"The White House today announced that prior to his leaving for his victory tour of NATO, the President issued a signing statement announcing that he was not bound by the Constitution's term limits. As a result of overwhelming public demand, Bush said, he would seek a third term.
"It would be irresponsible to leave Iraq, Afghanistan, and the US economy in near shambles without finishing the job," the President said. "And besides, Dick Cheney says there's so much more he can do for the nation's honor with another four years."
At a White House briefing, Dana Perino parried questions from an astonished press corps. When MSNBC's Gregory asked Perino if the President "hasn't gone too far," she noted that Bush's actions were no more unconstitutional than dozens of other actions the President has taken in the last eight years, and all of them had been eventually sanctioned by the Democrats and the media.
"We've broken treaties, waged aggressive wars, committed war crimes, kidnapped people, tortured them, put them in secret prisons, suspended habeas corpus, politicized the Justice Department, demolished the Fourth Amendment, defied Congress' requests for information, corrupted the regulatory system, kept a three trillion dollar war off budget while adding trillions to the national debt, and presided over the worst economic stewardship since Herber Hoover." "Why are you making such a fuss about this," Perino asked? Perino did not respond to Helen Thomas' who asked, "why shouldn't the American people run you crooks out of town?"
Official Washington was shocked by the White House announcement, although reactions were spllt along party lines. Democrats denounced the President's decision, promising that they would try to pass a resolution condemning the President's decision. Senate leaders said they might even try to attach the non-binding resolution to the next Iraq funding authorization. "This will not stand," Senator Reid declared. In the House, reporters asked Speaker Pelosi whether she thought the House should consider impeachment proceedings, but Pelosi claimed that impeachment proceedings would be a distraction for the entire third term.
Speaking from the campaign trail, Senator Clinton said the President's actions were "too little, too late." She added, "If I got a third term, I'd be ready on day one." Senator Obama gave a major policy speech explaining that this was the inevitable result of indulging a frat-boy President without any accountability, and that both parties must bear some responsibility. "We need a different kind of President," he declared.
Most Republicans expressed support for the President's decision. "We're teetering on the brink of the worst recession since the Great Depression and in the middle of an endless war and it's clear only this President has the faith to think we can get out of this mess," said Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader. Other Republicans, speaking anonymously, hinted they were relieved; they were fearful of a McCain Presidency because, they said, in some "McCain moment," he might become confused or angry and start a war with the wrong country for no reason.
John McCain expressed his support for what he called the President's "courageous decision," noting that all he ever wanted to do was serve a Presidency larger than himself. Speaking to reporters, McCain first noted that he supported Bush's decision to invade Iran after 9/11, but when told by Senator Lieberman that Bush had invaded Iraq, McCain changed his statement to refer to "those extremist Arabs." Reporters then overheard Lindsey Graham whispering "they're Persians, John; Persians." "Oh yeah," McCain added, "that's what I meant."
Talk show host Rush Limbaugh called the President's decision, "the most patriotic act I've ever seen. We've finally got a President who understands that what America needs is strong ruler to keep the liberals' hands off our country." Lou Dobbs, however, asked whether the President's decision wasn't a secret socio-ethno-centric plan to reintroduce amnesty for lawless aliens.
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann promised "the mother of all special commentaries" tonight.
Predictably, the liberal blogosphere was apoplectic. Several noted that Bush had previously said he would not seek a third term, while others focused on the fact that McCain had repeatedly confused Persians and Arabs. Kos, not negotiating to sell out to Rupert Murdoch, (h/t LS) promised to add a new panel to the next Yearly Kos to discuss what to do, but it's likely to include another petition.
Happy April 1st, everyone."