The Final Word

It is with great sadness that I must write to tell you that M.C. Lewis passed away July 22, 2018 after a short and vicious fight with cancer.

Lewis did not go quietly into the good night poking the disease in the eye with every breath mustered as they went at it no less than four times before cancer winning in the fifth and final fight.

Lewis loved writing and loved writing to the people who liked the book. What Lewis loved most of all is the acceptance the fans had for the writing. And what Lewis would find mildly amusing is what I admit to you now.

M.C. Lewis was my best friend, my lover and my wife for nearly 30 years. Early in her writing career she made the tactical decision to write under a pseudonym of initials to mask her feminine name.  She never believed she would be readily accepted in writing in a male’s voice if she was open that her first name was Mary. You, her fans, accepted her writing openly sending queries, comments and requests to “Dear Mr. Lewis.”

Nothing pleased her more and for that, I, her husband, thank you.

When she passed away, she was still working on a prequel to “Spin Doctor” based on the main players there. It is about 80 percent finished and if I can find the right ghost-writing help, we’ll make sure it sees the light of day.

Her full obituary, with details about her life and where the writing came from, will appear tomorrow in the Baltimore Sun and possibly the Annapolis Capital.

We all have multiple pages in our lives and when Mary turned hers to this, nothing made her happier. When you honored her with your love and respect, nothing made her smile more. For that, my children and I thank you.

I am only sorry the pages ended way too soon.

Randall D. Fisher


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Tips from Bob on the #DemDebate #Drinkinggame

In the back room of the Old Ebbitt, Jack and Evan hurried through the door and took their places next to Bob at the bar.

Evan pointed at the closest beer tap and while the bartender filled the glass, he said to Bob, “I can’t believe you wanted to watch the debate tonight.”

Bob eyed him over the top of his glass of Scotch.

“I’ll have one beer with you, then I’m out of here.” The bartender slid over the beer and Evan picked it up with both hands. “I would rather watch the Redskins get killed again.”

Jack nodded. “Yeah, Bob. I don’t get it either.”

“No, apparently you don’t. This is going to be better than “Breaking Bad.” Hell, better than Shakespeare.”

Evan and Jack stared at him.

“Lincoln Chaffee and Bernie Sanders will both channel Don Quixote and we will watch them, much as we look into faces of some of the early contestants on “American Idol,” to see what on earth they could be thinking? How did these people get on that stage? Did their mothers praise them too much? Do they have an undiagnosed brain tumor? How can they have so little self-awareness?

“And what about O’Malley?” Bob slipped off his stool and held on to the bar. “Will he be able to keep a straight face while bragging about his fabulous record in Maryland, where even the Democrats have contempt for him?”

Jack nodded. “Is Jim Webb, former Secretary of the Navy, going to sit there and smile at Hillary Clinton, or is he going to rip into her for jeopardizing lives with her criminally negligent handling of classified data? ”

“That’s the idea.” Bob climbed back on the stool.

“So Hillary has done debates before. I can’t watch that.  I’m going to get the check.”

Bob shrugged. “Yes, and she’s awful. She has to go off script. Hillary ad-libbing. It does sound a little painful, but think of the drama. We could be seeing the end.  Are you going to miss that?”

“I don’t know. Maybe if Biden was there,“ Jack sighed.

“Biden? Oh, it’s all about Biden.” Bob sipped his drink through a sly smile. “Biden is going to be there alright.”

“What have you heard? Biden is coming?”
“If  Hillary implodes, he is going to step in her expensive designer heels faster than you can say “What difference does it make?””

Evan put his beer down. “So you think he’s running?”

“This is what he’s waiting for. This and the Benghazi testimony. If she fades, he will step over her corpse. Her organization will surround him and the  Obama people who have been recalcitrant will rush to his side.” He swirled the ice and waved to the bartender.

“Okay. Let’s get another round. We have to figure out the #drinkinggame.” Jack  pulled out his phone. “I’ll check Twitter. Get ready.”


Update 9:44: Ok, gang. Climate change. Go. No wait. “Free.”

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Obama Doctrine Script Revealed: Vladmir, You are in Time Out!

NovelPolitics stopped by the State Department a few days ago and found some highly classified information left in the cafeteria. This document had hummus and also some grains of rice stuck to the edges. Yes. It was in the trash. But it was on top. Just so you know, we take state secrets very seriously.

At first, I thought it must have been misrouted from the State Department Montessori Child Development Center. If you have ever been to a restaurant with annoying children at the next table and ineffectual parents. . . Surely this could not be the basis for our foreign policy?

