Oedipus Kean: A Two-Act Play
(based on true events)
Starring: Haley Joel Osment as Tom Kean Jr.
Al Pacino as Tom Kean Sr.
(Opening Scene: Kean Jr., in front of a mirror, before a press conference):
Act I, scene I:
Kean Jr. (practicing his oral delivery, smiling slickly into the mirror): “Bob Menendez, ahem, is a corrupt politician who…took money from corrupt politicians, has close ties to a presidential administration that has a “for sale” sign in front of the White House…” Wait a second; that’s me.
Kean Sr.: Now, now, son. You’ve been handpicked for this position by the Republican National Committee and Karl Rove himself. You need to have more confidence and clearly espouse your position.
Kean Jr.: But what should I do if I have no position and instead, as the New York Times suggests, only make myself affable to whatever party I’m trying to appeal to?
Kean Sr.: (looks away, mutters to himself) The seed has certainly fallen far from the tree, hasn’t it?
(The two men head out to the press conference. A disinterested press corps begins asking questions).
Reporter #1: Mr. Kean Jr., in the past televised debate, you refused to answer questions concerning your changing positions on the Iraq War. Yes or no – would you vote for the resolution to authorize the invasion of Iraq if it was held no.
Kean Jr. bolts from the room with his father running after him.
(In the men’s bathroom):
Kean Sr.: Son, you can’t keep running and hiding whenever you are asked questions by the press. It looks really bad, and you’ve been caught doing it multiple times on YouTube.
Kean Jr. (huddled in a bathroom stall): Those, those people, they try to get me to state clearly where I stand on the issues. I just won’t do it! (shaking head back and forth) Who the heck do they think they are?
Kean Sr.: Those people are the press and your constituents, son. You have to not only answer questions for them but also stand up for their interests.
Kean Jr.: Rove told me to duck and run when the going gets tough, and that’s what I’m going to do. Say, this bathroom stall reminds me of my college days passed out on the toilet after a night drinking with my frat buddies!
Act II, scene II
(The scene: November 8th, the Kean family estate, Junior walking with his father).
Kean Jr.: Dad, I am entitled to winning this race, just as I was entitled to being appointed via nepotism to the state assembly and the state senate. I’ve… (trying to think of an original idea) been protected and privileged my entire life, never really working except for BP. I’ve even led a canoeing expedition on the Danube River!
Kean Sr.: Son (sighing to himself), you’re really not from the same mettle as I. You are far too conservative and think that the Iraq War is going well. I’ve given you a sheltered life in order to protect you from working, and you used the family name to your advantage. But it is now a family name that has been tarnished from your dirty campaign. What were you thinking in hiring a Republican hack who was kicked out of N.H. for accusing a rival candidate’s wife of participating in an orgasm cult? Why on earth did you lie about Menendez’s participation in the Musto criminal probe? If you were a bit more authentic and had a grasp of the issues, perhaps you would now be elected to the U.S. senate instead of feeling sorry for yourself and picking flowers on our family estate.
Kean Jr.: I’m not going to give up, Dad. I stand against – I mean for – stem cell funding. I am in favor of – I mean opposed – to Bush’s privatization plan. Gosh, Dad, why can’t I get anything right?
A phone rings. Before Kean Sr. can answer
Kean Jr.: Sorry, Dad, that’s Rove on the line, and I’ve always been there for the Bush administration… (pauses a moment). Can’t you appoint me to another position? Please, dad?