Conversation in John Cornyn's Congressional Office, right after President Obama's announcement of his proposal to have a smaller government by combining agencies:
Cornyn: Yesterday, President Obama asked for a $1.2 trillion increase in the debt limit, Now he wants a smaller government
Boehner (smoking): John, I know. He said smaller. Trouble for us. That is our meal ticket. We need to come up with something.
Cornyn: Well we want to eliminate agencies. Whose our smallest government guy?
Boehner: Ron Paul is the shortest candidate, also wants to totally eliminate government.
Boehner: Well who's the next shortest?
Cronyn: I think it's Huntsman.
Boehner: But he's a Democrat.
Cronyn: I know. But he's under 6 foot. The rest are taller I think.
Boehner: Obama is tall. Good B-ball player too. And he smokes, too.
Cronyn: Like you. And thanks for stinking up my office. Let's forget the candidates for a sec. What can we do in Congress to derail this Obama shrinkage? Can we out-shrink him? Close some small agencies no one cares about?
Boehner: Not really, he just proposed that. He blocked us. I played the burdensome card, code for leaving any regulations in place. Maybe that will hold?
Cornyn: I dunno. We're simple folk down in Texas. Do you think that will help? Or will I have to try to explain why it's a good idea to take all the rules about scrubbers on coal-fired plants away? That makes pretty nasty air, even for Texas. And we are used to some pretty nasty air, let me tell you. Ever been to Lubbock?
Boehner: Can't say that I have. Air in Ohio is bad enough. If only I had thought ahead and lived in a nicer state when I was young. Someplace with beaches and conservatives, like Florida. Man, I would be able to maintain a great tan in Florida.
Cornyn: Tan, really? Can you stay focused for a moment?
Boehner (chain smoking a new cigarette): Sure, no problem. So, we'll reach out to the Times, they're always happy to print a one-hand-other-hand story that makes it seem like what we suggest is the same as what they suggest.
Cornyn: We got plenty of good ideas for shrinking government. Remember Reagan?
Boehner: Actually, I was just a state Rep then. If it hadn't been for good old Buz Lukins doing it with that minor, I would never have got out of Ohio and ridden the Gingrich Express. Good Times.
Cornyn: Well, Reagan understood.He had the big picture.
Boehner: But I thought Reagan actually grew the Federal Government and the national debt?
Cornyn: He was too clever to directly try to actually make the Federal government smaller. Instead he starved the beast by getting us to spend so much that now the Democrats will take the hit when they cut all those government programs people actually like, and depend on.Or at least the troughs they all feed from. After all, where do they think the food banks for the poor get the food? It's all about farm subsidies for the big, conservative farm-belt states. Where do people think all that Defense money goes? More to the conservative states than to the liberal ones. And don't even talk to me about the energy producers, like my beloved Texas. In fact, about 75 percent of red states that voted for Bush get more from the Feds than they send to Washington in taxes.
Boehner: Yea. But that was ages ago. What're the numbers like now?
Cornyn: Can't tell you. Besides, what's it matter. Fact is, we aren't going to shrink the government. Obama might, of course, but we won't let him. Republicans will stand as a man to make sure that never happens. We always have and we always will. Calling for cutting government is a campaign winner. But actually cutting? Don't be mad: programs that put money into your constituent's pockets isn't Republican politics.
Boehner: Too true. So what do we do about Obama's plan to combine agencies and save taxpayers money? He tacked on an up-and -down vote, too. And he wants consolidating authority! Last person that had that was Reagan. We can't let him have that.
Cornyn: If we're not careful, he might just do enough consolidation to cut government spending and save taxpayers money.
Boehner: Probably without an oil depreciation allowance.
Cornyn: Don't be cruel, or I will make fun of that eternal tan of yours.