As they darted across the country in search of the lost, I’m sorry, last female vote, Bill Clinton and Ted Kennedy bumped into each other one night last week.
Their respected aides had booked each of them a table at the Last Supper Club, a restaurant in the Mission district of San Francisco, not knowing that the other would be there.
I understand their respective aides have something of a sense of humor, at least when it comes to restaurant reservations.
“There’s no feeling like it, is there, Bill?” Ted was heard to say, fingering his malt.
“No, there isn’t.”
“Election time. The people going out there to make their voices heard.”
“Democracy,” barked Ted.
“Oh, I thought you meant being THIS close to power that you can smell the cordite and dead bodies,” enthused Bill.
“Well, yeah, you have a point,” said Ted, visibly stiffening. “You can see your candidate out there, looking and sounding beautiful. And you tell yourself, I will be their Dick.”
“Their Dick? You and Barack are, like, you know..?” said Bill, a smile that to him was wicked, but to many women in the past had seemed rather more supplicatory.
“Can you try not to think about sex for just five minutes, Bill? I meant their Dick Cheney. He’s taught us all so much over the last few years.”
“It isn’t the speeches. It isn’t the photo ops. It isn’t the meetings with world leaders that matter.”
“It’s the dinners. Especially the desserts,” offered Bill, pretending to not quite follow.
“It’s what you do when no one is looking,” gruffed Ted. “That’s the key to modern politics.”
“I was kidding, Ted. I know. Hillary still believes in town halls, City Halls, walking the halls. You and I. Well, we know, don’t we?”
“You sit in your armchair at home, you sip your whiskey and you pull the strings. It’s the secret of a great relationship, isn’t it? Let them feel they’re in charge and they don’t even realize whose autocue they’re reading.”
“Well, to be fair, Bill, you pulled a lot more than strings when you were a little younger. I mean, Gennifer Flowers? What were you thinking?” sniggered Ted.
“You don’t think when you’re with a woman, Ted. You act. And, boy, did she love my act.”
“You acted like you were the President?”
“Acting like you’re President is no turn on. I learned that real quick. I acted like I was Superman. One minute she saw this cute, shy guy hanging on her every word…”
“And the next you were hanging somewhere else, right?”
“You got it. And, boy, did she love to hang. But, come on, Teddy, you’re no stranger to lovin’ ’em and leavin’ ’em.”
“Can we get to the point, Bill? We’ve got some business to work out here.”
“I think you did a great job, Teddy, making them think you’re Barack’s new Uncle Tom, er, I mean Uncle Ted.”
“I did what we agreed. Even though I knew there’d be trouble. I never walk away from trouble,” said Ted.
“No you don’t,” said Bill. “And you’ll be handsomely rewarded. See, I’m thinking you could be Secretary of Defense. Wouldn’t you just love to clear up the mess old Rummy made?”
“We had a deal, Bill. I give Barack just enough bad advice and then it’s Edward Kennedy, Vice-President. You knew she’d never choose Obama. You knew you couldn’t do it yourself. And you knew that I was the next best to fulfill the grand vision.”
“The vision thing. That’s precisely the problem, Teddy. I know Ryan Seacrest. I’ve worked with Ryan Seacrest. And you’re no Ryan Seacrest.”
“Who’s Ryan Seacrest?”
“Exactly. Look, the one thing we didn’t anticipate is that once you strengthened Barack with your endorsement, all the young people decided he had a chance to win. Now we need someone younger to balance the ticket.”
“Who’ve you got in mind, Bill?”
“Are you fucking crazy? She’s another woman!!!”
“And a Republican, apparently. Teddy, listen. The Republicans are gonna pick McCain. He’s way to the right, but the Republican right doesn’t realize it. So we need to get all of those far right, Christian fundies with the frilly undies.”
“Shit. That’s why that Coulter witch came out last week and said that if McCain would be nominated she was going to campaign for Hillary.”
“Hate to say it, but my idea. And it got a real good response from the focus groups. Especially from young women.”
“You are one sick, devious, son of a…”
“Ann is a very sweet woman, once you get to know her.”
“And you’ve got to know her?” asked Ted, his disbelief becoming religious.
“All in the interests of a win, Teddy.”
“Clinton/Coulter. That is really something,” said Ted, warming to the notion.
“Yup. See, Ted. Barack has it right. It really is time for change.”
“As long as it’s you and I doing the changing?”asked Ted.
“Now why would we do a thing like that?” said Bill, smiling again and calmly asking the waitress for the check.
And her phone number.
The Pond thanks Kieran Lynam for his heavenly gaze.