Monday, October 03, 2011

Congress Needs a Three-Martini Lunch

Originally posted by Tribune Media Services

As Congress continues to bumble its way through existence, I feel it's finally time to step in and offer a solution that will solve our nation's ills.

The Three Martini Lunch.

Whatever happened to that sacred ritual of negotiation, so popular in the 1960s and '70s? The guys on Mad Men close multimillion-dollar deals every week over martinis. My dad, a retired salesman, paid for my college tuition with the help of a few vodka soaked olives and a veal shank with soup, salad and baked potato. Liquid libation, he argued, could loosen up the tightest customer. And right now, Congress is tighter than the faces on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

Blame stricter drunk-driving laws for the drinking lunch's demise. Blame company wellness programs. Blame image-conscious individuals, wary of ordering alcohol before 5 p.m. Those three reasons are precisely why Washington has nothing to lose by airing its beefs with a little Beefeater. One, our nation's Capitol teems with chauffeurs and private car services. Two, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Camel Light, isn't exactly on a health kick. Furthermore, former Rep. Anthony Weiner proved that the congressional gym is not necessarily used for fitness. Three, Congress' image ranks just below navel lint.

So, before our nation runs out of money, defaults on its national debt and slides deeper into recession, somebody please make a noon reservation at a Washington power eatery where Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner can loosen their ties and their viewpoints. A waitress is at the ready.

"Hello, Gentlemen. Can I start you off with some drinks? Mr. Reid?"

"I'll get the first round. Four vodka martinis. Straight up."

"Make mine an appletini."

"Cantor, this is a negotiation, not a frat party."

"OK, straight up. With a cherry."

"Whatever. Tim, where are we at?

"It's pretty obvious. We're down to a couple billion and some change in the coffers. The clock is ticking."

"That's because Harry here won't budge on disaster relief spending."

"Excuse me, John, for wanting to help the residents of Joplin."

"Harry, you're getting on my nerves."

"Pardon me, gentlemen. Another round?"

"Don't mind if we do. And an order of calamari."

"Right away, Mr. Geithner. But we can't take a check from the Treasury. Remember what happened last time?"

"I'll pay cash."

"Guys, we have to cut more social service programs. Isn't that obvious?"

"Not as obvious as the Redskins' play-calling. Eric, did you see that game yesterday?"

"Here's some food for thought. If we cut $2 billion from the budget, we could buy the team. How cool would that be?"

"Your drinks, gentlemen. And the special today is prime rib. Are you ready to order?"

"Can you give us a few minutes? We're trying to keep the government running."

"C'mon Tim! I'm starving.

"Agree on spending cuts and I'll get her back here."

"Fine. Cut the alternative energy loan program."

"And tell the victims of Irene they don't have to worry. FEMA will be there."

"Great. That went pretty smoothly, didn't it?"

"Not as smooth as this Grey Goose. Yowza!"

"So, John, how's your golf game?"

"Thanks for asking Harry. It's decent. We should get out some time. I'll call the president. He's always up for 18."

"Need a fourth?"

"We've got your cell, Eric."

"Boys, we probably have time for one more before the food arrives. Can we agree that we're not going to put the American people through another debt ceiling debacle?"

"Yeah, we did look pretty stupid on that one. (HICCUP) I'd be willing to forego my pension for a few years."

"I'll go you one better. (BURP) I'll give up my Social Security. Tim, figure out my monthly benefits for the next 10 years and just give the money to a laid off worker with a family. "

"I love you guys. Waitress, four more."

"Coming right up, gentlemen. Will you be needing cabs after lunch?"

"Don't worry. We've got a designated driver."

"Yeah, Mrs. Pelosi is waiting outside."

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