Evening Soup with Basement Joe, Episode 25

Political Satire:  Having trouble surviving these times?  You’re not alone.  Join us in columnist John F. Di Leo’s exploration of an alternate universe, where we imagine the impossible:

Joe Buckstop, an aging, corrupt old fool, somehow becomes president in his basement, and every night, an aide has to bring him his soup and discuss the events of the day as he prepares to receive his nightly meds…

Dateline, March 10. Begin Transcript:

“Hello, Boss! We have soup!”

“Oh, good. Please don’t let it be weird…”

“It’s Chicken and Wild Mushroom tonight, sir!”

“Oh, good. That sounds normal.”

“Here you are, sir!”

“Where are the crackers?”

“Right here, sir. Enjoy!”

“Mmm. Good. That helps.”

“Rough day, sir?”

“Oh yeah. Attorney General got confirmed…”

“How could that be bad, sir? He passed 70-30. That’s pretty good, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, but they say he’s usually fair.”

“Well, that’s good, sir…”

“No, it’s not! I can’t have a fair attorney general!”

“Why not, sir?”

“Do you know how the Department of Justice works, boy?”

“Well, not exactly… We’ve only touched on it in law school, so far, sir…”

“Well, lemme tell ya. It’s a lion’s den. They run everything. FBI, solicitor general, office of tribal justice… all kinds of things.”

“Well, yes sir, but isn’t that normal? I mean, don’t all the federal departments have a lot going on, sir?”

“Well, sure, but not like DoJ. The Attorney General knows where the bodies are buried. He decides what to prosecute and what not to. It can be rough!”

“Well, sir, why did you appoint him if you don’t think he’s the right guy for the job, sir?”

“What could I do? Barry nominated him to the Supreme Court five years ago, and we’ve spent five years whining about the Republicans not giving him a hearing! It’s been a huge issue for us. We’ve spent five years screaming about it.”

“Just out of curiosity, sir, if things had been reversed, sir… you know, with a Democrat Senate and a Republican president making the appointment, would you guys have given the Republican appointee a hearing, sir?”

“No way in hell!”

“Ah. Thanks.”

“But the point is, well, we’ve been championing this guy for five years. We HAD to put him in as Attorney General. Everyone said so. Barry and Susan and Valerie and… everybody. So I did what I was told, you know? Last time I said I wanted to think it over, the Doctor said she’d hit me again if I mentioned it one more time…”

“If you’d had your choice, who would you have appointed, sir?”

“Adam Schiff.”

“Congressman Schiff, sir?”

“Sure, he’s on board with everything. Totally partisan. In deep. He’d know what to do.”

“What exactly are you worried about, sir?”

“Do you know what the DoJ controls? The DEA, the US Marshalls service. The Bureau of Prisons!”

“You don’t think he’ll run them well, sir?”

“No, I’m afraid he will! Do you know what kind of people run the DNC, boy? Half our campaign bundlers probably belong in a federal prison. I begged the team to let me put in somebody crooked; they wouldn’t let me.”

“Wow. I didn’t realize there’s be such fights on your staff about these things, sir.”

“It’s all PR, they said. They kept saying it’s all about PR. They said PR was everything. Then I asked what Puerto Rico had to do with it, and the Doctor hit me again…”

“What’s the big deal, sir? It takes the feds years to put together a case. You’ll be long out of here before they’d get anything done, sir!”

“It’s not just me, boy! It’s my whole circle! See, I figured that since the Republicans wouldn’t give him a hearing last time, five years ago, there was a good chance they’d turn him down this time too. That’s what I hoped anyway. But no such luck. 20 Republicans rolled the dice and figured anybody else I appointed would be even worse, so they voted for him. Dammit.”

“So you mean, they were right about that?”

“Damn straight!”

“I’m sure you’re making a bigger thing out of this than it is, sir.”

“Did you pay any attention to the campaign, son? Do you know how everybody around me has made their millions?”

“I haven’t followed that sort of thing, sir. It’s all foreign to me, sir.”

“Well, it’s all been foreign to them too… and they’ve made a killing. Foreign consulting gigs, foreign board memberships, foreign commissions… The AG office runs the Anti-Trust division… and the Tax division. and the Foreign Claims Settlement division.”

“So what, sir? What about them?”

“Those offices’ phones have been ringing off the hook since the installation. There are so many complaints filed on my partners – I mean, my acquaintances – and family – it could keep the lawyers up to their necks in billings if they listen to any of them!”

“Surely it can’t be that bad, sir..”

“Oh no? Ever heard of the Ukraine, son? Or Burma? Or Costa Rica?”

“Oh, I see what you mean.”

“See? There’s so much to unearth…”

“And don’t forget China…”

“Oh…. China… “

“And what offices were those, again, sir?”

“Oh… The tax division… the FBI… the DEA…. oh man…”

“Don’t worry, sir, it can’t be that bad…”

“And then there’s the office of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces… I don’t even know what that office does, and it has me shaking in my boots. When I think about some of the meetings I took, in Europe, back during Barry’s administration…””

“Well, sir, don’t worry. I’m sure it won’t be that bad. I’m sure Mr Garland will take a couple of years just to find his way around… You don’t have anything to worry about.”

“Sure hope you’re right, boy. Do you have any idea how much proximity to trouble a guy can get in, after fifty years in this town?”

“I guess I see what you mean, sir. I never really thought about it, sir.”

“I just can’t let it worry me. I’ve got work to do. Bills to sign. executive orders to sign. Speeches to read…. so much work to do…”

“Keep your chin up, sir. I never realized all those offices would pose so many dangers to an experienced politician like yourself, sir!”

“They always claim to be independent. They aren’t always, but they claim to be. They promise to be. And Merrick might be the kind of guy who means it, ya know?”

“Gee, and I thought your only problem in the DoJ was going to be an office you haven’t even mentioned, sir.”

“Oh? Which one?”

“Well, sir, with this week’s news about Andrew Cuomo, – did you hear, a sixth accuser surfaced today? – I guess it’s just been on my mind. But with those accusations you’ve had over the years, sir, I thought the administration would be worried about the DoJ’s Special Office on Violence Against Women. Wouldn’t a lot of our Democrat pols these days have a lot to fear from that office, sir?”

“Ohhhh, Come on, Man…”

Copyright 2021 John F Di Leo

Excerpted with permission from “Evening Soup with Basement Joe, Volume One,” from Free State West Publishing, available in paperback or eBook exclusively on Amazon.

John F. Di Leo is a Chicagoland-based international transportation and trade compliance professional and consultant.  A onetime Milwaukee County Republican Party chairman, he has been writing a regular column for Illinois Review since 2009.  His book on vote fraud (The Tales of Little Pavel) and his political satires on the current administration (Evening Soup with Basement Joe, Volumes I and II) are available only on Amazon.

His latest book, “Evening Soup with Basement Joe, Volume Three,” was just published in November, 2023.

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