"OKAY, how're we gonna tell him?"
"I've been thinking about having a song written that Frank Sinatra could sing in the East Room. Something that goes, 'The Russians are rotten, but they're the only ones there.' Work in some yodels to suggest Geneva. I think the boss likes yodeling."
"That's right, he does. But I'm not sure it would work. Frankie would do it, but I can see a lot of argument about the royalties. There always is about anything written in the White House."
"Well, what about the Reader's Digest? We could plant a story about the successful negotiations between the National Hockey League and that Russian goalie who just signed up with them."
"Too late. I already called the hot line to Pleasantville, and this issue is closed."
"Well, what about something in the want ads in the Sunday papers? It's the first thing the boss reads. Maybe a message from Charlton Heston or somebody he respects. Make it simple: 'Ron, sweetheart, you're the greatest, but we're up to our keisters in nukes."
"It's good, but it doesn't get to his real hangup. He would like an arms treaty, he just doesn't want one with the Soviets."
"How about if we could get them to dress up their guys in South American generals' uniforms, you know, wear shades, speak Spanish. Maybe George Bush could get a message to the Kremlin through the Germans when he goes over there. Andropov is supposed to have a sense of humor."
"Yeah, but wouldn't it be better if Maggie Thatcher called up and said she knows the president doesn't mind talking to South American generals?"
"Are you kidding? You know how she feels about South American generals."
"Right you. I forgot. What about a letter from a 7-year-old child who's all for supply- side economics but is praying for world peace?"
"It's nice, but with our luck, she'd turn out to be a 35-year-old topless dancer."
"Well, we could have Paul Laxalt come out to the White House driveway and say he's just told the president that the people on the other side of the table in Geneva are Soviets, and that he may have to end up having to talk to them."
"Paul's usually golden, but not right now. The boss didn't mind him coming out and telling the press that he had just told the president he can't spend all that money on the Pentagon, lower taxes and balance the budget. The boss hears that every day. But Laxalt made a big mistake: he used the word 'freeze.' He was talking about a budget freeze, but the boss thought he meant a nuclear freeze and it got quite chilly in there."
"All right, try this. We wipe out the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency completely. Say we found a balalaika player in there and decided to clean out the whole mess. We could call it an economy move, too, and say we're putting the savings back into the Pentagon budget."
"There aren't enough of them left over here to do us much good. We need something splashier, Hey, I've got it. We send Jesse Helms in as our chief negotiator."
"Oh boy, now you're talking. Jesse would charge in and tell them they were playing by the Senate rules -- and he has the floor until the MX is on the line."
"There's only one thing wrong with it. The boss is gunshy about negotiators. He sends them over there, and the first thing he knows they are talking to the Russians. Rowney was a big disappointment to him. He figured the general, with his record, would never let him down. But he comes back from Geneva saying there's a 50-50 chance of an agreement."
"Yeah, Rowney got carried away. It must be the high altitude over there."
"Hey, how about we suggest moving the talks to another site. How about Hollywood, the old set of 'Hellcats of the Navy' -- you know how the boss loved making that picture. We could have our guys wear 'We're number one' T-shirts."
"No, you'd get a lot of pickets, freezeniks, women throwing themselves on the barricades, like they're doing in England."
"You're right. It would look awful on the tube. But here's something just came to me. Move the talks to Las Vegas. The Russians will want to play at the tables. We won't let them use rubles. They'll stalk out, and we'll be able to say it's all their fault we don't have peace."
"I like it. I'm sure the boss will buy it if he can say that Tip O'Neill is also to blame, somehow."