Did it come from the State Department or the White House? Should I shred it? Let me know what you think.

Talking Points for Phone Calls

with certain problem leaders:

  • Stop it.
  • Stop it right now.
  • I mean it.putin wink
  • If you don’t stop it, (angry face. It doesn’t matter that it is a phone call- Consider calling in press for a photo op).
  •  Seriously, I’m getting mad. You need to stop it.
  • What would your Aunt Angela and Uncle David say?
  • Oh. They don’t care? Really.
  • Yes. I know Uncle François loves you no matter what.
  • Well, it doesn’t matter. I’m just going to tell you, and this is the last time, to stop it.
  •  Okay, I’m trying to understand why you are doing this. Are you angry about something?
  • What? You didn’t start it?
  • Is that true?
  • Well, you still need to stop it.
  • STOP IT.
  • You see this red line across(fill in blank)? If you don’t stay on your side, well, let’s just say, there will be consequences.
  • No, of course I won’t touch you. That would be wrong.
  • But you do need HEY, STOP THAT!
  • Okay, I am going to go play a round of golf, because, frankly, you have stressed me out.
  • When I get back if you haven’t stopped it, I’m going to be mad. (Pause)Really, really  mad.
    • Really, really  mad.
    • I’m not kidding.
    • I mean it.

If matters escalate, as G7 approaches, go to the following:

  • You need to leave circle right now and think about what you have done.

Please see tab B for assurances to allies that you will stand with them no matter what*.

*Unless there are problems.



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Bob and Jack Translate the White House #Benghazi Email

In case you missed it the first time…


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…

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2014 Predictions from NovelPolitics

Sometime in the Spring, or maybe as early as the State of the Union, or maybe five minutes from now, the Obama Administration is going to come out with a new narrative. So buckle up, Republicans. Democrats, you can breathe now.

We found out what is in store for 2014 when we overheard Jack and Bob this morning, in their usual spot in the back bar of the Old Ebbitt Grill.Old Ebbitt

Jack slid his bar stool back and climbed on. Bob was already there, of course, and pointed at the bartender, then Jack.

Without a word, the bartender brought over two egg nogs. “On me,” he said

Jack thanked him. Bob nodded, with a weak smile. “What the hell is that?” he whispered to Jack.

“Egg nog. It’s good for you.” Jack took a sip. “Evan’s not coming. He said he was out late.”


“I know. I don’t believe him either. He seems so worried about the coming year, you know? What do you think will happen, Bob?”

“You aren’t serious. Surely the Spin Doctor knows. Surely you can read this like a slow pitch curve ball.”

“Okay. Here’s the Obama spin: “The economy is looking stronger than ever. The patient was gravely ill, curled up in a ball, unconscious under the front porch when the Obama administration took over. After a strong dose of shovel ready projects, and binge spending, finally the eyes are open. Look, the unemployment rate is down to 7%. Wow. Bet it goes into the sixes before the election.”

“Now, imagine Beyonce singing that.” Bob took a sip of his scotch and drained the glass.


“Exactly. Nobody look at that swelling non-participation in the economy—which puts the unemployment rate closer to 10 percent. Or the number of folks on food stamps…”

“Yeah, yeah. Whatever. Bla bla bla.”

“Agreed. But what about Obamacare? No way to spin that.”

Bob blinked. He watched the bartender at the other end of the bar and quickly poured his egg nog into Jack’s glass. Then he waved the bartender and waggled his scotch glass. “Listen.” He said to Jack. “Pay attention…Obamacare is really going to work. Look at all the people who signed up. Wow. And don’t worry–all of the mandates are going to be delayed. It won’t be so strong. Put it in some cocoa, or maybe a fruitcake, like brandy, if you don’t like it straight. Over time, you will get used to it. And besides, don’t you care about people? Do you want people to be sick?”


The bartender put a fresh scotch in front of him. He smiled and went on. “Now, imagine Matt Damon and George Clooney lecturing you about that. Oprah agrees. And, Beyonce is singing in the background.”

Jack squinted at him, slowly nodded and sipped the egg nog.

“See, you are already forgetting that you used to have a policy you liked, that children were covered under a special policy, that the poor had Medicaid and the elderly had Medicare.”

Jack shrugged. “Yeah, yeah. Whatever. What about the Republicans? They have a lot of other issues.”

“Sure. But don’t forget, the press is busy squirting gasoline on the bonfire of Republican disunity to stop them from making some of these rather obvious points.”

