The real Satan has his say

September 29, 2006|By Clarence Page

WASHINGTON -- The devil, you say? His ears must be burning more than usual these days.

Ol' Beelzebub's name is getting called into political service, from the loonier corners of the left to the most self-righteous regions of the right.

"Yesterday, the devil came here," Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said in a speech delivered in Spanish before the United Nations. El diablo of whom he spoke was President Bush.

"Right here," he said, drawing laughter by blessing himself with the sign of the cross, folding his hands as if in prayer and glancing heavenward. "Right here. And it smells of sulfur still today."

Mr. Chavez did achieve a minor miracle of his own that day: He brought leading Republicans and Democrats together in denouncing him as a thug and a crackpot. We Americans don't like to see overseas oligarchs, even elected ones like Mr. Chavez, come here and insult our president, regardless of party. We'd rather do that ourselves without any outside help.

But just as Mr. Chavez's sulfur was fading, the Rev. Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority Coalition, raised some smoke of his own by comparing el diablo to New York Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. And, like Dana Carvey's Church Lady from the old days of Saturday Night Live, Mr. Falwell gave the edge to - could it be? - Satan!

Speaking in Washington to a national gathering of Christian conservatives, Mr. Falwell said that even the Angel of the Bottomless Pit could not motivate conservative evangelicals behind the Republicans in 2008 more than the former first lady's nomination would.

"I certainly hope that Hillary is the candidate ... because nothing will energize my [constituency] like Hillary Clinton," Mr. Falwell said, according to a recording that was leaked to the Los Angeles Times and later confirmed by Mr. Falwell.

As cheers and laughter filled the room, he continued: "If Lucifer ran, he wouldn't!"

With all of these satanic references flying around, I could not help but wonder what the original Prince of Darkness thinks about all this, so I decided to find out.

How, you may wonder, did I happen to get an exclusive interview with Satan? Suffice to say that he's no stranger to Washington.

Q: Thank you for this interview. I know you're busy. What do you think of political figures such as Mr. Chavez and Mr. Falwell tossing your name around?

Satan: I don't like it. First of all, no matter what Mr. Chavez says, I am no George W. Bush, although I do find myself spending a lot of time in Washington these days. Strictly business, of course.

Q: But Mr. Chavez says he could still smell the sulfur.

Satan: Sure. Probably the leftover aroma from Iran's president.

Q: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

Satan: Bless you. But I'm tired of people using my name to demonize people. Mr. Chavez is just trying to play the brave, courageous David to Mr. Bush's mighty Goliath. There's nothing like speaking truth to power to pump up your stock in the Third World. But hey, amigo, leave me out of it.

Q: You sound pretty steamed.

Satan: All I can say is, he'd better watch out. Somebody might whack him.

Q: Like who? The CIA?

Satan: I'm not saying. But I have my sources. Just because he's paranoid doesn't mean somebody isn't really out to get him. Not that I approve, of course.

Q: You don't?

Satan: Hey, do you think I rule the world or something? Everybody wants to blame me for everything. People need to take some personal responsibility.

Q: What about Mr. Falwell? He said Hillary Clinton, as a presidential nominee, would excite more conservatives than you would.

Satan: Again, he's taking my name in vain. Look, I'm not going to run, even if nominated. But if someone does want to start a draft movement, I promise not to sue.

Q: By the way, the world wants to know which party you really support.

Satan: You want the truth? I'm an independent. A swing voter. Always have been. I'm an equal-opportunity destroyer. You can trust me on that.

Clarence Page is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. His column appears Tuesdays and Fridays in The Sun. His e-mail is

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