Dispatches from an Alternate Universe

[Note: this past week, the following news article appeared on the front page of the New York Times in an alternate universe in which, for reasons unexplained, George W. Bush is still president and is making some of this-universe Obama’s mistakes. Meanwhile, that universe’s still-Senator Barack Obama is running against him. Get it? ‘Cause you need that sort of exposition to make sense of what follows.]

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CONTINUED FALLOUT FROM BUSH’S EGYPT MISTAKES
Bush campaign tries to change subject as riots intensify

Fury at President George W. Bush’s diplomatic blunder, in which he identified Egypt as “not our ally, but not our enemy, either,” continued to fuel the anti-American demonstrations throughout the Middle East that have left four American diplomats dead. The president’s remarks further undermined confidence in the Bush administration policies that experts say have thoroughly destabilized the region. The president, who spent the evening of the embassy attack in Libya at a Las Vegas fundraiser, was unavailable for comment, although some observers noted seeing a figure who looked “very much like Dubya” at the Caesar’s Palace craps tables.

“It’s simply inexcusable to have a sitting president ignore a long-time alliance like that,” said former President Jimmy Carter, who has been a harsh critic of Bush administration policies. “In an instant, the president turned his back on over forty years of diplomacy. That’s a tremendous blow to American credibility.” Mr. Carter also noted the fact that, in an unprecedented move, the Bush State Department was forced to contradict the president and reassert that Egypt is, in fact, an American ally. “Seriously, what president has to do that?” Carter asked. “Even I didn’t suck that bad.”

The State Department today also conceded that attacks against the American Embassy in Libya embassy may have been pre-planned and not fueled solely by outrage over “Mohammed is a Bunghole,” an obscure and poorly-made YouTube video insulting Islam’s founder. The admission drew sharp criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which held a press conference last night to denounce the “Patriot-Act-driven chilling effect” on First Amendment free speech rights demonstrated by the arrest and detention of the filmmaker responsible for the YouTube video. The arrest came on grounds of “parole violation,” grounds that many law enforcement officers at the scene viewed as suspect.

“There’s no parole violation, you kidding me?” said one police officer who asked not to be identified. “This is just pressure from the Bush administration, absolutely. They can’t very well say they’re locking him up for making a movie, can they? F*&%ing free speech and all that. ”

Susan N. Herman, President of the ACLU, called the filmmaker’s arrest “the very kind of abuse of the Patriot Act that George W. Bush assured us would never be a problem. What a butt that guy is.” Even several prominent Republicans were willing to criticize the president’s actions, with former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. calling the Bush response to the situation “a total craphole of a piece of crap” before mumbling to himself in Chinese.

For his part, Democratic Presidential Nominee Barack Obama held an impromptu press conference the night of the attacks, in which he issued a statement forcefully denouncing the president’s “apology for American freedoms and ignorance of America’s friends,” a statement that has been widely praised by people across the political spectrum, with Jon Huntsman, Jr. a Republican, claiming “that Obama fellow is very well-spoken and very, very good-looking.”

The Bush campaign has scrambled to change the subject, even releasing an illegally recorded and selectively edited tape from an Obama fundraiser from months ago, in which Senator Obama expresses empathy for voters who receive government benefits. Law enforcement officials have traced the tape’s origin to Frank Nixon IV, a grandson of former President Richard Nixon, who is currently unemployed and, frankly, a tad overweight.

There is increased speculation of how this will affect the president’s already dismal poll numbers. Today’s New York Times daily tracking poll has Barack Obama leading in all fifty states by a margin of 97% to 5%, with -2% undecided. The poll was taken from a random sample of 800 members of Senator Obama’s immediate and extended family, as well as some members of his circle of friends.

Defying Expectations
Spine

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