by Allan Uthman
note: The BEAST is proud to present here an exclusive rush transcript from a
recording of a White House ethics course conducted last Tuesday. Acquired from
a high-level source in the presidential custodial department, the tape has been
verified and the voices confirmed to be those of some of the president’s closest
advisors. The class was one of several ethics seminars conducted at the president’s
behest in response to recent polls indicating low public trust in the White
Okay, people, everybody settle so we can start. As most of you know by now,
my name’s Richard Painter, and I’ve been the Chief Ethics Counsel for the White
House since March. I know most of you don’t want to be here, but the president’s
asked me to refresh your memories on the subject of ethics and ethical behavior.
Hey, weren’t you the guy who “vetted” Bernie Kerik?
gee, that went well. We hired this guy?
He said it was okay that Scalia and I went duck hunting just before the big
energy commission appeal. He’s cool with me.
But—well isn’t that unethical?
to him. So we should be okay here.
right folks, let’s get started. I want to start small, and get a gauge on how
far we need to travel here. So we’ll begin with a simple scenario that shouldn’t
be hard for anybody. Let’s say you’re walking in the park and you see an unattended
infant in an old-fashioned buggy—
Karl Rove: Steal
the baby! Steal the baby!
Karl! That’s awful!
Rove: Do you
know how much you can get for a healthy baby?
Rice: Oh, you just want to sell it. I was worried there for a minute.
what kind of monster do you think I am?
Cheney: Is the
whoa, slow down everybody! I haven’t even finished the scenario! And no, Karl,
you do not steal the baby! That’s very, very unethical.
I’m learning already!
look in the baby’s buggy, and the baby has some candy.
Rice: What kind
of candy? I’m allergic to chocolate.
say it’s whatever kind of candy you like.
with Karl. Steal the candy.
agreement, long pause)
you guys putting me on? You really think that’s the right answer?
Well, what else? I mean you’re practically putting the candy in our hands here,
man, and I love me some Twizzlers.
Do you realize how easy it is to get candy from a baby? It’s a friggin’
cliché for easiness, for Christ’s sake! It’s got to be ethical, right?
no. Okay. No. (pause) Well, you’re wrong. It’s unethical to take the
candy. It doesn’t matter how easy it is. There’s no correlation between ease
and ethics. You can’t take the candy.
I am. Now. Why isn’t it ethical to take the candy?
on guys, somebody has to have a guess. Anybody?
your cholesterol is too high?
No. That’s not an ethical problem, that’s a personal health issue. Come on,
Rove: Oh! Oh!
Because the police are watching you! Right? Or a reporter! A reporter’s watching!
Karl. That’s not it. That wouldn’t be an ethical problem. That’s just self-preservation.
Shit, this is hard!
this sucks. I wish Scooter was here. He’d know, I bet.
Rove: Oh here
we go, Scooter, Scooter, Scooter. Dick misses his boyfriend.
“Oh, Scooter, how will I ever go on without you?”
Cheney: I can
have you killed, you fat hick.
Rove: Oh, whatever.
I could kill you with a fucking joy buzzer, big man.
enough, both of you! Do you want to have to repeat this class? (pause)
I didn’t think so! Okay, everybody settle down. How about you, Harriet? I bet
you know the answer.
I guess it would be wrong because—well, because it just is, you know?
The lord says “Thou shalt not steal,” and that’s good enough for me. It’s just
not right to take something that doesn’t belong to you.
enough out of you, mister. That’s very good, Harriet. Did everybody hear Harriet?
Stealing is ethically wrong.
it’s true; she’s a total suck-up! That’s the only reason she ever got nominated
in the first place!
Rove: Hey, you
guys shut up! Leave her alone!
looks like somebody’s got a crush on Harriet.
Rove: Shut up,
guys should get married.
too bad there’s not a judge around!
Burn! Good one, Al!
at least she’s a girl!
it! You guys are incorrigible! This whole exercise is futile!
are you, Maureen Dowd?
Rice: Stop it
guys, Harriet’s crying. I hope you jerks are satisfied.
just great. Come on, Harriet. Are you all right? What’s the matter?
Everybody’s just so mean!
Rove: You guys
are in for it now. You’ll see.
You’ll probably be in jail in a couple of weeks anyway. You think she could’ve
made it through a Senate hearing being that soft?
I’ve never heard her swear before.
Rice: Just leave
her alone! She’s right; you are a bunch of meanies.
Isn’t that why we’re here in the first place?
That’s why you’re here in this class. And that’s why you’re failing. Now, if
no—I mean, that’s why we’re here in the White House. Let’s face it—if
any of us had really acted—what was it?—ethically, we never would have
made it here in the first place, am I right?
Rove: He’s right,
you know. George is mad and all, but he would never have enjoyed the privilege
of tarnishing the executive office if we were nice guys. Hell, my whole career
is predicated on my special talent for shameless, craven smear tactics. What
the hell are we doing here, anyway?
wait just a minute.
Rice: I have
to say, I think they have a point there.
agree. You were right, Richard; this whole exercise is futile.
it doesn’t matter. The president said—
when do any of us give a shit what he says? This is stupid. I understand
you’re in a tough spot, Richard, but Dick’s right. Even if you were
somehow capable of turning us all into decent human beings, don’t you see, you’d
be crippling the entire administration! We’d all be paralyzed with remorse over
all the bad shit we’ve already done, and incapable of undoing it anyhow. And
who’d be left to run things? George?
I’d be a total mess over that “mushroom cloud” comment. (more laughter)
And Al, Al would be all racked with guilt about the torture…
Oh, and New Orleans, right? We’d all be screwed up over that. And the war, of
I mean, two thousand dead soldiers, and a hundred thousand Iraqis—it’d all be
way too much for ethical people. Plus, we’d probably have conceded the 2000
Rove: We never
would have even gotten that far. And the Swift Boat thing, I mean, that was
totally unethical. It really goes on and on. And does anybody here really
no! I’d say we’re all a shitload richer than we were at the start of this thing,
right? We got our war…
Cheney: My portfolio
is doing pretty fucking great, I have to admit.
So, again: what the hell are we doing here? Let’s just skip the whole deal and
get back to work, shall we?
on, people. I can’t just pretend you all passed.
you can, Richard. What, do you think George will figure it out? The guy wouldn’t
know a—what’s the word again?
The guy wouldn’t know an ethic if it crawled up his ass and set up a lumber
mill. He’s just wasting our time and yours, and jeopardizing the nation in the
process. In fact, I’d say that if you just let us go and give us good grades,
you wouldn’t only be helping your country, you’d probably even live through
the next week.
may not be ethical, Dick.
you trying to intimidate me?
exactly. Let me rephrase it: Let us go and give us perfect grades, or I’ll have
you killed before you can say “I’m a piece of shit lawyer whose death won’t
matter to anyone important.”
Rove: What do
you think, Painter?
just do as he says, Richard.
okay! I think we’re done! Everybody did great. Have a nice day now!
Rove: Good move,
buddy. Hey everybody, let’s go get some candy, what do you say?