Playing Poker at the Watergate

Playing Poker at the Watergate (Oil on Velvet)
From the Collection of the U.S. Congress
Scandals are nothing new here or abroad - although the French and British seem to have more interesting ones. Theirs usually involve sex or bondage or crossdressing, sometimes even spies. The American scandal is almost always about money or being drunk. We've always been a rather puritan nation.

When "war hero" Duke Cunningham fessed up to his hand-in-till adventure he did it with tears, confessions to what a bad man he'd been, and acting like disgraced evangelist Jim Bakker. The only thing he didn't throw in was curling into a ball and screaming like a little girl before being manacled and perp-walked away. True, it was about money, but at least he gave a respectable comedy performance.

Now, it turns out that Duke's story still had some telling to be done. Not only was he taking bribes, it turned out he was possibly involved with bipartisan poker parties and hookers.

Finally, a hint of sex. We may catch up to the Brits and Frenchies yet.

This new episode of Watergate 2: Revenge of the Felons took place at the Watergate hotel - which is apparently rated Five Stars by the American Asshats Association (AAA) to draw this kind of return business. No dull plumbers breaking into offices this time. Instead, the pols, pimps, and prostitutes sat around playing poker like the dogs in that famous painting done in the Velvet Elvis style. A few even snuck off for a little personal Viagra testing (BuY IT CHeAP FroM COMPLeTELY LEgal MExICAN PHARmACIES!) in the back room.

It was also the nexus of a game of Six Degrees of Porter Goss. When the hooker allegations broke, Porter decided it was time to quit. No one knows the reason for sure, and we wouldn't want to speculate, but....

Some think he didn't get along with his boss John Negroponte. Others speculate his touchy-feely, John Bolton-like management style - and subsequent loss of 300 colletive years of CIA intelligence experience - might be at the core. Still others think he was frustrated at being stymied in his reform efforts, apparently thinking he was the second coming of Donald Rumsfeld and beyond reproach no matter how badly he cocked things up.

But, the juiciest idea might be that his Number 3 spymaster went agamblin' and ceegar asmokin' at the Watergate, a bad place for a spy to be caught having a night on the town. Of course, the Bigs in Washington - smelling a little like the garbage rubbing off on their Armani poker playing ensembles - have closed ranks. "Nothing to it," they say. "It was just like a big frat party," they babble like Duke lacrosse players. "Hookers? Really? I'm truly appalled."

It's early yet and the wind(bags) is blowing a little too hard to smell the smoke, but if the past few months are any indication, we can probably assume there's a least a small fire smoldering in the Watergate's Bill Clinton Memorial Cigar Suite. We heard the same "nothin' to it denials" about Tom, Scooter, Karl, Duke, and Team Abu Grahaib and look what happened.

My only hope is that this scandal is the one that'll break big. There's a long, hot, global warming-induced summer coming and I need a good beach read. Maybe they'll hire Dan Brown to write the inevitable Congressional Report - The Scandal Code.

Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Saturday, May 06, 2006

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