As she lurched towards an unfortunate demise in the Democratic Primary election, Hillary Clinton sought out Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and appeared to blame him for her failure to defeat Barack Obama.
Last week, a Clinton campaign operative placed a phone call to Zuckerberg, choosing a less than optimal time of the morning. When Zuckerberg picked up, the New York Senator came on the line to firmly state her views.
"Mr. Zuckerberg. You and your friendsters- I believe that's the trendy term- are costing me the Presidency," declared the Senator.
"Um, we're Facebook, not Friendster, Ma'an," answered a groggy Zuckerberg.
"I'll be throwing the book at your face when I catch up with you, Sonny. Who the hell do you think you are making it easy for people below the age of political consent to organize?"
"There's an age of political consent?" mumbled a confused Zuckerberg.
"30, you sophomoron!" offered the Senator. "That's what my pollsters told me. 30. Under 30s vote in negligible numbers. Under thirties have sex, take drugs and express na?ve altruism. None of these things is compatible with good political judgment. History has proved it."
"History? What's history got to do with politics? Or judgment? Under 30s spend most of their day online, ma'an. In fact, you might not be aware, many under 30s actually have most of their sex online too. Although at Facebook we haven't yet been able to find a great application to help them really enjoy it."
"But you did find a way to let everyone in America give Senator Obama at least $100."
"We did?" asked Zuckerberg, feeling strangely awakened.
"Yes. This social networking thing you're pushing. My staff tells me that's how the Pretty One got most of his money. People in secret networks banding together to make a little go a long way. Like in the Gulags," said the Senator.
"Social networking is where the world's going, ma'an. It's all about sharing and honesty."
"Look, you NetWonker, social networking should be confined to Washington. Only we understand the true meaning of society. And I will pass legislation to that effect when I am elected President," said the Senator, finding new confidence in old words.
"In 2020, I'll be the same age as my good friend John McCain. And I will still be the President of the United States. Before campaigning for Chelsea."
"As for honesty, it has no place in today's suspicious and dangerous world," lectured the Senator.
"The people on Facebook quite like it. They even post petitions on the site when they think I've done something stupid," whispered Zuckerberg.
"Leaders should never admit to stupidity. My Bill never did."
"Er, OK. And how did that work for him?"
"Look, this isn't a social call, Zucky, I want you to get all your social networkers to even the playing field by giving me as much money as Obama has."
"How do you expect me to do that, ma'an?" asked Zuckerberg, offering a plaintiveness that masked true irritation.
"It's Ma'am, you dolt, Ma'am. Not ma'an. Tell them you're endorsing me and that they should each give a thousand dollars."
"A grand? Why would they do that?"
"Because they're naive and altruistic and believe in fairness and honesty."
Zuckerberg was silent for several seconds.
"And if you do I'll make you the youngest member of my Cabinet," cooed the Senator, the trump card having emerged from her lips like a rose.
"Why would I want to go into politics?" asked Zuckerberg.
"Because I'll pay you well. I made $109 million over the last few years, you know."
"Senator, I'm worth around $6billion."
"That is not possible."
"That's what I said. But it's true," said Zuckerberg, a wan smile illuminating his darkness.
"$6billion. Ah. So, um, listen, er, Marky, how about donating some, or even all, of that? To me? We have one of those website things. HillaryClinton.com."
"Why not? You're just saying that because I'm a woman."
"No, I'm just saying that because I don't want to."
At this, the Senator wagged a verbal finger of visceral stiffness: "The trouble with you young people today is that you're self-centered cynics who think you're entitled to everything."
"Where did we get that idea?"
"If you don't do what I say, I'll have an Op-Ed in the Washington Post destroying your company within 24 hours," said Clinton, never entirely out of trump cards.
"If you don't get off the phone now, ma'an, and let me get some sleep, I'll post this conversation on my Facebook page."
"You wouldn't do that."
"Senator, have you ever been on Facebook? The fourth-largest group is called 'STOP HILLARY CLINTON.' It has more than a million members. Your own Facebook page has only 158,000."
"You see. You ARE responsible for my winning second place."
"No, Senator. You are. Technology simply makes it easier for people to say what they really want to say and do what they really want to do. And I really want to go to sleep. So I'm gonna push the red button on my phone now. Good night."
"Don't you hang up on me, Sonny Jim," said the Senator, feeling suddenly cardless.
"Senator, it's three in the morning. Red button time."
With that, Zuckerberg rang off. The Senator stayed up until 4am, waiting for him to call back or for another disaster to require her attention. She waited in vain.
The next day, one of her staffers logged on to the Hillary Clinton Facebook page. There was one invitation to play Scrabulous. And one hundred and fourteen to donate to the Obama campaign.