The President and the Rodent

Yatindra Bhatnagar


This was written sometime back.  Since then many things have changed

but the rodent humor is still fresh.

{With the Iraq Mission supposed to come to an end, and before that oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that endangered turtles and the pelicans and the fish, the bitter debate in Congress about all kinds of reforms, the mid-term poll debacle for the Democrats in the House, the Nuclear treaty with Russia etc., it seems The Rodent in the White House was forgotten. But not by me!]

A rodent had appeared before President Barack Obama some time back as he was addressing White House reporters. That incident had started a flurry of activities, comments and conjectures.

The ‘undocumented' rodent was seen and photographed moving in front of President Obama when the First Resident of the White House was lauding the end of Senate filibuster on his financial overhaul plan. Also present was a battery of reporters just outside the Oval Office - a place made more famous by Bill Clinton's extra-curricular activities. Photographers captured the rodent's moves forgetting the Commander-in-Chief for a few moments - an intolerable situation for the Political Messiah of the Democratic Party.

The President, intentionally or unknowingly (as in many other cases), did not bother about the unwanted guest. This was nothing new - he does not seem to know if there are any undocumented humans in the country. He is a little relaxed in this matter also; as you know he did not even know if there was an uninvited couple at his first state dinner.

Of course, the ever vigilant media men saw the moving critter. The rodent, still un-identified and un-captured, had dashed out of the bushes (darn, the names always come up) and walked right in front of the President. It then boldly walked to his left. Ah, The Left! ‘Our' kind of critter.

For a few moments the photographers ignored the President and snapped away the ‘thing' that "trundled straight past the lectern and made a beeline for another set of bushes" (again the name crops up) to Obama's left. The President might have sensed that someone unaccredited has found his/her way to his home and "concluded his statement and returned to his office without answering a few shouted questions on other topics," says an AP report. Well, somebody had asked Obama the name of the rodent without knowing that the teleprompter had already been switched off.

Some veteran White House reporters maintained that the same critter had earlier been seen running in and out without being captured, like what their human counterparts do in large numbers all the time sneaking from across the southern borders and living in this country, comfortably. This one - with possibly more like it - is living in The White House, a ‘Sanctuary House,' I presume.

This incident has created widespread concern in political, economic, social and cultural sectors. Opinions are expressed on radio, TV and reported by newspapers all over the nation.

One of the first was Attorney General Eric Holder, boss of the Justice Department, who ordered that if captured the rodent must be read its Miranda Rights to remain silent. He also made it explicitly clear that the administration would not allow torture in any form, including water boarding. Holder was followed by Janet Napolitano, the Homeland Security Chief who assured that the borders are safer than ever before and that the system worked.

The rodent may or may not be a New Yorker, but The City's billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg's reaction was to dismiss the incident "caused by some mentally deranged person that did not like the healthcare bill, or a tea-party terrorist." He later declined to be drawn into yet another controversy about his defense of the indefensible as he was too much preoccupied with defending the proposed mosque near Ground Zero.

The ever eloquent and active, Cardinal Roger Mahony, the great Archbishop of Los Angeles, rushed to support the rodent who is, after all, God's creation and has to be treated like a ‘human' and not a criminal. He offered shelter at one of his churches and dared anyone to come and get it. The more the merrier to join the flock.

Mayor Newsom of San Francisco (now Lt. Governor of California), placed his Sanctuary City at the rodent's disposal. The City Councils of Los Angeles, San Antonio and some others threatened boycott of The White House if the undocumented rodent is stopped, asked to show his papers, handed over to the Feds, arrested and deported.

Speaker (now the Minority Leader) Nancy Pelosi, and Senator Harry Reid, decided to bring a detailed bill to make it an offense to photograph and write about presidential rodents. The bill, Pelosi, explained would be comprehensive and might run into more than 2000 pages. She, as usual, insisted that lawmakers pass it without reading it, they can read it later.

Pelosi emphatically declared that undocumented rodents also deserve some kind of amnesty. She suggested that churches take up the matter and exhort the parishioners to raise their voice against discrimination and to help register such critters. [Pelosi is convinced that the move would swell the ranks of the Democratic Party.] Sadly, she lost her post of Speaker, also the third-in-line honor for becoming President in an extraordinary emergency.

The President, as usual late to comment on some uncomfortable issues, has now announced a bipartisan commission to investigate all aspects of the incident. The bipartisan body would have Senator Arlen Specter as the chairman, and also the sole member, as he is a real bi-partisan.

For people with short memory, Specter was a Republican for decades before he became a Democrat to save and continue his job. However, he lost that chance also despite the White House promise (he was defeated in the Democratic primaries for November polls) and therefore, deserved to be compensated with a top job.

[Arlen Specter blamed his defeat in the primaries on the rodent and even suggested that it might be a Republican sent to infiltrate and sabotage. He called the incident Rodentgate.]

The President has asked the investigative commission to submit a report no later than January 19, 2013 and asked Vice President Joe Biden to monitor it without opening his mouth. Additionally, he has assured a stimulus package if the Commission and Biden so recommend.

However, the liberal Left, ACLU and other civil rights groups have warned that in any report or resultant law they will not tolerate racial profiling. The League of LBTGs wants a Rodent Pride Day Parade all over the nation; it is hopeful of the President's support.

Al Gore, the great Global Warmer, was also concerned about the rodent incident. He said he has been highlighting the problem of global warming since long but some critics ridiculed his inventions - like the Internet. See what happens because of global warming, he added.

