Surprise, Surprise

Sunday, Zero-Minus-10

Dubya, I have a dream. A recurrent dream. No, a nightmare.

You and me are standing on the White House roof -- it's like it's got a widow's walk or something. We can see for miles. There's gazillions of security moms in rank upon rank all the way to the horizon, screaming like Beatles fans, doing the wave, clapping and yelling for you, the guy who kept them safe from terrorism for four years and will for four more.

Suddenly a 50-story Richard Clarke comes stomping down Pennsylvania Avenue, bellowing so loud you can hear him clear across a dozen states. “I apologize to the victims of September 11!” he thunders. “Your government failed you!”

And all those gazillions of security moms go real quiet.

Sometimes dreams crystallize things, you know? Every time I wake up after this one, I'm sweating bullets. What if the Undertaker does have an October surprise? What if all along he's been planning to do what we did at the convention: exploit the big one? Only difference being, they've got a much better story.

You know what I'm talking about, W. Say I'm the Undertaker's hombre, not yours. I'd be playing it exactly the way he's playing it. Leave the best till last. Leave the Achilles heel exposed till right about now, 10 days before the election, when the undecideds finally pay attention. Then -- wham! Hit 'em with:

How safe will America be with the man who let 9-11 happen?

Can't ya just hear that Massachusetts drone, Dubya?

“George W. Bush, how can you claim to be the homeland's stand-tall sheriff, the unflinching go-it-alone leader, the decisive, these-colors-don't-run commander in chief when you let 20 no-account sand fleas slip through the fingers of your CIA, your FBI, your National Security Agency and, in a few short minutes, bring down two of the world's biggest skyscrapers and dive-bomb the global nerve center of the world's (and history's) most powerful military? You have the unmitigated gall to call yourself the “security president,” the man who'll keep America safe? You lost that title three years, one month, and 15 days ago, Governor -- and you're fired!”

Frankly, Dubya, I dunno how we counter this. All he's got to do is re-run that tape where you hear about 9-11 in the school, where your face looks like a groundhog just before the truck squishes it. You knew then that it was all over, didn't you, Dubya? Fess up.

I know, I know: We deflected the blame. Even when Clarke came along we kept him away from you. Blamed 9-11 on Clinton, the CIA, Clinton, the United Nations, Clinton, Ted Kennedy, Michael Moore, Jane Fonda, and Clinton -- anyone but the guy who was on the bridge, the guy whose watch it was.

Just think what we would have done if it had been Al Gore up there. We'd have crucified him. By now he wouldn't just have been impeached; he'd be serving 3,000 consecutive life terms. In Alabama. It's only because the other guys are such pussyfooting quiche-sucking girlie boys that they haven't been hammering you to a pulp for the last three years.

But now they're going to! I feel it in my bones.

OK. Don't panic. We might be able to bury it with a bigger story. Here's news stuff we've still got in the can:

  • Willie Horton's back in the Concord, Massachusetts, facility, all ready to be furloughed again.
  • Regnery's got a new book, Abu Ghraib Veterans for Truth (John Kerry's flip-flops affected the infantry's morale so bad its members couldn't tell right from wrong).
  • There's a Navy chaplain willing to swear he married Kerry and one of Kerry's messmates in the early '70s.
  • Martha Stewart says that, in a real emergency, she'll do the prison-break thing.

But you know what, Dubya? I don't think any of 'em will work. Trouble with 9-11 being your fault, Dubya, is that, well, I dunno how to put this but … it's the truth!

Hmm … .

What if there's a 9-11: The Sequel? You and me both know that you wouldn't have a clue how to stop that from happening (any more than you had a clue how to stop the first one). In fact, you and me both know that there will be another 9-11 -- if you're re-elected. You're the most despised American president in the history of the planet. There's never been an American more hated by 99.9 percent of everyone on earth. (That includes Richard Nixon, Lee Harvey Oswald, and the Olsen twins).

There could even be more than one more -- and one of them could have my name written on it!

Ever-loving, sweet, blond-bearded Jesus! Why didn't I think of this sooner? Having you up there for another four years is the single most dangerous thing that could happen to this country. Actually, forget the country -- to me!

Know what, Dubya? There is one story bigger than Martha busting out of jail:

I quit!

Tony Hendra is an author and an actor. His best-selling book, Father Joe: The Man Who Saved My Soul, was published by Random House.