Hey Karl

“Hey Karl.”
“Hey.”
“So?”
“So what?”
“So whatdya think?”
“Honestly?”
“Of course.”
“I think we could have done better.”
“Come on!”
“No, really.”
“That was a rout, man! Close to the biggest pickup of seats in a single election in history, just like you asked!”

“Yes, I know, but…”
“But what? Look, don’t even think about—”
“Oh no no no – I don’t mean to sound ungrateful at all!”
“We agreed, remember?”
“Yes, of course.”
“And I really hope you’re not suggesting that I didn’t—”
“No, no! Look, please stop. You’re making me nervous.”
“Well all right then.”
“What you did is wonderful, it really is.”
“It wasn’t easy, you know.”
“I know.”

“You saw Grant Park. You saw how united they were – holding hands, weeping together, hugging one another.”
“Yes, yes, of course I remember.”
“And not just there, all across the US. And the world. That was just two years ago, pal.”
“I know. I know. Look, you really don’t have to remind me.”
“Oh no, I think I do, little friend.”
“Yes, of course. I’m sorry. You were saying.”
“Perfect strangers too, many of them. Embracing, kissing, forging memories that will be passed on for generations. Generations!”
“Yes, I heard you.”
“Do you know how hard it is to even begin to roll back something of that magnitude?”
“I know, I know. That’s why we hired you, and that’s why we pay top dollar.”
“And don’t act like the money just came out of nowhere, either.”
“You know, I was meaning to ask—”
“Quiet. I don’t have to explain myself to you.”
“No, of course not. I was simply sharing my admiration for your work in Citizens United.”
“To be honest, and as I’m sure you’re well aware, the tough one was really Gore v Bush.”
“Yes, I’m sure. Look, can I get you something? No? OK, I’m sorry. You were saying?”

“I was about to say it was all pretty much downhill from there. And then I gave you the House.”
“Yes, I know, and believe me, we are more than gratef—”
“Shut up, you ingrate, and listen. I don’t want to be having this conversation again.”
“Yes, master.”
“What I did for you Tuesday night is something you still can’t see.”
“What’s that, sir?”
“Truth is, I’ve been doing it ever since Obama got elected.”
“Oh, the Tea Party? Well, of course we’re most grate—”
“Quiet. Not the Tea Party. Any idiot could have thought of, much less predicted that.”
“I’m sorry, sir, to what do you refer?”

“Karl, do you remember back when someone threatened to pass a bill granting rights to people gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered?”
“If I recall correctly, you got someone to offer a compromise.”
“Yes, now do you remember what kind?”
“The kind that gave rights to L, G and B but not to T.”
“Right. And why did I do that?”
“So that – oh, so that progressives would be forced to choose between a bill that would infuriate part of its base or no bill at all!”
“Right.”
“Kind of a Sophie’s Choice. Brilliant, sir!”
“Yes, thank you. And how did we market that?”
“Pragmatism. Realism. The notion that progress is incremental, and that folks morally opposed to throwing one group of people under the bus were being petulant, whiny, and irresponsible.”
“Right. Now why did I go to all the trouble?”

“Oh, to get the other side to fight itself instead of us!”
“Exactly.”
“So?”
“So? Have you read the paper lately?”
“Oh my G—”
“Watch it.”
“Sorry, sir. Wow. You’re just, just awesome.”
“Thank you. Now, if all goes according to plan, conservative Democrats will keep on bashing progressive Democrats right up until the Election Day 2012.”
“Masterful. Getting the members of a group to police themselves spares the dominant group a lot of trouble.”
“Indeed.”
“Women telling other women how to dress, how to behave…minorities equating success with a loss of ethnic identity—”
“Thank you, that’s enough.”
“But…”
“But what?”
“What if progressive Democrats don’t get turned off from their party and keep demanding to be heard?”
“Then the message, dear Karl, is what?”
“That either you’re with us, or against us?”
“You catch on quick.”

“Now if you’ll excuse me, I have work to do.”
“May I ask what you’re devising now, master?”
“I’m getting Democratic folks on Twitter to chide one another for criticizing the President. What? What is it now?”
“No offense, sir, but do you think they’ll buy that? I mean, they are Democrats, of course. They think dissent is patriotic, and…yes, sir. I’m sorry, sir.”
“I think we’re done here. Do you have the list of souls ready?”
“Yes, sir, but I have just one more question.”
“Sure.”
“I see how you got Democrats on Twitter to turn against one another, but how’d you get the White House to blast the ‘professional left?’ I mean, they must know more than anyone else how critical progressives were to their success in 2008 and will be in 2012.”
“Karl?”
“Yes, sir?”
“A master magician never gives away all his secrets.”

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