brucekluger.com

    The Los Angeles Times, March 14, 2010

    Opinion
    D.C.'s Self-Help Solution
    There's plenty of reading material to flesh out the script on bipartisanship.

    By Bill Persky and Bruce Kluger


    After a year of contentious infighting, bitter feuds
    and stalled legislation, President Obama has taken
    a new tack in his attempt to achieve bipartisanship
    on Capitol Hill, forcing face-to-face negotiations with
    his staunchest critics. Since January, Mr. Obama
    has convened his political foes in a variety of
    settings, trying to persuade even one Republican to
    cross over—but to no avail.

    Still, if Washington is serious about healing its
    divisions, perhaps there's an easier solution.
    Maybe if the president and his enemies met at a
    well-stocked bookstore in D.C. and simply read
    titles to one anotherin the "self-help" aisle and
    from a few neighboring shelvesthey could finally
    find a way to dialogue

    President Obama: “Let’s Start Talking.”

    Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.): “No.” “I Don’t Want to Talk About It.”

    Obama: “What Does That Mean?” “Focus on the Positive.” “Have a Little Faith.”
    “You Can’t Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought.”

    McConnell: “Yes I Can.”

    Obama: “Don’t Be So Defensive.” “Why Can’t We Get Along?”

    Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio): “Now, That’s a Good Question.”

    Obama: “Come On, People.” “Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play.” “What’s the Bottom
    Line?” “What’s Making You Angry?”

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.): “I’m Not Mad, I Just Hate You!”

    Obama: “Are You Kidding Me?” “What Did I Do Wrong?”

    Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine): “He’s Just Not That Into You.”

    Obama: “I Hear You, But...” “We’re All in This Together.” “How Can I Get Through
    to You?” “What Can I Do To Help?”

    McConnell: “Quit Your Job and Move to Key West.”

    Obama: “Not a Chance.” “Nothing’s Impossible.” “Everything is Negotiable.”

    Snowe: “Maybe Yes, Maybe No.”

    Obama: “Good Grief.” “Are You Really Listening?” “What’s Eating You?” “What Are
    Your Goals?

    Boehner: “Telling Lies.” “Playing Dirty.” “Whining.”

    Obama: “That’s Not What I Meant!” “Help Me Understand.” “What’s the Big Secret?”

    Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.): “I Am Right, You Are Wrong.”

    Obama: “Who Said So?”

    Leiberman: “My Mother Always Used to Say...

    Snowe: “Don’t Blame Mother!”

    Obama: “How Can I Get Through to You?” “What Do You Want From Me?”

    Lieberman: “I Want More of Everything.” “I Want it Now.”

    Obama: “Stop, You’re Driving Me Crazy!” “Why Is It Always About You?”

    Lieberman: “My Mother Always Used to Say That, Too.”

    Snowe: “Stop Obsessing!”

    Lieberman: “Mind Your Own Business.”

    Obama: “Calm Down!” “Tell Me the Truth.” “What Do You Really Want?”

    Snowe: “I Want To Change But I Don’t Know How.”

    Obama: “That’s a Great Answer.” “Stop Being Manipulated.” “Be Yourself.” “You’re
    Gonna Make It!

    Snowe: “How Do You Know?”

    Obama: “Trust Me."

    Boehner: “Uh-Oh.”

    Obama: “The Choice Is Yours.” “Let Yourself Go.”

    Snowe: “Could It Be This Simple?”

    Obama: “Life Is Simple!” “Fear No More.” “You Can Be Happy No Matter What.”

    Snowe: “I Think I Can, I Know I Can!

    McConnell (to Snowe): “Girlfriend Please! Snap Out of It! He’s Not Worth It!”

    Snowe: “But I Love Him.”

    Obama: “Yes!”

    Boehner: “Uh-Oh.”

    Obama: “I Love My Job!” “Yes We Can!

    McCain: “I Hate Your Guts.”


    Bill Persky is a producer-writer-director whose credits include “The Dick Van Dyke
    Show,” “That Girl” and “Kate and Allie.” Bruce Kluger is a writer and Bill Persky fan.