Art Buchwald, Drunk With Power And Hitting Bottom, WP, Sept. 18, 2003

The weekly meeting of Power Anonymous was held in Washington.

"My name is George W. and I am a recovering power addict. I guess I inherited my liking of power from my father. I first started using power heavily when I became governor of Texas. The fellows I hung out with were all power abusers. Some drank it, and others sniffed it.

"I had no choice but to use it myself because it was in my genes. I tried to kick the habit when I came to Washington, but I didn't know this was the center of power for the free world.

"I could buy all the power I wanted on any street corner. Every time I woke up I had to have a fix. Then I would go to my office and my staff said I didn't have enough of it. It wasn't long before I started having nightmares. I believed people on the Hill were out to get me.

"Some say I am still on a power trip. But if I hadn't hit bottom, I wouldn't be here tonight."

"My name is Donald R. I work in the Pentagon. As a matter of fact, I am the Pentagon. Next to George W., I have the most power in America. I can send troops anywhere I want to and no one can stop me except George W., but he never understood what real military power was all about and left the decisions up to me.

"I have more power because George believes me more than he does Colin. I got my first taste of power when, as defense secretary, I was flying a fighter plane over the no-fly zone in Iraq. I saw several tanks explode and realized that I had enough power to blow up anything I wanted to.

"Power didn't come cheap. It came from billions and billions of dollars, but I had it to spend. The fact that I'm here tonight doesn't mean I'm cured. Any day I can go back to getting high on it. There are 12 steps to Power Anonymous. I'm still on the first one. Giving it up is much tougher than you think."

"My name is Colin P. I used to be a general but in my present job nobody really listens to me. At the beginning, I was hooked on power, but as time went by it was harder and harder to keep it.

"That's one of the reasons I'm coming out of the closet. If you can't get real power you can't take a chance with the adulterated stuff.

"I hope to help other secretaries of state who don't realize what so-called power trips do to your health."

"My name is Condoleezza R. and I came late to power. Originally I wanted to be a pianist, but friends got me to try power and I became high on it. I hope to break the habit because power makes me look too serious -- I know how important being on 'Meet the Press' is.

"But I also know that after all the news shows your thinking becomes fuzzy and power becomes an addiction. Power Anonymous is my last resort. If I can't stop using power, I will wind up in the gutter and on 'The Jerry Springer Show.' "

"My name is Dick C. I don't have much power except with the energy companies. The reason I am here is that I like to circulate with all you people. George W. is my role model. Once he was power-mad, but he now realizes that it is not always the answer."

The meeting adjourned and everyone had doughnuts and coffee. They promised to meet next week -- unless there was another war, in which case they all might break their vows.