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10 HOURS IN FEBRUARY
By Dan Balz and Bob Woodward
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, February 22, 2002; Page A01
During the course of just one calendar day earlier this month, President
George W. Bush saved the world from nuclear extinction, discovered a cure for
all life threatening disease (without harming any fetal tissue), and averted the
worst economic disaster since the Great Depression. Typically, after completing
this amazing trifecta, the well grounded chief executive still had time to turn
fish into loaves and establish a new point record while playing the video game Lara
Croft: Tomb Raider that may never be approached, much less equaled.
The reporters of this story were provided with unconditional and
unprecedented access to the inner workings of the Bush administration, with the
sole proviso being that we would mindlessly swallow whatever implausible
bullshit the president’s aides fed to us.
It all started early on Sunday, February 10. The president began this fateful
day by rising at four o’clock in the morning to memorize the Federal Registry.
Haggard aides, who reluctantly admitted to being exhausted by the grueling
schedule of the boss they secretly refer to as “The Brain”, conceded that
Bush’s encyclopedic knowledge is intimidating.
“It’s like working for Albert Einstein”, said one dazzled advisor,
“if Einstein had been really, really smart.”
Before sunrise, Bush was interrupted by an urgent call from the Pentagon.
Nuclear war threatened to break out between India and Pakistan.
A lesser president might not have been equipped for the task of saving the
world from obliteration, or perhaps would have been too busy to even try, as a
result of being preoccupied with doing dreadful things to an intern young enough
to be his daughter.
Over the course of a lifetime, George W. Bush had relentlessly trained his
mind and soul for a moment just like this. Prepared by his many rigorous years
of intense academic reflection on the region’s socioeconomic, religious, and
geopolitical factors, the president displayed his profound understanding of the
nuances of the sub-Asian continent. His sophisticated approach having been honed
by countless hours spent studying the Kama Sutra, Bush quickly defused the tense
situation. Like a grandmaster at chess, he deftly employed subtle psychological
techniques to maneuver the belligerent combatants into aligning with each other
and forgoing further conflict.
“Our commander in chief was the ultimate statesman,” said a beaming
senior staff member. “Within an hour, he brought the two sides together. The
prime ministers of both countries were on their knees, literally crying and
begging him to stop reciting “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”.
By mid morning, the president was conscientiously maintaining his peak
physical fitness by running on the treadmill in the White House gym. Top aides
revealed that, while exercising, Bush enjoys computing complex abstract
mathematical calculations in his head. On this day, by focusing on the
properties of linear regression within the context of quantum physics, he was
able to devise a formula that guarantees human immortality. With characteristic
enthusiasm, the president excitedly informed leaders of Congress, only to be
frustrated by Washington gridlock and the politics of personal destruction.
“It was Tom Daschle,” confided an aide. “He was obstructionist. If not
for the Daschle Democrats, we would all now be able to live forever in perfect
health. Please don’t write this, or the voters might punish our political
opponents at election time.”
Though disappointed by the Democratic Party’s obsessive lust to inflict
death on the American people, Bush again demonstrated his admirable resiliency.
In the early afternoon, the president’s keen political antennae alerted him to
the fact that Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan intended to raise
the discount rate to 23%. Twenty three is a sacred number to Greenspan, because
it is the I.Q. of his wife, NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell.
Realizing that dramatically raising interest rates would eliminate corporate
borrowing, destroy the economy, and make the pie lower, America’s vigilant
chief executive sprung into action. Using the brawny strength he acquired while
single-handedly leading massive cattle drives through the badlands of West
Texas, Bush hurled the startled Fed Chairman to the ground and skillfully
applied a titty twister until the chastened Greenspan relented.
The economy was saved. Untold tens of millions of citizens were spared from
financial ruin. Yet, such is the humility of America’s guiding light that no
one would have ever known about his act of heroism if the Post were not
breaking the story now.
Well placed sources throughout the administration stated, on and off the
record, that they believe it is a great thing that Mr. Bush is in the White
House. Not a single Bush aide, regardless of age or ethnic background, expressed
any indication that he or she wishes Al Gore were president. Seasoned political
observers can only interpret this diverse unanimity of opinion as being a
bellwether of the country at large.
The performance of George W. Bush has been at once awe inspiring and
comforting in a deeply spiritual way. His mastery is such that the concept of
objective journalism now seems to be quaint and obsolete.
As one venerable Washington journalist summarized it, “Earning big bucks
and social acceptance inside the Beltway for obsequiously extolling the virtues
of an establishment favorite sure beats the hell out of fearing for your life
while meeting a whistleblower in some goddamned underground parking garage.”