The Da Vinci Clone (another Karl Rove adventure)
"Trumbull's Painting of an Imagined Signing of the Declaration hangs in the Capitol rotunda. Conkey's Tavern is below."
After our duck hunting trip with Dick Cheney, I hadn’t heard from Karl so my work for the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy (VRWC) had to take a backseat to writing reviews of American Idol. It hasn’t been a good couple months for Karl. The president’s approval rating dropped into the twenties, better than the Tele Tubbies but considerably lower than Jared from the Subway. Karl lost the policy part of his job. There’s also talk that Patrick Fitzgerald will finally indict him once the truth outs him. I thought I’d cheer him up, but even my little joke didn’t help.
KR: What the %$&!& ! CL, you can’t wear that in here.
Karl throws me into a closet in his pumpkin colored office. Not a lot of people know this, but lots of administration staffers have closets in their offices. David Dreier got the funding for them at the urging of Ken Mehlman.
CL: Karl, you told me you wanted some help with leaks so I came dressed as a White House plumber...And what the heck are you doing in bicycle shorts?
To be honest, if I live another forty years, I’d rather not see Karl Rove in bicycle shorts again.
KR: Since he hit the 30’s, all the President wants to do is go mountain biking at Camp David. I’m not sure what he’s putting in his water bottles these days, but he says let’s go for another ride in the park and never takes a road map. The ride never goes as planned, because there was no plan, no water, no spare tubes, no GPS, no understanding of the terrain, he turns an afternoon ride into a weekend of terrror and the whole time he’s shouting, “I’m the Decider. I’m the *%$(% Decider. I say we go this way.”
CL: No wonder he says that his best moment as president was catching the biggest perch ever caught in North America. Hey, I love mountain biking, maybe….
KR:Trust me, CL. You don’t want to have the president run over you and then have to apologize to him. Anyway, now he’s telling us he wants to go for another ride in the park in Iran. Duck hunting with the vice president is more fun.
CL:Has anyone seen Mister Heartbeat Away lately?
KR: He locks himself in his office sings his own lyrics to old Beach Boys albums on his mp3 player while shredding all his Joe Wilson notes. Last week it was,
Bomb bomb ba bomb,
Bomb Iran ooh ooh
Yesterday it was,
Venezuelan oil is rich
It’s just a coup away.
Gulf State regimes with that light clear Crude
I wish we could invade them all
But hate those IEDs
I can’t wait to go way up north
Before the Arctic refuge melts.
Wish they all could be Haliiburton Drills.
Wish the all could be Halliburton Drills.
CL: Whoo, glad he’s too old for next year’s American Idol audition. Soul Patrol, Soul Patrol.
KR: By the way, CL, you called thirteen people who voted for Democrats two years ago.
CL: They’re my friends. Isn’t there a thing called free speech?
KR: As long as there’s terrorism, how do you expect us to protect your precious freedoms with a first and fourth amendment standing n the way? And don’t talk to Elvis anymore.
CL:Karl, how is it you guys do all this information harvesting and you can’t find Bin Laden?
At that very moment, the red phone on Karl’s desk lit up and the Deputy Chief of Staff put the call on speakerphone.
Phone: Karl, you’ve got to come down to the National Archives immediately.”
We jumped on a pair of spare mountain bikes and slipped across K street towards the Archives. Fortunately, it was too dark for anyone to see me in my plumbing overalls and Karl in his bike shorts.
The NSA had sealed the main room of the National Archives. The body lay in the middle of the floor inside of a hand-painted circle. The dead man pointed a finger towards the original copy of the Declaration of Independence. Next to the body was a dry erase board on which the victim had written “Shay’s Rebellion” next to what appeared to be a random sequence of numbers.
CL: Mmmm….looking at the numbers, I’m pretty sure they refer to lines in some document.
KR Wow, CL.You’re quite the detective.
CL:Well unlike Dan Brown, I don’t have 476 pages for pedestrian dialogue and red herrings.
KR: So no albino monks from the ACLU?
Just at that moment, a female NSA agent with white-powdered wig and wooden false teeth appears.
CL: Are you here to advance the plot and provide me with a potential love interest?
SN: Hi, I’m NSA agent and cryptographer, Sally Nephew, the dead man happens to be my estranged grandfather.
CL: Why didn’t you speak for the last twenty years?
