The political drama last week resembled a high school production of West Side Story, or worse yet Grease: teenagers playing adults playing teenagers. Chewing the scenery, drunk on their own deranged momentum. Brains boiling in Palcohol.
Palcohol is flavored, freeze-dried alcohol that comes in a little packet that you mix with water. It just received approval from Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.
Mark Phillips, the creator of Palcohol, thinks it will appeal to those like himself who so badly want to drink in places where it’s not a good idea yet find they can’t cope with the heavy, noisy bottles. This may all sound desperate and gutless to you and me. Dealing with heavy bottles is the fabric of the experience. But Phillips knows the market and there are people out there who will eat this stuff by the faceful.
Two drunk Secret Service agents crashed their car into a White House barrier last week. One of the guys was a top-level agent on The President’s protective detail. They have been “reassigned” to digging their own graves I would guess.
But it’s not enough for Jason Chaffetz. He’s House Oversight Committee Chairman and he hates the Secret Service. Nobody denies that they need to sharpen up but Chaffetz bears a mysterious, manic grudge. He accused the agents of taking the car to a party in Georgetown, one of particularly ugly depravity. “Drinking on the job isn’t good at McDonald’s and it certainly isn’t good if you work for the Secret Service,” said Chaffetz and added, “Our committee will continue its investigation into the Secret Service and add this on to the list of embarrassments.”
“How long is the List of Embarrassments?” asked a reporter.
“Really long,” he said and put his sunglasses on.
“Were the agents snorting Palcohol?”
“Probably,” he said and left.
This is a dark time for the Secret Service. Their PR is terrible and it’s only their fault. Secret Service Director Joe Clancy got the job just a few months ago when Chaffetz chased away former Director Julia Pierson after crazed Iraq War vet Omar Gonzales entered the White House through the North Portico door carrying a knife. He made it as far as the East Room before he was clobbered by a brace of agents. “Change is necessary to gain a fresh perspective on how we conduct business,” Clancy said when he took the job.
The Secret Service aren’t the only ones in Washington D.C. that are blacked out and power-mad. Left unattended, a group of hoodlums sent an open letter to Tehran this week. It was written by Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton and signed by 46 other Republican senators. That’s almost all of them.
The letter said that any nuclear deal made with Iran is merely symbolic pending Congressional approval, and that as soon as Obama is out of office, the deal will mean even less than it does now.
A staff advisor to one of the 2016 Republican hopefuls told me that John Kerry was burning sage and playing the bongos in his office when he got the news. He said Kerry had a look in his eyes of “utter disbelief. But it might have been because of the drumming. He was sweating a lot. It looked like some kind of ritual.”
“What kind of ritual?”
“Just one of his things, you know. Now, he’s into bongo drums.”
“James Dean played the bongos,” I said, “He has some great quote about the world going to hell and playing the bongos.”
“There’s so much Palcohol here now. Nobody’s getting anything done. Not even our guys. Especially not them. It’s all over everything, like dust.”
“What’s that about sage?”
“Well, that’s what he says it is.”
“Oh,” I said, “Everybody’s back-pedaling from this insane letter, aren’t they? I’m seeing the word treason a lot.”
“Please. I don’t hear any sirens. Do you?”
“It does seem like a strong opening bid.”
There was a loud sniffing sound on his end of the line.
“Well, party on,” I said, “You’ll be out of work soon. Call me when you get to the coast.”
In Moscow, it’s too cold for bongos and panty raids. President Vladimir Putin is still missing.* The frenzy of rumors has everyone momentarily dazed but it can’t last too much longer. Soon, they will want answers and Vyacheslav Volodin, Putin’s deputy chief of staff, will have to do a lot better than, “Without Putin, there is no Russia.”
Dmitry Peskov, a senior spokesman for Putin is adamant that Putin is in good health– so adamant as to be suspicious. Putin has a handshake that “could break your hand,” screamed Peskov. Sounds great, but it’s exactly what they said about Boris Yeltsin eight years ago when he disappeared and died.
To allay suspicion, last Friday, the Kremlin released a photo purporting to show Putin eating chicken with Elvis Presley. Nobody is buying it. When someone comes forward with a broken hand, it still won’t prove anything.
*(Note: Since the writing of this editorial, Putin is back from his 10-day disappearing act. He showed up for his meeting with Almazbek Atambayev, the President of Kyrgyzstan. He joked and smiled before the press in St. Petersburg but didn’t explain himself. He doesn’t have to. He has an 86% approval rating, which is no surprise at all in light of the recent murder of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov. The vibe is jittery and acquiescent. Putin has commanded Russia’s Northern Fleet “to full alert in a snap combat readiness exercise” along the border in the Arctic. It’s only a drill, but it’s a hell of a comment.
Also, five states have banned the sale of Palcohol, and four more, including New York, might do the same. Senator Schumer calls Palcohol “the Kool-Aid of teen binge drinking.”
“If only,” said Joe Clancy from Secret Service Headquarters.)