When asked about the incident, Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor said, "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life" [of a rodent, I suppose.]

Campaigning for Senate, Richard Blumenthal dismissed the allegation that he bought the critter when he served in Vietnam and was lucky to get on the last ship that left with hundreds of other Vietnamese. Words like "in" and "during" the war be damned! Anyway, he credited his Senate win to the appearance of the Presidential Rodent.

This incident and allegations have been prominently commented by Christ Matthews and Keith Olberman who blamed Fox News, particularly Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity. Some accused Glen Beck to have arranged it with the Salahis to leave their pet rodent in the White House when they gate -crashed at the state dinner for the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Greta van Susteren is all set to interview the rodent as soon as sighted again and tempted with a pound of cheese from the presidential dairy to be set up soon by Madam Michelle Obama, with the help of school kids. After all, the kitchen garden experiment has been a resounding success. Greta, meanwhile, has roped in some members of the Secret Service to help her.

The Secret Service is busy in finding the White House social secretary who did not do his/her job to check all the invitations and be present at the gate to personally check on the guests.

The liberal media led by The New York Times blamed Sarah Palin for the activities of the rodent in the White House. They pooh poohed the idea that just because of a rodent the Mama Grizzlies or Soccer Moms would be able to sway the voters in the mid-term polls in November. [It happened, though.]

A group of animal rights advocates is toying with the idea of forming an ultra liberal leftist party with The Rodent as their symbol. They said that no elephant or donkey could enter The White House and since a rodent did it, it's most appropriate to make it their symbol. They claimed it would be an instant winner.

The boss of CIA was also concerned about the incident but doesn't want to do anything suo moto for fear of exposing one of their agents to public scrutiny and disclosure of his/her name.

The FBI flatly refused to be drawn into doing anything hastily as the reports from their agents posted widely would take time to be scrutinized, sifted, analyzed and cross-checked. After that some definite conclusion had to be drawn from it and a politically correct action considered, only if the reports were found credible and worth taking risks.

The talk show circuit seemed somewhat interested in the incident. Jay Leno sarcastically commented: "At the White House, a rodent ran in front of President Obama as he stood at the podium. In fact, the rat was picked up on the microphone going, 'How do I get off this sinking ship?' " Ha, Ha!

David Letterman referred the topic to Conan O'Brien in the vain hope of getting some juicy anti-Leno remarks. For now, Letterman has instructed his staff to find out if the rodent was a female. It's reliably learnt through one ‘Joe' Halderman that if it's a Miss Rodent, a paid job would be created on Letterman's staff for ‘her.'

Hollywood also got interested in the rodent show. Plans are afoot for making a movie. The contest for director was between Woody Allen of adopted daughter-turned wife fame and Michael Moore with his post - 9/11 attacks and love for Capitalism. A dark horse appeared in the form of Roman Polanski whose attorneys had worked overtime and succeeded in getting the romantic director an escape route in Switzerland.

The Polanski deal is about making a film - free of charge - on the First Rodent if he (Polanski) gets the presidential pardon. Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett got together to work out a win-win deal. That way the White House would get overwhelming support from the Hollywood celebrities who have defended Polanski and wanted Obama administration to drop the case of raping a minor against him. Sadly, Rahm and David quit - don't know for sure if The Rodent had anything to do with their departure from The White House.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, better known as Carla Bruni's husband, was happy and so were the Swiss for getting out of an uneasy situation, created by the director. Though the Swiss did not agree to extradite the man to the US and, instead, freed him. This must have displeased the LA prosecutor but The White House did not react unfavorably on the release and the relations between the two countries remain cordial.

Here, in America, First Daughters, Malia and Sasha, seem to be in some trouble. As soon as they heard about the rodent in the White House, their reaction, captured by a live mike, was "Oh My God!" That made the ACLU jump up with the demand that God be kept out of The White House as the girls' reaction confirms that the President has failed to keep the church and the state separate.

Since both the First Daughters are juveniles, ACLU attorneys would only ask for probation for them till January 19, 2013. As for the possible action against the President for violation of the church-state rule, the matter would be referred to the trio of three holy men, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and - you guessed it right - Jeremiah Wright [currently living ‘under the bus,' as he himself has admitted.]

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, of the Ground Zero Mosque fame, was unsure if the rodent could be clubbed with dogs or pigs. He undertook a taxpayer-funded trip to the Middle East to consult higher religious authorities there to know if Sharia laws had anything on the issue. In any case, several Mullahs are prepared to issue Fatwas but are still not sure against whom.

How could PETA not be concerned about the rodent incident? They are the custodians of animal rights and actively campaign for ethical treatment for animals. It's surprising that they have not yet suggested a dog or a cat for Congress. The powerful PETA lobby warned possible hardliners and exterminators not to use Weapons of Mouse Destruction against resident rodents of the White House.

Finally, First Lady Michelle Obama is seriously thinking of writing a book on the First Rodent - just like Barbara Bush wrote about the First Dog, Millie. You might remember, Millie was hailed as the "most famous dog in The White House." There is a dog park in Texas named after Millie.

Who knows, the new First Rodent might become as famous, or more, with Michelle's book. It may get its own park in Chicago or Hawaii or even in Kenya. Publishers are in the race to invest up to 50 million dollars on the book. There are sure signs that the book on White House rodent, or rodents, would be on The New York Times Best Seller list for a long time and, finally, could be included in the nation's text books for budding politicians - and all others. Amen!