I flew home to Florida for a visit this week and when I got to Lanskyland — which is what we connoisseurs of organized crime call Hallandale — I was amazed to find my father, the sainted “Che” Kahane, and my Uncle Joe both in tears in front of the television set. They were watching my president and yours, Barack Hussein Obama the Second, on a videotaped loop of his recent TV appearances on the Tonight Show, on 60 Minutes, and in the recent press conference. There he was, yukking it up with Jay Leno and Steve Kroft, flashing that Bobby Bonilla smile, and mesmerizing the media with his uncanny ability to read prepared remarks off the world’s largest flat-screen TV. It really is amazing what a smile, a shoeshine, and a teleprompter can do when they’re deployed properly in the East Room.
“I can’t believe it,” Uncle Joe was saying. “I can’t believe that I’ve lived long enough to see the President of the United States openly talking about nationalizing the banks and seizing the non-bank financial institutions. Is this a great country or what?”
“Isn’t it wonderful?” echoed Che. “And what’s even better, the EPA is proposing that we declare carbon dioxide a pollutant that can be controlled under the Clean Air Act. Can you stand it! Exhaling will either be taxable or illegal! Humanity is officially toxic.” They high-fived with joy.
Uncle Joe took a long sip of slivovitz. “And it’s not just us. A British fellow traveler — excuse me! I mean a ‘green adviser’ – named Jonathon Porritt has just scientifically proven, using the irrefutable tenets of dialectical materialism and a bunch of stats from Al Gore, that the U.K. has got to reduce its population to 30 million in order to be sustainable. As Stalin or somebody once said, the death of one man is a tragedy but the death of millions is a statistic. God, I loved that man . . .”
“And I love that word, ‘sustainable,’” said Che, reaching for the plum brandy, “because it really means, ‘doomed’!”
“Why, just the other day,” continued Uncle Joe, “some Democrat senator nobody ever heard of proposed ‘restructuring’ our state propaganda organs — excuse me! I mean our independent local newspapers — as non-profit organizations, so they can qualify for government tax breaks. Which means the New York Times can tell Señor Slim to go take a flying leap into the Gulf of Mexico!”
“As long as they don’t editorialize!” exclaimed Che, hurling his empty glass into the fake fireplace and rolling on the floor with laughter. The ‘Newspaper Revitalization Act’ — you can’t make this stuff up!”
The hilarity was contagious; on the screen, BO2 was giggling like a schoolgirl as he contemplated the dialectically predetermined wreck of capitalism, and was cracking wise about bowling like a Special Olympian. I made a mental note to find out who’s writing his material, because he needs some punch-up.
“At last,” said Uncle Joe, “our dream of belonging to the world’s largest socialist suicide cult is coming true. Imagine: We managed to take a legitimate political party and turn it into a criminal organization, with no one the wiser. Thank God for that boychik, Congressman-for-Life Barney Frank, pounding the table like a commissar and shouting at that boyar, Liddy, just like in the good old days back in the . . .” Uncle Joe puddled up again, and I could hear him humming the Soviet national anthem under his breath as he reached for the Jägermeister. “God, I love that man.”
My father stifled a sniffle. “Lansky, Luciano, Madden, Capone, and Costello would be so proud,” he muttered. “Talk about Legacy Time.”
I couldn’t stand to see grown men cry. “Guys,” I said, throwing down various recent issues of the New York Times, “I hate to break up the party, but we have a little problem.”
One of the first things you learn when you start an illustrious career like mine as one of the world’s foremost writers of gangster sagas (yeah, that’s me, uncredited, additional dialogue, on the new Johnny Depp/Dillinger picture) is that there’s no lower form of life than a rat. Not just a rat, but a really bad rat, the kind of rat you think is on your side until you find out at the end — when it’s way too late — that the dirty rat has been ratting you out all along, not only to the Law but to other rats, who are only too happy to see you go up the river so long as they can keep their nests well stocked with cheese.
Which was why I had brought along the cuttings from that rat’s nest known as the Times. For the past week or so, the paper’s cheese-eating elite columnists — Paul “The End Is Near” Krugman, Frank “Show Tunes” Rich, Tom “Me, Myself, and as I was saying to Sheik Abdullah just the other day” Friedman, and Maureen “[insert cheap pop-culture comparison here]” Dowd have been hammering away at our Historic First Black President as if they had “independent” reputations to uphold, or something. (Luckily Sen. Benjamin Cardin’s bill will put a stop to that!)
This is shameful. For us modern progressives, everything Obama does and says and thinks is historic, even if it’s just being the First Black President to conk his head while boarding Marine One, or mistaking a window for a door at the Oval Office, or running up trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, just for laughs. It’s unbelievable that they would round on the Dear Leader and Teacher like he was just another politician. As if America didn’t take the first, irrevocable step to Fundamental Change last November with the defeat of the Honorable Campaign and the Ascendancy of The One. Hey, New York Times — if the Supreme Court can follow the election returns, so can you!
My father and my uncle looked at the clips for a moment and sneered. “Drivel,” said Dad. “Crapola,” said Uncle Joe. “After all, we are Progress and the New Age. Nothing can stand in our way.” He got up and put on a Pete Seeger record: “If I Had a Hammer.”
I looked around the room, decorated so beautifully with the red flags, the inspiring socialist-realist posters featuring heroic images of attractive, armed peasants, our elegant, youthful president laughing his head off on the video screen. It all looked so wonderful: vivid images of the bright collective future into which we are being led.
Only one thing still bothered me. “Let’s see, how long did the Soviet Union last? 1922 to 1991 is . . .” I made a rough calculation in my head. “Sixty-nine years.”
“Almost to the day,” sobbed Uncle Joe, bowing his head in sorrowful remembrance. He and Che joined hands. “Hasta la victoria siempre,” they chanted.
“There is always a victory to be achieved.” Che Guevara’s old slogan. Terrific: In 2078, I’ll be 101 years old. So many victories to look forward to, and so much time.
David Kahane, for one, welcomes his new socialist overlords and looks forward to a shining future based on Fairness, Tolerance, Income Redistribution, and The Little Red Book of Barney Frank. You can join him for a rousing chorus of The Internationale at [email protected].