had also heard us on Ollie Norths radio show and called the hotel
(how had he known which hotel? I guess the Speaker of the House probably
has ways of knowing) to invite us out for Long Island Iced Tea and shrimp
scampi. He knew a very exclusive (what did this mean? No Blacks?
No Jews? No Democrats?) seafood place.
All our preconceptions were wrong, friends, because the Right it is a-changin.
We had expected to meet any of several small, slender, often brightly-colored
salamanders of the genus Triturus and related genera, living chiefly on
land but becoming aquatic during the breeding season, whose Contract
for America had seemed like a war on Americas poor (the 90
percent of the population who owned 10 percent of the wealth loved our
anthology, while the richest 10 percent loved our hypertext). Instead
we arrived at a Cajun club with very loud jazz and a mostly African-American
clientele. Newts congressional limo had been very conspicuous parked
outside on a street of abandoned warehouses and
broken glass. We found him dancing right below the stage. He was wearing
a lei, loud Bermuda shorts, and heart-shaped rose-colored sunglasses.
We got about fifty shrimp dipped in coconut batter and served with a Thai
peanut sauce. Newt wouldnt let us eat anything else, it was out
of the question, this was his favorite dish. And we were going to drink
pitchers of strawberry margaritas, made with fresh strawberries, Cuervo
Gold, and Grand Marnier. With extra lime. A drink he was nuts about. And
he couldnt stop talking about the hypertext.
We were ribbing him about Clinton and the whole health care thing, and
El Shifa, the Sudanese pharmaceutical factory Clinton had bombed, and
the Lewinski thing (which, even a year later, you couldnt stop
hearing about, as if the whole thing were just an elaborate plota
staged scandalwrought by covert black operatives to get all the
people of America to get fed up and stop reading or watching or listening
the news altogether, so a secret government could subvert the Y2K
election and plant an operative in power [which theory,
Newt, basically, admitted was true]). We made him laugh so hard that
out his nose.
Even though the restaurant didnt seem like his kind of place, it
was obvious he was appreciated there. He tipped big. He seemed to have
lots of African-American friends. He was getting paid top dollar as a
lobbyist and he was happy in his retirement.
We had been so wrong about him.
Sure his Contract for America was a war on the poor, but
he was a lot more charismatic than we had expected. Plus, he picked
tab. On Uncle, he said.
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Dinner with Newt
at The University of Cincinnati
342K RealAudio Clip