SN:He was a public servant and I saw him taking a bribe in a ceremony with a corporate fat cat.
KR: The National Archives was tied into the K Street Project?
SN:We were very close at one time and he used to teach me how to solve number puzzles.
CL:Can you solve this one?
SN:Yes, it’s a reference to the part of the Declaration that says “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” are inalienable rights.
CL: That’s the basis of the American way. I remember that people used to quote it all the time during the sixties.
KR:I must have missed that when I was in my room reading Ayn Rand and writing letters to Barry Goldwater on behalf of the YAF.
SN:You see where my grandfather wrote on the greaseboard, “Sally Unlock the Mystery to Happiness. You have the proof.”
CL: I first thought it was a reference to Sally Hemmings, the slave who was supposed to be Jefferson’s mistress.
SN: It’s a note for me. I'm sure of it.
CL: Little bit full of yourself aren’t you?
SN:The Lock is a reference to John Locke, the English philosopher whose words Jefferson used in the Declaration.
CL: And Locke didn’t write pursuit of “Happiness”, he wrote about the right of “Life, Liberty, and Estate.”
We look up and realize that Karl Rove has slipped out of the National Archives.
SN:Oh my God. The Declaration of Independence is missing! Karl Rove has stolen the Bill of Rights too.
CL:What do you mean, it’s right there under the glass case, where it always is. You’re turning this into some sort of bad Nicholas Cage movie. Besides, Karl wouldn’t steal or harm any of the documents that form our national heritage in any way.
SN: Not the version the public assumes. I’m talking about the real one.
CL: So it’s true that Justice Scalia really does have his own copy of the original Constitution?
SN: He shares it with Justice Alito now. Read the Garcetti case.
After a trip to a diner that sits on the original Mason-Dixon line in southern Pennsylvania, Sally and I find a clue there underneath the part of the menu that says “chicken-fried steak in white gravy”, something only served in the south. This eventually leads us to an old courthouse in Northampton, Massachussetts.
CL: So Jefferson’s real Declaration, read “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Property” not “Happiness”?
SN: Yes, there were several versions of the Declaration and multiple drafts, not all written by Jefferson. The real version, the one that was destroyed by the Jacksonian heretics was written by Adam Smith.
CL: So the true America is embodied in the “Wealth of Nations?” not the Viriginia Declaration of Rights.
At that moment, as we tried to pry open the door to the courthouse, I could hear a pin factory drop.
SN:America’s true heritage isn’t about “Liberty and Happiness” at all. Smith’s gospel is about freedom of contract and the invisible hand. Those are the real American values.
CL: And it was Smith who wrote “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Property”.
SN: Exactly, look at the original version of the Constitution itself.
CL: No direct elections of presidents or senators, only white male property owners voted, the document seemed to endorse slavery with provisions to count slaves as 3/5s of a person for census purposes. Actually the Bill of Rights isn’t a part of the main body of the document which is mostly a blueprint for regulating commerce between states.
SN: It’s not the America most Americans are led to believe it is.
CL:Which is why so many of them inadvertently quote the Declaration instead of the actual Constitution.
SN: Have you ever looked closely at Trumbull’s painting that hangs in the Capitol?
CL:You know it’s amazing how good your articulation is with those wooden teeth.
SN: It’s a picture of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, in a scene that couldn’t possibly have existed. All of those people were never in the same room on the same day. Look closely to the guy to the right of George Washington.
CL: Are you going to tell me that it’s Mary Magdalene?
SN: No, it’s not even Abigail Adams. It’s John Hancock, the richest man in New England.
CL: Sally, you’re sounding like Howard Zinn. You’re trying to tell me that the Declaration was written by and for a bunch of rich white guys in wigs.
SN:Actually, it’s Charles Beard, but do you see anyone else in that painting?
As we make our way into the courthouse in Northampton, we find ourselves face to face once again with Karl Rove who is now pointing Dick Cheney’s shotgun at us.
CL: Karl, does this mean all those writing assignments for the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy were just a ruse to get me here? Why did you steal the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights?
KR: Ordinary Americans must never know.
SN: Karl, I’m not giving you the proof.
KR:Your grandfather was one of us. He was taking a bribe that day to preserve the right to property and estate. That corporate fat cat was your long lost grandmother.