Jack frowned. “I’ll give it a try. The message of Benghazi, that an inept administration with a low priority on national security and security in general screwed up royally then covered up. Yes. Covered up the mess before the election. Cover up Cover up Cover up. I said it.”

“Aha. Yes. But did you overstep? Where’s the smoking gun?”

Jack shook his head. “Nice try. What about the IRS? How the IRS has been used as a tool to silence opponents of the administration. How the press accepts the bromides of the regime that both sides were scrutinized without blinking. How this scrutiny continues…”

“Oh sure. I know it reeks of Nixon but hey, they won’t get that far with it because the Democrats will come back with what they like to call the wingnut mocking gambit.”


“Sure. Right now, they are scouring the countryside for a fringe Republican who will make an inflammatory comment about women. Rape, if at all possible. So they can push the buttons of the legions of young women who vote on one issue. They will find someone to mock, and the mocking will spread to the rest of the party. Some Republicans will disavow, some will try to explain, but meanwhile, everybody stops talking about Obamacare and Benghazi.”

Jack sighed. “I have to admit–it has a familiar ring to it. So, will the Republicans be able to take the Senate? What is your call?”

“Hey, don’t ask me what the people are going to do. Politicians I can figure out. The people? We will have to wait and see.”

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Bob and Jack Translate the White House #Benghazi Email

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.

2011-08-20_17-39-58_421There 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 16th, 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.

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Washington is NOT BROKEN

Old EbbittThree characters  from my novel Spin Doctor, Bob, Jack and Evan met it the backroom bar at the Old Ebbitt earlier today. The TV was tuned to the Sunday morning shows, Meet the Press, to be exact:

“…Washington is broken…”

Evan shook his head. “ This is so wrong.”

Bob put down his glass. “What are you talking about? Did they run out of bar snacks?”

Evan nodded at the TV. “No. Washington is broken. Didn’t you hear?”

“Bull…” Bob stopped himself, looked around and went on in a softer voice: “Washington is not broken. Washington is working perfectly.”

Jack leaned in. “Um. Bob. Have you been out of town? The Sequester? Hello, hello? Earth to Bob.”

Bob took a sip. “Funny. Yes, I know.” He drained the glass and waved to the bartender. “What amazes me is that nobody has read the damn Constitution. Nobody has read James Madison. Washington isn’t supposed to make fast laws. Not supposed to make policy like cars coming off the assembly line …”

Jack and Evan looked at each other. Jack lifted his beer, tasted it and eyed Bob. “Come on. We aren’t supposed to have gridlock.”

“Oh really? Why do you think we have gridlock? You know, you guys scare me sometimes. We have all these newbies that come to Washington, but you two live here. You are supposed to be pros.”

Evan and Jack stared at him in silence.

“Let me explain to you. We have the President. He thinks he has a mandate. He believes in whatever he is saying and is trying to get his way. He’s gone in three and a half years, with a little time at the end, maybe one to two years where his power will leak out like Huck Finn’s bag of cornmeal with a hole in it.’

The bartender slid a glass in front of him, he sipped, and went on: “So then, you have the House. It turns out they just got elected t00. Every one of them, in each little Podunk district. And guess what? They are already running for reelection. They don’t have time to make friends or eat lunch. The new ones are trying to learn while looking like they know everything, when they don’t actually know the difference between GSA and GAO. They don’t know who they can trust so they trust nobody. “

Another sip. Bob nodded at Evan. “And then there’s the Senate. They are there six years, so they get to know each other. Some of them even have friends who in the other party.”

Evan straightened up and faked a yawn. “Bob, thanks for the civics lesson but what the hell does this have to do with anything? How does that have to do with the Sequester?”

“Okay, don’t get me wrong, I know the Sequester sucks as a law. But it is where we are. There is no consensus. It is the job of the House to reflect their constituency and to throw themselves in front of a policy they think their folks will hate—raising taxes. The President’s job is to push his agenda. He’s doing that. And the Senate, they are supposed to be reflective and look at the big picture, the precedents, the long term effect. Most of them have been there a few years, so they should know a little history, know how things work. And if something is especially bad, they have the filibuster.”

Jack leaned in: “That’s nice Bob. You are basically saying you think gridlock is okay.”

“No I’m saying there is gridlock because there is no consensus. Nothing wrong with the system. Remember, the alternative to gridlock is to just go along with everything.”

Evan shook his head again. “What about national security? If we can’t get this resolved, I mean, I think we could have a major problem there.”

“So do I. But that isn’t because Washington is broken. It’s because of policy failures. It’s because of inept governing. There is no law we can pass that will protect against bad policy.”

