No one cared much anymore. The usual suspects who would have caused a ruckus in the past were quiet- evidence of how times had changed. All the former chatter about a “homosexual agenda” now seemed passé, out of date. There was a time when having a man who was single or divorced at the helm of the wheel of the greatest nation on earth would have been unthinkable, let alone someone gay.  We certainly had come a long way as a people.

And apparently had bigger fish to fry.

So he was gay and of course had his detractors, lots of old relics from the culture wars mostly. But President Cooper was also considered mighty. He fulfilled all the neo-con dreams of a president ready to kick some ass. Any ass. And he satisfied all the requirements of the bleeding heart set too, as one who wouldn’t let the least among us suffer. He did it all with wit and charm and an innate ability to bring people together.

Until it happened.

Well it didn’t actually happen but over time things just built up.  Coop as he was affectionately known was reaching a time in his life when being alone was getting increasingly difficult. Difficult for his heart. Of course there was no first lady, and the idea of a first man didn’t fly. No one ever talked about his love life, as if he couldn’t have one or didn’t need one.  Apparently the country was fine with him belonging just to them and no one else. But Coop found his loneliness was becoming problematic.

Something had to give.

Chris Stephens was a reporter for the Washington News, and Coop felt he was always “on” him. Stephens wouldn’t let him get by without directly answering a question, and called his bluff and pressed him on many an occasion. One day Coop became suspect there was more to it. He felt it. Somehow it’d become personal. It was as if Stephens was asking for confrontation or something. He was always chiding and toying with him.

Needling him.

“President Cooper, the question was specifically about military funding in the 2014 budget: how much are you proposing to cut? And where will that savings go?  With all due respect sir you’ve been dodging the question.”

Oh this guy. “As I’ve said, we plan to hold the line on military spending. We need a strong military if we plan on maintaining our position as the leader of the free world. I haven’t dodged your question Mr. Stephens, I’ve made a promise to not allow our young men and women to flounder in the field. We’re holding the line.”

“But Mr. President, it’s impossible to not cut and to balance this budget. Can you please explain how you plan to “hold the line”? According to the Congressional Budget Office and most economists, your numbers just don’t add up.”

Coop looked around the room and pointed to a seasoned lady reporter sitting in the first row.  “Helen, next question.”

He glanced back at Stephens who had a glint in his eye. Stephens made him sweat and he knew it. And liked it. He enjoyed seeing Coop’s discomfort.

The press conference dragged on, and Coop hit most of the right notes. When the reporters broke Stephens made way toward the podium. The secret service had begun escorting President Cooper out of the room.

“Mr. President, Mr. President, one more question please.”

Coop turned around with an eye roll. “What is it Mr. Stephens?”

“What’s a guy gotta do to get a date?”

Public Domain Photo: Seal of the President of the United States of America


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