'Twas Not the Night Before Christmas...

'TWAS the year after Reagan and all through the Warsaw Pact not a cold war was stirring, not even a spat. The nations were joyous over holes in the Wall, in hopes that consumer goods would soon deck their halls. The Bushes were nestled all asleep in the White House, while visions of defense cuts danced in their caps. And Barbara with her puppy and George with his horseshoes had just settled down for a long capitalist nap. When out in the Oval Office there arose such a clatter, that George sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. Away down the hall he flew like a kite, tore open the door, and turned on the light. The office of so much history and folly, was crowded with people all singing and jolly.

And there in the middle, with hands on the piano, was a little old player, so lively and proud. George knew in a moment it was Harry Truman playing so loud.

Am I dreaming? thought George as he looked at the others. Truman whistled and shouted and called them all brothers: Now Adams! Now Jackson! Now Lincoln! Now Taft! On Wilson! On Hoover! On Roosevelt and Taylor! To the top of the song, to wishes unfurled! Now sing away, sing away, for the new hope in the world!

And George, as he watched with astonishment and fear, was greeted with rounds of presidential cheer. ``We can read your lips,'' said Taft with relish, ``but your policies are rather hellish.''

They pulled him close to the piano like a stray to the hearth. Said Taft in his ear, ``George, keep your eye on the hope and not on the fear.'' And Teddy Roosevelt, so round and beneficent, took George by the hand and said, ``Son, keep your eye on the hope and not on the fear.'' And Wilson, no stranger to peace, sang with a cheer: ``Gorby, the snowman, is a jolly, happy premier, with a glasnost plan, and an open hand, and two summits made of hope.''

And then, in a twinkling, they heard on the roof the fumbling and bumping of someone arriving on the hoof. Down the chimney came St. Dukakis with a bound. He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot. And his clothes were all tarnished with taxes and soot. A sack filled with audits he had flung on his back. He looked like a governor without much knack.

His eyes how they twinkled. His eyebrows, how merry! ``Duke'' said George, ``be glad you weren't a Hart named Gary.''

He scratched his head and his little round belly, and when he discovered he wasn't in Massachusetts he shook like a bowl full of jelly.

``So, this is the White House,'' he said without remorse. ``I should have known by the color, of course.''

And Truman pulled him in close, a right jolly old elf. St. Dukakis had to laugh in spite of himself. They sang songs about Irangate and Wright, and Wedtech and HUD, the ACLU and how to really sling mud. They sang together like brothers in a chorus for the new hope in the world before us. Then St. Dukakis gave a wink of his eye and a twist of his heel, and they all wished him well in the next tax deal.

And laying his finger aside his nose, and giving a nod up the chimney he rose. He gave a whistle and disappeared like funds for a missile. And just before George closed the door on the rollicking, he heard Truman exclaim, ``Happy Christmas to all in spite of our politicking, and to all a good night....''

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