We’ve worked so hard to restore the Right to Life, Liberty, and no Estate Taxes, we’re not going to let you get in the way of the true Constitution and Declaration.
CL: I’m a little lost here, what are we doing in Northampton and what is it that Sally has that you want?
KR: Ask her about Conkey's Tavern and the Whiskey Rebellion?
CL:Karl could you change out of those bike shorts first? I thought you wanted me to make you sound funny and harmless.
KR:Shay’s rebellion was a group of farmers, many of whom had served in the revolution. They were going broke due to laws passed by business interests in the Eastern part of the state. The locals started refusing to send the farmers to debtors prison. Juries in courtrooms like this refused to enforce the law. Daniel Shays led a group of men into open rebellion against the United States then governed by the Articles of Confederation.
CL:Wow, Karl. You really are a student of history.
KR:You know what they called themselves….”the Regulators”. For 220 years, it’s been regulators and regulations that have inhibited the business interests of the true America. I’ve spent my life trying to stop the Regulators. When Shays’s men tried to raid the arsenal, the militia shot them. A few years later, the Articles were discarded and the Constitutional Convention was convened to ensure the sanctity of contract.
CL:But, wasn’t part of Shays Rebellion, the fact that the revolutionary war debt fell disproportionately on the little people, including the actual men who had fought the war?
KR:I know you’re a little slow here, but do you think anything ever really changes.
SN: And you didn’t just send us into Pennsylvania to trace the Mason-Dixon line?You wanted us in the Alleghenies, because I was the only one who would find the proof.
KR: If you remember the corn tax was imposed also to pay off the war debt. Naturally, the tax itself was designed to fall disproportionately on poor farmers and “small producers” of spirits.
SN: So they tarred and feathered a tax collector.
KR: Washington himself led an army, the first official American military action after the ratification of the Constitution, to put down this second rebellion. It taught them a lesson that if you wanted to change a law, just or not, you had to do so through peaceful means otherwise the Federal government would come shoot you.
CL: But how would you change a law if the laws were bankrupting you leaving you unable to hold property. And talk about separation between the military and the executive! Isn’t it true that you had to have property to vote in those days?
KR: We’re trying to restore that provision btw.
SN:So my Grandfather wasn’t taking a bribe, he was just continuing a big business ritual that made the Constitution and Delcaration possible in the first place.
KR: Exactly. So give me the proof he gave you that proves that you're direct descendant of George Washington.
SN: I am? But Washington had no biological children. He only raised Martha Custis’s grown children.
KR: Ever wondered how you go the name Sally? I didn't say you were descended through Martha.
SN: Oh my God, the father of our country was my great great great great grandfather! Well, I didn’t think it was a coincidence that they called that show “The Jeffersons”.
CL: Is this the part where we get to have sex? And what was that about anyway? Having Sex with Jesus’s direct descendant isn’t exactly a turn on.
KR: Even worse, think about the whole Merovingian thing. If they were Christ’s descendants, why did most of the Merovingian kings spent their entire reigns invading other realms in wars of aggression?
CL: Holy Roman Empire, Batman!
SN: Now it all makes sense. Of course, I’ll turn the proof over to you.
CL: Karl, I just never appreciated how deeply patriotic you are. You are a true believer in the real constitution and our great national heritage. You believe that property owners are the only people whose votes should count, you still support slavery, and you believe that war should be paid for in all ways by the common people sent to fight them.
SN:Yes and the proof isn’t a document, it’s a bottle of corn whiskey with an excise stamp embossed by Washington himself.
CL: I now understand how you are helping the President preserve and defend the true Constitution. When will you restore the phrase “pursuit of property” to the Declaration?
KR: The people must never know. That’s why I stole the original draft of the Declaration, I’m showing it to Patrick Fitzgerald. That’s what all those secret meetings have been about. I’m not being indicted at all. I’m getting a special American Heritage security clearance.
We all toast from the bottle of corn whiskey. I’ve never been prouder of my work for the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. Karl and I got our mountain bike ride in after all, but this time we knew exactly where we were going and what's in our water bottles. I now know what Strict Construction and Original Intent are all about.
Note: While I have read Dan Brown’s book, any resemblance to the Da Vinci Code is purely accidental. I’m certain that Mr. Brown understands how these sorts of things happen.
More Chancelucky's stories of Karl Rove