Yet another candidate for attorney general

MIKE ROYKO

February 12, 1993|By MIKE ROYKO

"The Senate Judiciary Committee is now in session to hold a hearing on the confirmation of Ms. Yetta Nuther as attorney general of the United States. Welcome, Ms. Nuther, it is nice having you here."

"You're welcome, Senator. It's terrifying being here."

"Now, I just want you to be sure you understand the rules of this confirmation process. Have you read them?"

"Yes, Senator, I have."

"All right. But for the benefit of those members of the TV viewing audience who are new to confirmation hearings, this is how it works. We will ask a question. You will answer. Then the viewers will have a chance to dial one of two 1-800 numbers. If they disapprove of your answer, they dial 1-800-KILLHER. But if they are pleased, they dial 1-800-OKBROAD. Is that understood, Ms. Nuther?"

"Yes, Senator."

"Good. A computer will instantly tabulate the calls, and your score will be displayed on the Giant Public Opinion Screen above our heads."

"Yes, Senator."

"Then let us begin. As you know, the attorney general is the highest-ranking law enforcement official in the United States. So in considering you for this position, we would like to ask you about the most important qualification for this position: your baby-sitting policies."

"Of course."

"Do you now or have you ever employed someone who is not a member of your immediate family to take care of your kids?"

"Yes, Senator, while I was a practicing lawyer, a law professor and most recently a judge, I did retain domestic help."

"Oops, there come the first calls. And the Big Screen shows you are running about even. Now, were these illegal aliens?"

"No, as a matter of fact, they were native-born American citizens. One of them traced her roots back to the Mayflower and claims that an ancestor personally knew Hiawatha."

"Very good. The call-ins are now running 62 percent in your favor. Did you pay all the proper taxes for these individuals?"

"Absolutely, Senator."

"Fine. You are now up to 65 percent. Tell me, what did you pay these individuals?"

"I paid the prevailing rate in my community, plus a Christmas bonus, four weeks of paid vacation, all national and state holidays, a birthday holiday and the afternoon off for Opening Day of baseball."

"Hah! You are now up to 70 percent on the Big Screen. I now turn the questioning over to Sen. Grunge. Senator?"

"Thank you. Now, Ms. Nuther, when you were a practicing attorney, how much did you earn a year?"

"I earned about $575,000 a year."

"Oops. You just dropped down to 67 percent. Did you by any chance establish a profit-sharing plan for your nanny?"

"Uh, no, Senator, it didn't occur to me."

"Hah. You just went down to 63 percent. You mean that with all the money you were earning, you didn't think you ought to share some of your profits -- the kind of profits that 98 percent of the hard-working folks in this country never even dream of -- with that hard-working hired woman who was tending to your young ones?"

"No, but I did provide room and board, which included a very nice room with color TV and other comforts."

"Uh-huh. But no profit sharing. How about a pension plan?"

"No, that was never discussed."

"Looks like you just went down to 57 percent. Now, you worked long hours, didn't you? How long were you away from your children?"

"I would leave the house at 7 a.m. and return at about 6 p.m. Unless traffic was heavy, then it might be later."

"When you got home, did you sing your children a lullaby?"

"No, I didn't."

"Uh-oh, you just dropped to 54 percent."

"But let me explain. I have a terrible singing voice, and I can't carry a tune. It would have frightened them."

"So your children never heard their mama sing a lullaby? How often did you take 'em to Disney World?"

"We never vacationed in Disney World."

"You just fell like a rock to 48 percent. What about Six Flags or Busch Gardens? What about it?"

"No, you see, we had a cottage in the country for weekends and vacations."

"Not even Tommy Bartlett's Water Show?"

"I'm afraid not."

"Ms. Nuther, look at the Big Board. You are down to 37 percent. Now, did your children have regular 8-bit Nintendo or the 16-bit Nintendo? Think carefully."

"They did not have Nintendo."

"No Nintendo? What kind of mother are you? Do you see that board? You are at 30 percent. How much did you spend on that suit you are wearing?"

"About $500."

"You spend that on your clothes but deny your children their own Nintendo game?"

"But I wanted them to do their homework and develop an interest in books."

"If you wanted them to do that, what were you doing gallivanting around being a lawyer and a judge? Why didn't you stay home and make them peanut butter and jelly or macaroni and cheese for lunch like my mother did, bless her soul?"

"Because, Senator, I had a career."

"Then you confess to having had a money-grubbing, status-seeking career and putting that ahead of the best interests of those helpless little tykes?"

"Yes, I have a career, just as you do, Senator, but I ..."

"Ms. Nuther, the Big Public Opinion Call-In Board now has you with an approval rating of 22 percent. Don't you think it is time for you to do the honorable thing?"

"Yes, I withdraw, Senator."

"Good. OK, who's next? We better find somebody soon. Three years without an attorney general is a long time."

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