Although falling ratings have put "I Love Barry" into syndication, some lucky cable TV subscribers still can view the rollicking situation comedy about the bumbling but lovable chief executive. The latest episode, "Barry Learns to Compromise," opens as usual in the White House living quarters. President Barack Obama is dozing in the Lincoln Barcalounger.
Michelle: (Enters, stage left, and hollers, as she starts every episode) Barry! BARRY! BAAAARRRY! (moderate laugh track for this standard beginning)
Barack: Wha …? Could have been much worse … uh … harsh rhetoric … uh … Got OBL … uh … Oh! Honey! I was just contemplating economic policy and … (laugh-track chuckles)
Michelle: (Sitting on the arm of the chair, papers in hand.) I'll give you economic policy! I've been going over our household budget, and you're overspending. Look at these items: green fees, basketball sneakers, bowling lessons, beer. … You've got some explaining to do! (moderate laughter)
Barack: There's a good reason for every expenditure, I assure you. (He points to the budget document.) For one thing, this is based on last month's budget, plus 8 percent for cost increases. A lot of this is for our daughters' school supplies. You wouldn't want me to short them, would you?
Michelle: I don't know what you're thinking, Barry. Our income didn't go up 8 percent, and even if it had, that wouldn't cover spending that's 40 percent above what we take in each month. (chuckles) And this is our own money! (roars of laughter)
Barack: Don't worry, Dear. Once I'm out of office, I'll make it all up in speaker's fees. In fact, a lot of the spending you see there is in anticipation of the fees I'm going to earn later. (laughter)
Michelle: (stands, hands on hips) So, Mr. President, you're going to spend us into the poor house now because you expect to get rich later? (moderate laughter)
Barack: That's the American dream, isn't it? (prolonged laughter)
Michelle: It may be your dream, Barry, but I dream of a safe, balanced household budget, and I'm going to have that, Dear, or you'll be spending nights in the Lincoln Barcalounger. (burst of laughter)
Barack: You don't mean …? (more laughs)
Michelle: I do mean! (extended laughter)
Barack: Can't we negotiate on this? Suppose we only overspend by 20 percent? Surely that's reasonable. (chuckles)
Michelle: I said a balanced budget, Barry, and that's what I meant – no compromises. I'll get you a blanket. (gales of laughter)
Barack: But our system of government is built on compromise! Suppose you compromise and let me overspend by 15 percent?
Michelle: I have a better idea. I'll compromise by getting you a blanket and a pillow! (guffaws) This isn't government, Barry; this is the real world, and there's going to be no compromise that saddles our family with a huge debt. (murmurs of approval)
Barack: OK, OK! I give up. I'll balance our household budget – but I feel like I'm being held hostage! (big laugh)
Michelle: (kissing the top of the president's head) You feel any way you like, Dear. Just remember that good sense isn't negotiable. (big laugh; she exits, stage right)
Barack: (mutters to himself) No compromise! It's like negotiating with the darned tea party! (huge laugh; theme music comes up; fade to credits)
Hope for change: A reader tells me he saw the following bumper sticker on a car in my old stomping grounds of Sacramento: "PRAY FOR YOUR PRESIDENT!! Psalms: 109:8."
He returned home and looked up the verse. It ends, "… and let others step forward to replace him."
He tells us, "At last. I can honestly voice a biblical prayer for our president!"
I don't know which Bible he's using, but my Old King James version is even more pointed. The verse in question concludes, "… let another take his office."