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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

A day in the life of the emptiest suit in Washington:

7 a.m. You wake up, light a Camel. Read a pink Post-it left on the refrigerator by your wife: “John, don’t ever forget, YOU REALLY ARE THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE!!! Also, we’re out of bagels.”

7:30 a.m. You lie in your tanning bed meditating about the government shutdown, wondering if it was such a brilliant idea to let it happen. You put on some Pink Floyd, “Dark Side of the Moon,” but that doesn’t help.

8:00 a.m. On the ride to Capitol Hill, your driver remarks that there’s not much traffic in the city, no tourists lined up to see money being inked at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. You smoke another Camel.

8:11 a.m. From the car you call the police to report that some jerk on D Street is selling “Boehner is a Bum” T-shirts — no, wait, he’s giving them away! Worse, he’s wearing a national park ranger’s uniform.

9:07 a.m. Staff meeting. The assistant in charge of reading all your hate mail insists she’s not crying, it’s just allergies.

On a more upbeat note, three Tea Party activists in Arizona tweeted that the shutdown is a smashing success, and that if you cave in to moderate Republicans who want to end it, then you are lower than lily-livered liberal scum.

9:30 a.m. You deliver your regular morning blame-Obama-for-everything soundbite, which goes pretty well, all things considered. Your wife calls to say you looked totally reasonable on TV, not the least bit satanic, and asks if you’d please swing by the grocery store on the way home.

10:46 a.m. Fox News wants to interview you about the 800,000-plus federal workers being laid off. How are they supposed to pay their mortgages, keep up their car payments, yada, yada, yada….

And this is Fox? They’re supposed to be on your side.

You tell your assistant in charge of turning down hard-hitting media interviews to say you’re too busy trying to end this dire national crisis caused entirely by the Democrats and the president.

11:07 a.m. Three discreet drags on a Camel before sneaking into another tanning bed that you’ve installed in a dark alcove near the Speaker’s office. You put on some Zeppelin, “In Through the Out Door,” but can’t stop thinking about the havoc you’ve created by not letting the shutdown come to a vote on the House floor.

At the Department of Defense, 400,000 civilian workers furloughed with no pay. Same story at NASA, the Department of Justice, Treasury, Commerce, Labor, Energy, even Veterans Affairs.

And this was totally your call, as some unhappy colleagues have pointed out. One word from you and a clean spending bill would have passed, no problem, if only you weren’t such a wimp.

“I hate that word!” you start to holler, fogging up the Plexiglas.

12:30 pm. Lunch with a carefully chosen group of supporters. They try to brighten your mood with news that the signup website for the Affordable Care Act — sorry, Obamacare — is plagued with glitches.

What better proof that the president’s healthcare law is a total disaster, right?

“So cheer up, Mr. Speaker!” they say.

“Cheer up?” you snap back. “Didn’t you see the headline in the New York Daily News? ‘House of Turds.’ With my picture!”

“You’re definitely not a turd, Mr. Speaker.”

“Gee, thanks. Get the check.”

2:15 pm. You cancel the daily session with your charisma coach and go to the driving range to hit a bucket of balls. Out of nowhere comes a thundering downpour!

Turns out you didn’t receive the storm alert on your cell phone due to layoffs at the weather service caused by the you-know-what, that you yourself allowed to happen.

You stub out your Camel, go back to the office and sulk.

4:00 p.m. Your regular afternoon blame-Obama-for-everything soundbite is postponed because the assistant in charge of making sure you’re never photographed with Ted Cruz has spotted the lunatic Texan roaming the halls.

5:45 p.m. Quick trip to the tanning bed, then moisturize.

You’re preparing for a live interview with Diane Sawyer. The producer says Diane’s going to remind you that you’re the one person who could stop the government shutdown tomorrow, if you wanted to.

Suddenly you remember a dentist appointment.

6:30 pm. On the ride home you phone the NSA and ask if someone could please hack the Google site and remove all the mean stuff being written about you. Unfortunately, the hacker in charge of that department has just been furloughed.

So you light up another Camel, and call Harry Reid.

(Carl Hiaasen is a columnist for The Miami Herald. Readers may write to him at: 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla., 33132.)

Photo: Medill DC via Flickr

Actor as Donald Trump in Russia Today video ad

Screenshot from RT's 'Trump is here to make RT Great Again'

Russia Today, the network known in this country as RT, has produced a new "deep fake" video that portrays Donald Trump in post-presidential mode as an anchor for the Kremlin outlet. Using snippets of Trump's own voice and an actor in an outlandish blond wig, the ad suggests broadly that the US president is indeed a wholly owned puppet of Vladimir Putin– as he has so often given us reason to suspect.

"They're very nice. I make a lot of money with them," says the actor in Trump's own voice. "They pay me millions and hundreds of millions."

But when American journalists described the video as "disturbing," RT retorted that their aim wasn't to mock Trump, but his critics and every American who objects to the Russian manipulations that helped bring him to power.

As an ad for RT the video is amusing, but the network's description of it is just another lie. Putin's propagandists are again trolling Trump and America, as they've done many times over the past few years –- and this should be taken as a warning of what they're doing as Election Day approaches.

The Lincoln Project aptly observed that the Russians "said the quiet part out loud" this time, (Which is a bad habit they share with Trump.)