In an obvious election year move, the Democratic and Republican parties have hired veteran comedians to add some much needed flair to political speeches and congressional debates.
On Monday, Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean announced that his party has been secretly using octogenarian insult comic Don Rickles as a speechwriter for the past few weeks but just now announced it publicly in response to the GOP's announcement last week that they planned on hiring noted conservative hurmourists to helm their words.
"George W. Bush married to Laura Bush is like me trying to wash the Empire State Building with a bar of soap," said Dean, commenting on President Bush's low approval rating which is now under 35 percent. "Did you see Bush on his ranch the other day? I guess he still loves nature - in spite of what it did to him."
A heated partisan discussion that took place in the Senate this morning has been replayed endlessly on the cable networks and debated by pundits looking for clues at to what effect such new style debates may have on political discourse in Washington DC.
"Who picks your clothes - Stevie Wonder?" said Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) to Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist (R-MI) during a Senate debate on immigration reform.
Senator Arlen Spector (R-PA) jumped in to defuse the situation, saying that he personally had always found Frist to be a "smart dresser", but Clinton shot back at Spector: "Oh my God, look at you. Anyone else hurt in the accident?"
"You know you're a liberal if you're idea of national security is letting a member of Al Qaeda sleep in your guest bedroom," an angry Frist then quipped. "You also know you're a liberal if you spend so much time flip flopping that you're head bobs up and down when you walk like a turkey."
"That's real funny, you hockey puck," retorted Clinton. "You morons hired Jeff Foxworthy, didn't you? What year are you living in, 1993?"
Not to be outdone, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid jumped into the frey. After Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) scolded Clinton for her remarks, Reid said to Graham: "Can I borrow your face for a few days? My ass is going on holiday."
If the immigration bill - which includes a provision for building a fortress-like wall between the US and Mexico at a cost of billions of dollars - goes through, Democrats have threatened to fillibustre by reading the complete works of political humourist and former Saturday Night Live writer Al Franken (author of "Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot") until GOP senators back down.
Political pundits have been noting that unfortunately for the GOP, conservative and moderate Republicans do not seem to have figured out how to deliver a joke, unlike their Democratic counterparts. While Democrats such as Clinton and Reid have had their liberal ways with a zinger in the past few weeks, Republicans' "you know you're a liberal if..." jokes have not polled well with Americans - only 13 percent of the public finds the lines amusing, while 64 percent finds them "obnoxious or unfunny". Furthermore, a majority of Americans (64 percent) do not think conservatives have "any sense of humour at all".
Even 124-year old Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) has been getting in on the action, addressing the Senate during a debate on lobbying reform earlier today. "Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please," said Byrd, quoting celebrated American humourist Mark Twain, a childhood friend.
Oddly, given the lackluster performance of his administration and his historically low approval rating, the only Republican that seems to have any sense of humour as of late is President Bush.
Rumours that neo-conservative comedian Dennis Miller has been hired as a presidential speechwriter have been making the rounds since the president's trip to Mexico several days ago, where he met with Mexican President Vincente Fox and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. When the president was asked by a reporter to comment about the immigration bill that is currently making the rounds through Congress, instead of his usual folksy delivery, Bush shocked those in attendance with a Miller-style rant.
"To an outsider, Washington at best would be like the Vince Lombardi rest stop along the Jersey Turnpike," said Bush. "All right, enough qualifying, let's get on with it. There's no doubt that passions run high on both sides, and this issue has created a divide in America not seen since Carly Simon last yawned in public. The prevailing opinions on immigration are going further to the right than a Greg Norman tee shot."
When an obviously startled Fox turned to Harper, unable to figure out how to react to the president's uncharacteristic witticisms, Bush delivered the line: "Hey Vinceman, I don't want you to turn the other cheek - it's just as ugly."
The president then turned his newfound comic venom on Harper. "Yo Harpie, don't you need a license to be that fat? You remind me of Dom Deluise after a late night pie eating competition at Brando's place. You look more bloated than the Goodyear blimp after an oxygen binge," said Bush to the embarrassed Canadian leader.
Before Bush could be lead away by aids, he yelled another doozy at Fox. "Hey Foxy, I've seen people like you before, but I had to pay admission," said the president to the towering Fox, who stands 6'6.
"I think the president just got a bit carried away," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan in an apparent apology to Fox. "As you probably know, we've hired some new speechwriters around here to shake things up a bit and President Bush really did not mean anything by his remarks. He greatly admires the Mexican people, especially their Olympic team. Oh wait, Mexico doesn't have an Olympic team because every Mexican that can run, jump, and swim is already across the border. Ha! I've been waiting to use that one all morning."
The Mexican ambassador refused to comment, except to say in a press release that Mexico actually does send Olympic teams to both the summer and winter games.