Commentary Magazine


Fly on the Cabinet Room Wall

Last night, I had the most remarkable dream. I was attending a meeting of President Obama’s cabinet, and it was the first one since Senator Judd Gregg was confirmed as Secretary of Commerce.

“I’d like to call this meeting to order. First up… yes, Secretary Gregg?”

“Mr. President, before we begin, a point of order. Could all former lobbyists present their waivers from the new ‘no lobbyists’ ethics rule?”

Obama sighs. “Very well. Could all Cabinet members and their aides who have been granted waivers raise their hands?” Seventeen people raise their hands. “Is that sufficient,Secretary Gregg?”

“Well, they say they were granted waivers, but I don’t see them…”

“Secretary Gregg, I personally recognize each of them, and recall giving each of them their waivers. Will that suffice for you?”

“If you say so, Mr. President.”

“Thank you, Secretary Gregg. Now for our first item, the economy.  Tax revenues are down. We need to… yes, Secretary Gregg?”

“Thank you, Mr. President. I would like to read into the record two statements: First, from Vice President Biden: ‘paying higher taxes is patriotic.’ Second, from Secretary Daschle, from May of 1998: ‘Make no mistake, tax cheaters cheat us all, and the IRS should enforce our laws to the letter.’I think we need to stress these two sentiments — that paying taxes is not only the law, but everyone’s duty. That should do a bit to help tax revenues. I’m sure that I speak for everyone here, especially my worthy colleagues from the Departments of the Treasury and Health and Human Services.”

“Thank you for your suggestion, Secretary Gregg. We’ll take that under advisement.”

“You’re welcome, Mr. President.”

The president shuffles his papers. “Now, as I was saying, we need to increase tax revenues.  Does anyone else have anything to offer?”

Unfortunately, that’s when I woke up.

Sadly, that would never happen in real life. Judd Gregg simply doesn’t have the trouble-maker gene for it, and it would quite possibly make him the Cabinet secretary with the shortest career in history.

But man, what a way to go.