“What’s the answer then,Bob?How is it going to turn out?”

“The polls tell the President he has support. Congress hears from folks back home that they better not capitulate. When those two facts change, either the President’s poll numbers or  the situation in various districts, we will get some motion. Is the economy getting better? Will the cuts really hurt? Will Obama lose credibility by claiming he has to beach aircraft carriers? Will the six Democratic Senators in Romney states who are running  in ’14 feel the love from their state? .  Hard to say.  Meanwhile, let’s get another drink.”


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Hagel: Are we there yet? Or, can you teach a cat to ride a bicycle?

When I first blogged about the Hagel nomination weeks ago, I flagged it as upcoming drama. Now, some of you might be wondering if this movie is ever going to end. I have been working on my next book, Potomac Lights, and this nomination is very distracting. I asked one my characters, Bob Carson, what he thought of the nomination, and as is typical of Bob, mincing no words, he said it was a terrible idea because you “can’t teach a cat to ride a bicycle.” I think he is trying to say that apart from politics and feelings about Israel, Hagel doesn’t seem to have the managerial experience or the temperament to run a huge and complicated agency focused on our safety, with millions of lives at stake.

Bob is a minor character, so you don’t have to take him seriously. But if you like to read about Washington politics with no particular political leaning, you might check out my novel Spin Doctor.

This is not my cat.

This is not my cat.

I digress. Here are some developments since my last post:

Fifteen Senators have written Obama, asking him to withdraw Hagel’s nomination. Since they are all Republican Senators, this is as likely to impact the White  House as would the certain knowledge that it is snowing somewhere in Alaska.

Bob Woodward reported last Sunday that some Democratic Senators have called the White House to ask if they are going to withdraw Hagel. And the White House swears they won’t. Of course, that’s what they all say, right up until they withdraw it.

B’nai B’rith , a liberal leaning “global voice of the Jewish Community” published a statement voicing serious concerns about Hagel.

What we don’t know is whether any Democrat has called  the White House and told them they are not getting their vote. Unless some Democrats break rank, he’s going to be confirmed.

A few days ago,  Sen. Richard Shelby announced he would support the nomination, saying “  He’s probably as good as we’re going to get.” In other words, any choice by this administration is going to preside over the dismantling of Defense and gouging of the DOD Budget. Does it really matter whether it is done in an orderly way? Good question.

That’s bound to be the conclusion of a lot of Senators who might not be thrilled with the nomination. Reality is, there is only so much the minority can do. They have done a very good job of slowing it down and calling attention to it.

Now it is up to the Democrats. They will have to consider if they really want to win this one, whether they will be prepared to take responsibility, to pay the price of having a Hagel at the helm if we face a national defense crisis in the next four years.

They may have another cloture vote this week. It sounds like  they may get enough votes to confirm.

And if he is confirmed, we will soon find out if a cat can ride a bicycle.

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Why did they move up the Hagel Cloture vote?

I’ve scanned several articles to get an idea why they moved up the Hagel cloture vote to this afternoon instead of Friday. So far, I didn’t find the answer, I will make a guess. It appears the Republicans and Democrats have finally found something to agree on: Take Friday off and Leave Town.

OH, no no no, you say. They will be in Session tomorrow.

Yes, but will there be votes? I don’t think so.

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The Plot thickens: Cloture vote on Friday?

Harry Reid has called the hand of the Republicans, moved for a cloture vote Friday. A vote for cloture isn’t a vote on the nomination—“an up or down vote”–it’s a vote on whether they should   vote on the nomination.

So Reid is trying to force a vote. But really, what is going on?

The Republicans are messing with Hagel and the White House. Sen. McCain says he won’t support a filibuster, now he’s not so sure. Same thing with Hatch and probably several others. Hagel is stonewalling on providing some financial info and other answers, so they are making him wait. Just to squirt a little gasoline on the fire, a few days ago, Dick Cheney laid out his stark view  that Hagel was chosen so that Obama would “have a Republican that he can use to take the heat for what he plans to do to the Department of Defense.” Ouch. So the GOP is not going to play along, but is going to try to showcase what they will say is the destruction of our national defense.

For Hagel, it has to be humiliating.  Only two votes from your own party? Those who know you best turn their back?

If  Hagel can’t get sixty votes–cloture– on Friday, surely the White House  will have to withdraw the nomination.

If he gets the sixty, he will be confirmed, of course, but he will be missing a chunk out of his hind quarters.

Still time to vote in my poll!

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