Ultimatum by Matthew Glass Read Free Book Online

Book: Ultimatum by Matthew Glass Read Free Book Online
Authors: Matthew Glass
Tags: Fiction, General, Thrillers
hat before the election.
    “This gives us the chance to truly take leadership on Kyoto,” said Alan Ball. “I’ll put some thoughts in a paper on how we use this to seize the agenda.”
    Benton nodded. “Thank you, Alan. That would be good.” He paused. “Okay, let me turn this to something else. It’s Inauguration Day. Do I make this public? I could announce it and say we’re using whatever plan we’ve come up with to seize the Kyoto agenda. Alternatively, I could keep it quiet like Gartner did, at least for a while, until the timing’s right. Hope it doesn’t leak. If it leaks, say its speculation, say it’s just a scenario, there’s no certainty. I want to think about the options politically. John, why don’t you kick off?”
    Eales was silent for a moment. “My first thought is there’s something attractive about announcing it. Just throwing it out there. One, you don’t face the risk of leaks, no one’s going to turn around and say you’ve misled the people. Two, it’s like you throw down a challenge to the American people. In a way, that’s what our whole campaign was about. Here’s a challenge, I’ve got the courage to admit it, now let’s rise to it together. That worked. It caught the mood of the American people. So we can ride that mood. Now it’s just, okay, the challenge is bigger. If anyone can put that out there, Senator, it’s you. You’ve earned that right. You’ve earned that credibility. You could throw it out right there at the inauguration— we face this, we have to deal with it, join me, work with me. Together, we’ll overcome it.”
    “Like Roosevelt,” murmured Rubin. “We have nothing to fear like fear itself.”
    Eales nodded. “Exactly right, Jackie. We have nothing to fear but fear itself. And you also dis Gartner’s administration. Basically, you’re saying, he messed up, I’m going to clean up. You dissociate us from the problem. You associate us with the solution. That’s why it’s got to be day one. If we don’t do it day one, we lose that opportunity. It’s got to be absolute silence or complete confession.”
    “What’s Gartner going to do?” said Alan Ball.
    “He said he’ll go along with however I want to play it,” replied Benton.
    “No, but if you dis him, what’s he going to do then? What are the Republicans going to do?”
    “They’re a minority in both houses,” said Eales.
    “But they’ve still got forty-three senators,” said Rubin.
    Everyone in the room knew the significance of that number. To mount a filibuster, and cause endless obstruction to a president’s legislative program, the opposition party requires only forty senators on the Hill.
    “There’s a half-dozen Republicans who’ll support our program,” said Eales. “Just give them the right incentives.”
    “Not if you dis the party. Not if it turns partisan.”
    “Everything’s partisan.”
    “Not this partisan. Not like it is if you go out of your way to dis your predecessor.”
    “Jackie’s got a point,” said Benton. “I want everyone in the tent that I can get, Democrat or Republican.”
    “Senator,” said Ball, “I know we’re looking at this primarily in terms of domestic politics, but we need to think of the Chinese government as well. How does it make them look if we go public like this? It’s kind of saying, President Gartner couldn’t handle them, but we darn well will.”
    “I won’t be saying that.”
    “But that’s what it might look like. Seen from there, it feels aggressive.”
    “Maybe we need to be aggressive,” said Eales.
    “Senator,” said Rubin. “I’m going back to John’s idea. The Roosevelt idea. When John said it, I liked it. It’s bold, imaginative, honest. Like John said, that’s why the country elected you. And there’s a nice symmetry here. It’s exactly a hundred years since Roosevelt came to power. You could do a lot with

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