When the email “sent by a top aide to President Barack Obama” was revealed by CNN, I had to get Spin Doctor out to see if it had been copied from its pages. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. But when I showed it to my lawyer and demanded he prepare a lawsuit, he was confused. I realized, he didn’t speak High Bureaucrat. ne comprend pas–.no entiende–nicht verstehen
But he is not alone. CNN clearly couldn’t order a glass of water or get directions to the cinema. They have no idea what the email actually says. And now, I see the White House is accusing the GOP of “falsifying” emails. I know this is all just a misunderstanding based on difficulty with the language. And I realized– we simply need a translation.
So, I asked Bob and Jack, two characters from Spin Doctor, to translate: First I had to find them. It didn’t take long. Yes, of course.
There they were at the Grant bar in the back of the Old Ebbitt…
“Here. I’ll just read it out loud for you,” Jack took his phone back. “here’s the first part: Jack slid his Iphone over to Bob, who patted his pockets for a pair of reading glasses.
Sorry to be late to this discussion. We need to resolve this in a way that respects all of the relevant equities, particularly the investigation.”
Jack: “It sounds harmless, doesn’t it.”
Bob nodded. “ Nicely done. Let’s break it down into the individual idiomatic expressions:”
”Sorry to be late to this discussion:”
It means, “I have been reading the emails, watching everything you are saying and thought I better put a stop to this before anything more incriminating goes out.”
“We need to resolve this in a way that respects all of the relevant equities, particularly the investigation:”
Bob smiled. Good one. “In case this email is leaked, it is on the record that I am not trying to impede the investigation. In fact, that’s my cudgel to shut you up. “
“There is a ton of information getting out into the public domain from Congress and people who are not particularly informed.”
Jack leaned forward. “My turn—“The truth is getting out and it is drawing blood of the administration. Our adversaries are using it against us, making it look like we messed up.”
“Insofar as we have firmed up assessments that don’t compromise intel or compromise the investigation, we need to have the capability to correct the record, as there are significant policy and messaging ramifications that would flow from a hardened mis-impression.
Bob reached for his glass of Scotch, swirled the ice and took a reverent sip. “Really, if Shakespeare had been a politician, he couldn’t have done better than this one. I am thinking of doing this in needlepoint and hanging this on the wall.”
Jack nodded. “Or maybe make a pillow?”
Bob took another sip. “Yes, a pillow would be nice.”
Jack sipped his beer and sighed. “Here goes:”
“Insofar as we have firmed up assessments that don’t compromise intel or compromise the investigation—”
Bob started slowly, choosing every word. “This is the fig leaf we will use to stop others from poking around in this…The sand we throw in their eyes when they ask questions–sorry to mix my metaphors– And by constantly swearing to honor the investigation, I am protected from obstruction charges.”
“We need to have the capability to correct the record –”
After another sip, for strength, Bob went on: “We have to come up with an alternate story and stick to it–go out there and say it over and over to drown out the critics. By the way, if it is pure fiction, it doesn’t impact the intel or investigation.”
“… as there are significant policy and messaging ramifications that would flow from a hardened mis-impression.”
Bob waggled his glass at the bartender and drew in a breath. “There is an election going on and if the press starts listening to our critics and takes up the story before we have a chance to bat it down, we will be out of here on our skinny liberal asses, and the Philistines will be back–Sorry if that was a run on sentence, but there was a lot in it.”
“We will take this up tomorrow at deputies.”
Jack looked over at Bob, who was out of Scotch and mentally fatiqued. “I can do this one Bob. You don’t have to be fluent to get it–’Don’t send out any more emails on this. Stop now. I’m not putting anything else in writing and neither should you. I will tell you what to say tomorrow at the meeting, behind closed doors.’”
Bob nodded. “Amen. With truth and justice for all.”
“That’s it. Short and sweet.”
Bob leaned in. “Not quite. There is the other shoe. You know. What happened next.”
Jack said “I’ll bite. What do you mean? What happened next?”
“The meeting was on Friday, September 14th, right? Starting on the Sunday, the 17th, various officials starting with Susan Rice, and later, Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama, went out and told everyone about the video. Over and over again. No fingerprints. No incriminating emails.”
Jack frowned a moment, then nodded. “Oh, right. To make sure they didn’t “harden the mis-interpretation.”
Bob “That’s right. Just the truth. Good thing the truth will set you free.”
“Although, maybe not in this case.”
If you want to talk to Bob and Jack about this, I’m pretty sure they left the Old Ebbitt. First of all, they abhor tourists. No offense. Also, they heard someone say there was no “there” there, so they left.