I got a phone call last night. "I've got a story for you," said my friend the caller. "You can only use this on double-secret super background," said the source, "and attribute it to a senior administration official."
"But you're NOT a senior administration official," I protested.
"So? I've always wanted to be called an SAO, and you don't have to say which administration, right? Take it or leave it, but you don't get my story unless that's what you call me."
"What's your story? Give me a clue about what we're talking about." I asked.
"I know the real reason why Cheney isn't testifying."
I paused. Do I grant confidentiality and the distinguished but undeserved title of SAO to my source? I thought: what would Judy do? What would Novak do? What would Russert do?
So, ahem, I got this phone call last night from a Senior Administration Official . . .
It seems the Vice President woke up wimpering around 2AM on Tuesday morning, waking his dear wife. "What's wrong?" said Lynne.
"It's this dream I just had – a nightmare, really – about Scooter's trial."
"Dear, dear," said Lynne, trying to comfort her big guy. "You'll do fine. Everyone says so – Scooter, Karl, even George."
"I don't know. This dream was really frightening."
"Why don't you just tell me about it? That'll get it out of your system, and you can see what a silly little thing it is that scared you."
"OK . . . I wasn't in the courtroom, but in a baseball stadium, wearing a little earphone to get the play-by-play of the game. But it wasn't an ordinary announcer, and it wasn't an ordinary game. He was talking about Scooter and me and Wells and Fitzgerald, all in the third person. And there we all were, down there on the field. Here's how the announcer's tale went . . .
* * *
It looked extremely rocky for the White House team that day;
The defense team was in shambles, with little time to play.
After Ari told his story, and Judy did the same,
A pallor wreathed the features of the wingnuts at the game.
A straggling few got up to go, leaving there the rest,
With that hope which springs eternal within the human breast.
For they thought: "If only Cheney could get a whack at that,"
They'd put even money now, with Cheney at the bat.
But scores preceded Cheney (each detailed at Firedoglake),
Each said "Irving's a pudd'n;" each named poor Scoot' a fake,
The Freepers sat in silence, their cheering voices canned,
For there seemed but little chance of Cheney's getting to the stand.
But Wells continued onward, to the wonderment of all,
And the much beleaguered lawyers won't let Irving take the fall.
Each witness came, each witness left, and few are left to speak.
"Next witness," said Judge Walton, in this trial of the Leak.
Then from the rightwing bleachers went up a joyous yell–
It rumbled in the mountaintops, it rattled in the dell;
It struck up the hillside and resounded from the band;
For Cheney, mighty Cheney, was advancing to the stand.
There was ease in Cheney's manner as he stepped into his place,
There was pride in Cheney's bearing and a smile on Cheney's face;
And when responding to the cheers he lightly raised his hand,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt: 'twas Cheney on the stand.
Ten thousand eyes were on him as he came to take his place.
Five thousand tongues applauded as he moved at his own pace;
Then when the prosecution at Libby's case did chip,
Defiance glanced in Cheney's eye, a sneer curled Cheney's lip.
And now Fitzgerald's question came hurtling through the air,
And Cheney stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy witness the question quickly sped;
"That ain't my style," said Cheney. "Strike one," Judge Walton said.
From the benches, filled with Freepers, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm waves on stern and distant shore.
"Kill him! kill that Walton!" shouted someone from the stands;
And it's likely they'd have killed him had not Cheney raised his hands.
With a smile of Christian charity great Cheney's visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult, he made the game go on.
He signaled to Fitzgerald, and once more a question flew;
But Cheney still ignored it, and Judge Walton said, "Strike two."
"Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and the echo answered "Fraud!"
But one scornful look from Cheney and the media was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Cheney wouldn't let the Fitz get by again.
The sneer is gone from Cheney's lips, his teeth are clenched in hate,
He pounds with cruel vengeance his bat upon the plate.
And now Fitzgerald holds his tongue, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Cheney's blow.
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;
And somewhere folks are laughing, and somewhere children shout,
But there is no joy for Irving: Mighty Cheney has struck out.
* * *
Dick looked at Lynne, and she looked at him. Minutes passed in silence, until finally Lynne spoke. "Dear, dear," said Lynne, "Do you want to call Wells and tell him 'never mind my testimony' or should I?"
(with apologies to Ernest Lawrence Thayer)