan Security Services who are out to get me. They know if they can do me in, their man can stay in power as an illegitimate president. Fuming, sweating, hands fumbling, I click on the link to see what new smear Obama has come up with now.
It reads, “Tilden’s South Park Drive will be closed to vehicle traffic from November 1 through April 1. Every year beginning in November, the road is closed to traffic for the seasonal newt migration. Thousands of newts rely on crossing the street as a means to reach Wildcat Canyon for breeding”. I go on to learn that “although not a threatened species, the overall newt population has decreased over the past several decades primarily due to loss of habitat”.
Sheepishly, I close the browser, and look around, hoping that Callista wasn’t watching. But then I stop. Not yet threatened, but in decline? Is Obama trying to send me a message? Will he stop at nothing? “I’ll get you Barack! If it’s the last thing I do!” I howl. Callista hurries in, looking downright scared. “Newt?” “It’s all right dear”, I say, my composure restored. “America is my habitat, and I’m in no danger of losing it”. She doesn’t appear to find this reassuring, and goes back into her office. But I think I hear the click of the lock. Funny...she didn’t seem worried about Obama yesterday.
*This is not real and I am not Newt Gingrich.