Updated: October 5, 2013 6:18AM
‘ We will smite Syria swiftly, but prudently,” Good Roger said. “Ferociously, but cautiously. With abandon, but with restraint. And if our red line is crossed again, we have crimson, magenta and puce lines to back them up.”
“Have you been sniffing the printer toner again?” Bad Roger asked. “You are beginning to sound like a foreign policy wonk.”
“We must stop the needless, senseless, indefensible murder of children,” Good Roger said. “The United States must act to stop the slaughter of the innocent.”
“You’re talking about that one-year-old boy shot to death in his stroller in Brooklyn on Sunday night, right?” Bad Roger said. “I totally agree the United States should stop such slaughter.”
“I am talking about Syria!” Good Roger shouted. “We must protect the children of Syria.”
“Totally agree,” Bad Roger said. “But the 197 children ages 12 and younger who are shot to death every year on average in America are worth protecting, too, aren’t they? Maybe our government ought to do something about them.”
“The Second Amendment gives Americans the right to shoot other Americans!” Good Roger said, a vein pulsing in his forehead. “But Syria doesn’t have the Second Amendment. So we can kill Syrians to keep them from killing other Syrians!”
“I see you have been watching cable news again,” Bad Roger said. “Because your logic has become impeccable.”
Good Roger is the decent, sincere, well-meaning side of me. Nobody much likes him. Bad Roger is the snarky, sarcastic, cynical side of me. People often buy him drinks.
Good Roger started madly leafing through his quote book for a devastatingly apt response to Bad Roger. Good Roger has kept a quote book ever since he heard that George Will never goes on TV without deft and witty quotes written on his shirt sleeves.
“Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me,” Good Roger said. “Also: Bounces off rubber and sticks to glue.”
“Can we stop talking about this?” Bad Roger said. “There is a ‘Duck Dynasty’ marathon on A&E that I don’t want to miss.”
“I am not done quoting,” Good Roger said. “ ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick.’ Teddy Roosevelt said that 112 years ago this week.”
“But he didn’t say take your big stick to Congress, where it can be whittled down to 535 little sticks with pointy heads to match the pointy heads of our legislators,” Bad Roger said.
“Congress is a cornerstone of democracy!” Good Roger said.
“Congress is an anvil around the neck of democracy,” said Bad Roger. “It has a lower approval rating than bad breath. And President Obama decides to turn over his foreign policy to Congress for its approval? Pure folly.”
“Au contraire,” Good Roger retorted, believing that using French proves you are an intellectual. “If Congress refuses to back the president’s attack on Syria, Congress will get the blame.”
“In Libya, Obama led from behind,” Bad Roger said. “In Syria, Obama is letting a bunch of behinds lead him.”
“A leader must have the support of his people,” Good Roger said. “President Obama grew very worried when the British Parliament refused to back an attack on Syria.”
“If George Washington had worried about what the British Parliament wanted, we all would be driving on the left side of the road today,” Bad Roger said. “And have bad teeth.”
“There is no talking to you,” Good Roger said. “Besides, ‘The Ed Show’ is coming on, and I have to get ready to take notes.”
“This decision to go to Congress has badly split this administration,” said Bad Roger. “I saw John Kerry the other day and I said, ‘Why the long face?’ ”
“You can’t say a thing like that!” Good Roger sputtered.
“I can say anything,” Bad Roger said. “I’m Bad Roger.”