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Jewish World Review March 13, 2002 / 28 Adar, 5762

Art Buchwald

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Shadow government in the sandbox | As you are reading this column, there is a "shadow government" somewhere in the bowels of the mountains of Maryland, where people are stationed to keep the country going in case of nuclear war. I'm not sure how long these officials have to remain underground, but it is the toughest job in the country.

This is what it must be like:

The officials are having dinner in their cave.

Marty Muggeridge says, "I am supposed to be the shadow president this week."

Hal Haige says, "It's my turn. You were president last week."

"No one ever lets me be president," Gonbalt says. "I'm tired of being the shadow environmental Cabinet officer."

Hogan, the standby homeland security director says, "I want everyone to be stripped before I allow them into the cave."

The standby attorney general says, "I want to practice military tribunals, just in case. If I ever have to be the real AG, I'm going to take away all the people's rights."

While they are eating, Artie Bear, the backup secretary of defense, comes in the room and says tearfully, "Someone has been sleeping in my bed."

The ersatz secretary of the treasury says, "And someone was eating out of my bowl."

The substitute secretary of state says, "Someone has been sitting in my chair."

The stand-in attorney general says, "This is a case for the FBI."

The surrogate CIA head chimes in, "We have a tip that it is Goldilocks, the shadow secretary of labor."

The substitute AG says, "Let's round up anyone in the cave who looks suspicious."

Nancy Hubbard, the backup national security director says, "I went to the cupboard this morning and it was bare."

The alternate OMB director says, "There was nothing in the budget for the cupboard. You should have stocked it with pork."

One of the shadow White House officials says, "We're not supposed to do anything until the balloon goes up. But there is no reason why we can't practice damage control."

"How can we have spin if we don't have a press secretary?"

"I'm here," a man at the end of the table says. "I can give you all the spin you want."

As the shadow men and women are talking, someone enters the cave. The secretary of defense asks the secretary of state, "Who is that?"

"Beats me. I never saw him before in my life."

The shadow homeland security director says, "I better keep an eye on him."

The pseudo-secretary of agriculture says, "He looks exactly like Vice President Cheney."

It is Vice President Cheney," the substitute secretary of the treasury says.

"Then what is he doing down here?"

The CIA man replies, "They want him out of sight, and what better place than with the shadow government?"

Haige says, "If the real vice president is here, then I can't be the shadow vice president."

"You can be the shadow secretary of commerce."

Haige says, "I'm always getting the wrong end of the stick."

Comment on JWR contributor Art Buchwald's column by clicking here.

03/07/02: The Way It Is
03/05/02: Not telling the truth
03/01/02: Book flogging
02/27/02: The players are mad

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