A phone rings.
Addiction studies institute, may I help you?
“Yeah, I’d like to talk to someone about a habit I’m having a hard time kicking.”
You can speak with me, sir. I'm here to help. What’s the trouble?
“Well, I’m afraid I might be addicted to being governor. Governor of Iowa.”
Uh, well, I see. Isn’t that up to the voters?
“Oh, they won’t stop me. They never stop me. They love me! Or like me. Or find me completely acceptable. In any event, I'm undefeated, although the people who ran against me haven’t exactly been political titans. The last guy was like some evil genius double agent sabotaging his own governorship from the inside. It was nuts. So I just keep winning and winning.
“I love Iowa so much. But is it possible to love something too darn much?”
Yes. Yes it is. Have you ever tried quitting?
“Sure, I served four terms and then gave it up, cold turkey. I got some ‘executive power patches’ from the National Governor’s Association for those times when I got cravings to veto something, mobilize the National Guard, etc. I was president of a medical school, so I had a really big desk, which helped. And people still called me governor, which was nice.
“But then my so-called friends begged me to come back and save the party from some crazy Dutchman. They pulled me back in. And I won, of course. I always win.
“The plan was to put an elder statesman’s steady, but presumably temporary, hand on the tiller to right our ship of state in turbulent times. But then I got in there. I started cutting budgets and issuing executive orders and clashing with union bosses. I was vetoing fuzzy-headed liberal stuff like tax credits for the poor and handing out big ‘oil business incentives and holding lofty policy summits. It was like, bang! The adrenaline kicked in. I’m back!
“And now I’m the longest-serving governor ever, right? Pretty sweet. Then I read online about this guy in New York, George Clinton, who served as governor from 1777-1795 and again from 1801-1804. That’s 21 years! But hey, I figure the states weren’t even technically united yet, so he doesn’t really count, right?”
Yeah, he sort of does.
“You’re not helping!
“Anyway, now I’m raising big bucks and getting ready to run for a sixth term. Six! I’ve been in office 6,542 days already. If I win, a 30-year-old guy who voted for me in 1982 will be on Medicare by the time I leave office. I’m humbled that the voters admire my hardworking consistency, but jeez Louise, would some change kill ya? If Sen. Tom Harkin and I run and win in 2014, together, with Sen. Chuck Grassley, we’ll have won 96 years in office between the three of us? Seriously?
“I love that my party has such loyalty and confidence in me. But come on, folks. Where’s the ambition?”
Have you thought of doing something else?
“Sure. I considered mounting an effort to remove Illinois from the union. Don't get me started. I thought about opening a factory that makes those big ribbon-cutting scissors. You’d be shocked at the lack of craftsmanship in today’s ceremonial scissors. I’ve also pitched my memoirs. But just when I get to the dramatic part about phasing out the property tax on industrial machinery and equipment, it seems like publishing agents always get emergency text messages. Odd.”
Maybe the other party will field a strong candidate and beat you.
“Oh, man. Coffee just came out of my nose. Straight out of my nose! You gotta warn me. That was hilarious.”Well, look on the bright side. So you win. It’s just four more years. Get it out of your system. It’s not like you’re going to run for a seventh term, right? Heh, heh. Right? Hello? Hello?”