As the Queen’s Park columnist for The Interim, I recently found myself aboard Air Force One on assignment, heading towards Indiana and Notre Dame in the company of U.S. President Barack Obama. I was ensconced in luxurious surroundings, sitting in a window seat in the rear of the plane. Having a glass of Famous Grouse to satisfy my thirst, I happened to glance over at my seating companion and was shocked. “Aren’t you Harry Robertson?!”
“Shh!” he said. “That’s one of my many names.”
“Aren’t you the guy who sold the four second-hand British subs to Canada a few years back?”
“Yes,” he said, dusting off some mythical dust on his expensive-looking sports jacket. “That’s me. Canada got a real bargain. Whatever happened to those subs? Did they ever end up using them as target practice in the St. Lawrence River?”
“I don’t know. Weren’t you the same guy who was selling body parts in front of the Parliament buildings a few years ago in Ottawa?” I asked indignantly.
“Yes and weren’t you the guy who turned down a free hairpiece I offered you? You could still do with one now.”
“No, thank you,” I said stubbornly. “Say, weren’t you the guy who warned me when I had an interview with former vice-president Al Gore in Florida that Gore was an ecological schemer and the king of the con men?”
“That was me,” said Harry.
“How did I get the Obama assignment? You must be pretty close to Obama.”
“I can tell you what he’s going to say to the university crowd tonight at Notre Dame.”
“You can?” I asked.
“Yeah. Obama’s going to say he’s pro-life and pro-abortion at the same time. He’s going to drag out that old Clinton chestnut about wanting fewer abortions. Everybody wants to see fewer abortions.”
“Will the crowd buy it?”
“The women will swoon and the men will clap.”
“Surely the Catholic alumni of Notre Dame won’t buy that bull!” I said.
“Buy it? They bought it 50 years ago. Planned Parenthood and the Rockefellers run Notre Dame as a branch of their other operations. Poor old Notre Dame – to much of the old alumni, it was like shooting their grandmothers. Notre Dame has bought almost all the pop theology going.”
“How awful,” I said.
“The new alumni haven’t got the guts to say no,” said Harry. “I think I’d be tempted, too. Then I have to remind myself I’m a professional con man myself on a lesser scale and I’d be the last person you should ask about personal integrity.”
“How do you see Obama working out as president?”
“Obama is probably one of the greatest debaters you’ll ever meet,” said Harry. “And he can charm the paint off the wall. The mistake he’s making is that he thinks he can walk into Notre Dame and talk to the Catholic community there and also talk to the people out in the boondocks at the same time and convince them that he is both fish and fowl.”
“Will he be able to do it?”
“I don’t think so, but he’s going to try.”
Suddenly, a voice was heard announcing a sumptuous lunch was being served shortly. Harry said to me: “Wait here and I’ll be right back.” There was a loud commotion at the front of Air Force One with a buzz of voices and soon down the aisle came an entourage led by President Barack Obama, closely followed by Harry Robertson! Obama stopped right at my seat and Harry leaned over to him and introduced me.
“Mr. President, this is my long-time friend, Frank Kennedy. He’s the one I told you about, sir, the Canadian who worked his buns off getting Americans living in Canada by the thousands to vote for you in the election.”
“I did?” I exclaimed.
“I know you don’t want to brag about it, Frank, but I want you to know that I appreciate all the support you gave me,” said Obama.
“I did?” I blurted out.
“I want you to know if ever I can do something for you, get in touch with Harry here and he’ll take care of it. Thanks again, Frank, it’s been nice meeting you.” And he was gone.
“Harry, since when did I help Obama get elected?” I asked.
“Well, Frank, you never made any attempt to correct him.”
That was true. I’ll stand convicted of that.