October 18, 1991
I don't believe in quotas.
George Bush, 1991
Scene: The White House. Thurgood Marshall has just resigned from
the Supreme Court. The President is conferring with his political
Bush: This one ought to do it. One more justice and we'll have a conservative court wrapped up for at least 20 years. Even if the Democrats get the presidency, they won't be able to do much. Who do we have, John? I want someone the liberals can't shoot down.
Sununu: I've got just the man you want. He's Catholic, definitely anti-abortion, as conservative as they come, grew up in a poor family and he's in his forties, so he'll be around for a long time. He's a self made man and --you'll love this-- he's black as the ace of spades. Even the guilt-ridden liberals will vote to confirm him.
Bush: What's his reputation as a jurist?
Sununu: What difference does that make? He's a shooin!
Bush: Come on John; to you everyone is a shooin. That's what they told Ronnie about Bork; then there was what's-his-name, the pot smoker. They told Ronnie that the Jewish vote would clinch his confirmation.
Sununu: Bork didn't know when to keep his mouth shut, and no one knew that what's-his-name liked getting stoned. Didn't I get you David Souter?
Sununu: Souter.... you know, our newest justice.
Bush: Oh yeah, him....and this shooin of yours; what are his problems?
Sununu: No problems! This guy is a professional politician. Not only can he keep his mouth shut, but, if necessary, he can handle the truth like a CIA man.
Bush: Sounds pretty good to me. If there's no objection, fellas, we'll go with him. What's his name?
Sununu: Thomas.... Clarence Thomas.
Scene: Same place; several months later.
Bush: What's this I hear about your shooin being a dirty old man?
Sununu: Nothing to worry about. There are so many dirty old men in congress, they'll just figure that he's a member of the club.
Bush: That's OK for a congressman, but a Supreme Court Justice is supposed to be above reproach.
Sununu: Being a dirty old man didn't hurt Kennedy. Don't worry, Orin will keep it under wraps.
Bush: They found out about Kennedy after he was dead. It killed Gary Hart politically. Are you sure that Orin can handle it?
Sununu: It'll be OK.
Bush: I heard that this guy is a really dirty old man.
Sununu: He's not old!
Bush: I wasn't talking about his age. I heard that he had this pretty 25 year old female assistant and that he talked pornography to her.... Oh well, at least he didn't fondle her or expose himself. Can it be fixed?
Sununu: A woman claiming that she was sexually harassed is real easy to discredit; sort of like a woman who claims that she was raped.
Bush: What if she can't be discredited?
Sununu: Not to worry....our boys will take care of it.
Scene: Same place; several weeks later.
Bush: I thought that you said it would be taken care of.
Sununu: I thought that it would. I guess I was wrong.
Bush: How come, when Jim Baker tells me something, he's right most of the time, and when you tell me something, you're wrong a good part of the time?
Sununu: Well, Jim only has to deal with the world, and I have to deal with congress and the public.
Bush: Dammit, John, there's an election coming up! We can't afford to be wrong!
Sununu: Not to worry, I have another Supreme Court candidate in the wings who's a shooin.
Bush: Is this shooin of yours also black?
Sununu: No, she's Japanese.
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