Presidential hide-and-seek: A primer

See the president. Nobody wants to be seen with him.


Michael Scherer
May 31, 2006 8:07PM (UTC)

See the president. He is a big man. Very powerful. He can raise a million dollars at the drop of a hat. All he has to do is show up. They serve short ribs or salmon. He gives a speech. Forks clatter on plates. Everyone applauds. Just like that: a million dollars.

Republican politicians like the president. They can use his dollars to make people like them. But don't tell anyone else. It's a secret. That's because two out of every three people don't like the president. So the Republican politicians have a problem. They don't want anyone to know the secret. They don't want anyone to see them with the president or his money. When the president comes around, they leave the room. Or they cast votes. Or they run away to Las Vegas. It is kind of funny.

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And it will happen again tonight. The president will go to a hotel outside Baltimore for drinks and cocktails. Boom: a million dollars. A lot of the money will go to help Lt. Gov. Michael Steele try to become a senator. But Steele will not be there. He is hiding in Las Vegas. The president will be alone. But this happens all the time.

Last week, the president raised money for Rep. Thelma Drake from Virginia. But she was hiding too. She said she needed to vote. That was silly. She was voting on a bill that passed unanimously. That means she didn't need to vote. The same thing happened with Rep. Curt Weldon in Pennsylvania. He hid himself when the president came. He said, "There is nothing the president can do for me." That was mean.

Rep. Geoff Davis of Kentucky acted even meaner. He told the president he did not want to see him. He said he "really wanted Laura." That is the name of the president's wife. But the president is a trouper. He made it a joke. Everybody laughed. Then the president gave Davis a lot of money.

Does all the hiding make the president unhappy? I don't know. The president is keeping that a secret. And there are still people who will meet with him. This Friday the president will have his picture taken with the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are a football team. Everybody likes them.


Michael Scherer

Michael Scherer is Salon's Washington correspondent. Read his other articles here.

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