By Tony Russell|
"What's the matter, honey? You've got me worried. You look so tired all the time."
"It's all this fuss over the firing of federal prosecutors, Linda. Won't it ever die down?"
"But why would you be upset, sweetheart? You didn't get fired. The president and the attorney general are really happy with your work."
"That's just it, Linda. Everybody treats the attorneys who got fired as heroes because they insisted on doing what was right rather than what Karl Rove wanted. And those of us who kept our jobs are looked down on as bootlickers and lickspittles."
"Surely people wouldn't think that about you, darling!"
[Bitterly] "When I enter the office in the morning, it gets as quiet as a mausoleum. Suddenly everybody has to sharpen a pencil or stare at his or her computer screen. When I invite people out to lunch, they all tell me they have other commitments. I've been referred to as a 'loyal Bushie' four times this week, Linda, and it wasn't intended as a compliment."
"It just doesn't seem right, darn it! You headed up President Bush's re-election campaign in this state, you personally rounded up more than $5,000,000 for his war chest, and you were given this job to build up your résumé for a run at a seat in Congress! And now people want to sweep all that aside, just because you're loyal?"
"It's not just that, Linda. You remember those three staff attorneys who resigned when I wouldn't pursue that bribery investigation with the defense contractor? They've all been subpoenaed by the Senate. And I know those three. They're going to go in there and claim that I dropped the investigation because the House members involved were Republicans and the election was just a few months away."
"But that's not true, is it?"
"Of course not. It's just that I was so busy trying to find voter fraud by the Democrats that I didn't have time to devote to another major case."
"Why couldn't they see that, honey? Why do people always put the worst interpretation on perfectly reasonable acts? It must be partisan politics. I'll bet all three of them are Democrats!"
"Unfortunately, that's the bad part. Two of them are registered as Independents, and the third is actually a lifelong Republican. They were career attorneys with the department, and together they had over fifty years of experience."
"Well, see there? That's the problem, isn't it? They were stuck in old habits. They weren't able to adapt to this administration's new approaches."
"You see that, and I see that. But 80% of the country has decided it doesn't like those new approaches. They keep telling pollsters they think the country is on the wrong track."
"If this is all so hard on you, honey, maybe you ought to resign."
"I already tried, Linda. But they won't let me. They say not only would it look bad right now, but the media would be all over me, wanting to know why I quit. Karl said he'd have the president issue a statement that he has complete confidence in me and is behind me 100%."
"I told him he didn't have to threaten me like that. I'd stay."
© Tony Russell, 2007
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