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Hoop Dreams
This is the creepiest thing I've heard a senator go on about in some time. And let's face it, it's hard to get creeped out by senators these days: it's a high bar. A damn high bar.
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) on Tuesday described in detail an imaginary basketball game he would play with President Obama in which he would explain why he thinks it’s unfair to single out the aviation industry for tax hikes.

“Perhaps he could actually invite me," Roberts said on the Senate floor. "[E]verybody knows the president is a very good basketball player."

Roberts, who said he also plays basketball, then laid out lengthy narrative of how the game that might ensue.

Now mind you, by lengthy, we mean 20 minutes. Twenty long, detailed, imaginary-sweat-filled minutes describing a fantasy one-on-one basketball game with the president of the United States, one in which Roberts would simultaneously talk shop about corporate aircraft depreciation schedules:

“He would probably go to the left corner and sink a three about that time, and I would want to emphasize…that he…seems to be fixated on one specific industry,” said Roberts, adding he would say Obama has "singled out the general aviation industry as an example of big business that serves only the wealthy.”

“And then after I shot and missed it and I would say ‘your ball again, Mr. President,’ I would say as he was trying to drive around me rather successfully, ‘the truth is that these aircraft actually serve as an essential business tool…’” continued Roberts.

Roberts story carried on in a similar colloquial style for about 20-minutes and included several elements of basketball including dribbling, Obama stealing the ball, the president “spot [ting] him 10,” a free shot, a hook shot, and the senior senator from Kansas giving the president a “sort of nudge” when he got under the bucket and the president throwing a “sharp elbow” that resulted in a foul.

I ... I don't know what to say to this. I have to say I've never thought to Google "Pat Roberts Barack Obama fan fiction," and I'm not about to now, but now I know that if I ever do, the most prominent entry will be from Pat Roberts himself.

How would you ... I mean, of all the things to ... I mean, that does sound like the sort of pill-induced dream that a tired senator might have, after a long night of fundraising, but I can't imagine coming up with a 20-minute narration of such a thing on purpose.


The president drove toward the basket, and our shoulders briefly touched. His shirt was warm and moist, and my heart raced. "You know, private aircraft enhance productivity for the job creating class," I said, attempting to match his brisk pace and graceful moves.


And here's what I don't get: it's not like these senators can't get ample time with the president. On the contrary, all we hear about is Republicans refusing to meet with him.


Nearing the hoop, he jumped into the air. It was graceful, like a Gulfstream G650 with optional four-place conference table. "Why, a recent study shows that ..." He dunked, effortlessly, and I was lost in the moment. "All right, that's 12 points to 10," he said, beaming.

"A study shows that merely reupholstering the seats on a Cessna Citation X on a bi-yearly basis can employ up to 25 people, so—"

The president put his finger to his lips. "Don't speak," he whispered. "Just play."


I mean, let's say Roberts does meet with Obama in the near future. What do you say to the president of the United States after you've just gone on at great length, in public, about your imaginary basketball game with him? And even worse, that you were such a business geek that you spent the whole time in your own self-created fantasy world explaining your views on private air travel to him? What a terrible date—I mean, what a boring subject!

Sen. Roberts may be strange, and he may be able to go on for 20 freaking minutes with self-made fantasies involving sweaty conversations between himself and the president, which I am pretty sure really ought to get you on some Secret Service list of possible stalker threats (either the list labeled "do not let these people anywhere near the president" or "check these people for sharp objects whenever they visit"), but in fairness, Roberts did imagine that he lost his own basketball game, in the end. So he's got humility, I think we have to give him that much.


The ball soared into the air: it was my last opportunity. It hit the rim, but too far, I knew, to the right: it bounced off, flying well out of bounds and into the driveway, where a Secret Service agent hurried to fetch it before it rolled into a nearby rosebush. I had lost the game.

But I knew that America's private aviation industry had won Obama's heart.

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