A cadre of government officials plotting to secure unimagined wealth and power; an innocent woman’s death, and a grieving journalist who soon finds himself a nation’s only hope to avert unimagined political catastrophe.
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I’m pleased to offer you another excerpt from my eBook entitled:
THE TRETIAK AGENDA
Marino looked at his colleague, only half-listening at the moment. What if John’s right about this? Christ!
“Don’t you think he’s a shoo-in for re-election? Jesus, you read your own blog posts, don’t you?” Marino began, his hands slashing the air.
“Right now Neely has the highest ratings anyone in the Oval Office has ever had. Why the hell wouldn’t he want to continue? How taxing can it be to win in a landslide?” Marino threw his arms up and flopped back into his seat, exasperated that such issues had to be broached. He again dabbed at his forehead. This time he used his tie.
“This is Washington, Bob, and things do change, but I’ll concede that the Republicans are going to have to mount one hell of a challenge to knock this king off his throne … assuming he chooses to stay there, of course. Given that the primaries are not too far off, the GOP isn’t exactly setting the world on fire with tough competition for him. Sometimes I think they’ve already conceded; none of the GOP candidates on deck strike fear in anyone’s heart! Each one of them is trying to out-insane their competition!
“Senator Calloway may consider tossing his hat into the ring for the Republicans at this late date if Neely bows out. But he can afford to wait four more years and take his chances against Daniel Rose. Hell, that’s been his plan all along!
“But he’s ready. He would be the strongest opponent if Neely leaves.”
“Yeah. These Tea Party suck-ups will wind up blowing each other up before too long—at least I hope so! And you didn’t hear me say that, John! But we know how the game is played in this town. The tides can change very quickly,” Marino said.
John nodded. “Let’s not forget we’ve still got a very dicey economic recovery going on now, and the Right’s well-oiled noise machine keeps singing the same fact-free tunes as always. There are a lot of people out there still struggling to make ends meet, and the job numbers aren’t all that great. This could be a big issue before too long.
“The posturing on the economy is in full-swing, and that’s going to play into a lot of fears, Bill. There’s a sizable number of loony Congressmen marching to the Tea Party band. Fact-free or not, they do have an agenda … consequences be dammed. They’re clearly not shy about hyping their message.”
Marino looked away as he considered Delaney’s observations. “Yeah. There’s already a boatload of resistance shaping up. Everyone on the Hill is going to want to have a say in how the legislative proposals play out, and the stronger Neely appears, the more crazed the opposition is willing to act! All of this kissy-face shit is great sound bite material, but I guess we’ll all have to reserve judgment for a bit.
“If Neely does bow out, that may very well throw the whole race wide open. But Jesus … this late in the game? The New Hampshire primary is what—ten months away? Who the hell is in position to take over on the Right?” Marino asked.
“Good question, although I’ll say again that I won’t rule out Calloway. I’m not sure Neely or any President would want to add to the economic chaos by bowing out … especially now! But he may not have much of a choice,” John noted.
“Rose is a big question mark for me, and at this point the Democrats don’t have anyone else waiting in the wings to jump in because they never planned on having to run another candidate. It’s a bit of mess, Bob!”
Marino motioned for the waiter to refill his drink once more, bristling at John’s concerns about the Vice President. John stared at Marino for an instant, but refrained from commenting.
“What’s wrong with Rose? Why don’t you think he’s got the stuff to run this country? You’ve been on his ass for a long time, and I’ve never understood why.”
It was no secret that Robert Marino was a staunch backer of Daniel Rose. His attachment to the Vice President had clouded his judgment on several prior occasions—an uncommon lapse. Fortified by several drinks, Marino struggled to conceal his anger.
“The Veep isn’t exactly a nobody in this town, John! His approval numbers suggest that I’m not alone in thinking he’s more than up to the task,” Marino said hotly, his voice rising above the din of the afternoon lunch crowd. Several patrons from nearby tables looked up. John motioned for Marino to lower his voice. With an angry wave of his hand to acknowledge the suggestion, Marino continued.
“Rose has been a major player for years as it is,” he added in a loud whisper.
“He won re-election the last two times quite handily, and he enjoyed a pretty goddamn good run as a Senator! They’ve been whispering his name as future President for more than a couple of years, now.” Marino’s defense of the Vice President was not lost on John, but the journalist saw no reason to provoke his producer. They had had this same argument on several previous occasions.
In John’s well-considered opinion, Daniel Rose was the embodiment of the overly packaged, slick politician—one who piqued the skepticism of any good journalist. Several contentious appearances on Politics From The Street when Rose was still in the Senate had not been forgotten by political observers—or Delaney.
John often stated privately that he did not think the Vice President was everything he either professed or appeared to be. His television commentary had been more circumspect in the past year than were his blog posts, but it was common knowledge that John Delaney did not share the majority view that Daniel Rose was one of America’s ablest politicians.
He could never articulate any specific chain of facts in support of this belief, but John learned years ago to trust his instincts. His long-held assessment that there was too broad a gulf between the public Daniel Rose and the authentic, private version of the man had not been swayed since Rose became Vice President. Although he acknowledged that the same could be said about many politicians, John felt that the distinction between the two personas was much more glaring with the Vice President.
“Rose is okay, Bob. You know I have some reservations about him. He’s not the worst thing that could happen to us!” John laughed in an effort to placate his producer.
“Geez, you’re all heart. That would make a terrific campaign slogan: ‘Vote for Daniel Rose. He’s not the worst thing that could happen.’” Marino gulped down the rest of his fourth scotch and frowned good-naturedly in his colleague’s direction. The two men shared a brief laugh as Marino signaled for the check.
“Seriously, Bob. You know the game. Lots of things can change very quickly if the major players get reassigned. Who knows how the V.P. would react if he has to run the show … and you can be sure I’m going to jump on a Daniel Rose candidacy pretty quickly. Since the rumors started I’ve been giving that a lot of thought.
“We don’t have much to go on, Rose’s many years as a Senator notwithstanding. In fact, I’m already thinking about running a series on him later in the spring. We’ll talk about that at some point. You can also be sure that I’m going to try and get him on PFTS next week if Neely does bow out.”
Marino stared at John for a moment. That could be a problem! Marino paused and shook his head almost imperceptibly, as if convincing himself not to pursue the topic.
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NOTE: Excerpts will be posted weekly throughout the summer except for next week. Taking a one-week break. Enjoy the holiday weekend
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* I invite you to enjoy this political fiction thriller [here]