US President George W. Bush threw his full support behind Republican White House candidate John McCain yesterday, saying he was prepared to pass the presidential baton to the veteran senator from Arizona. "I believe that Senator McCain is ready to take up my mantle and become America's next international figure of ridicule," Bush asserted during a lengthy press conference.
The President identified a range of qualities in McCain which he saw as ideal fodder for satirists. "First, he's real old," chuckled Bush, "and old people are always real funny". Bush, while characterising himself as "pretty dumb, kinda' insincere and sorta' simian", argued his potential successor "has what it takes to generate plenty of humorous material".
"He's an old guy who says he's a military hero, even though he crashed pretty much every plane he flew," grinned Bush. "How many air force pilots have managed fly their aircraft into the sea and collide with power lines in Spain before they even get a combat assignment?" Bush also hinted that McCain's stance on the Iraq conflict showed how out-of-touch he was. Furthermore, noted the President, McCain's "comical disabilities" were sure to generate amusement.
"I know I raised the bar high for future Presidents when it comes to being laughed at," said Bush. "I've been really easy to parody; in fact, I think I've become my own parody - I'm kinda' a parody of myself. But I reckon John McCain would be feeling pretty confident that he can follow in my footsteps, and maybe one day he will be able to say the same thing."
Political commentators have echoed the President's views, suggesting McCain's dated policies, tendency for hot-headed comments and profanity and over-involvement in the military are sure to provide plentiful opportunities for lampoons, jokes and spoofs. "Not only is he an intrinsically funny individual," said the New York Times' Quentin Cohen, "but he's made to look even more ridiculous when he's compared to Obama, I mean, Christ. Oh, no - I do mean Obama."
Henry Henry, Washington, 2008.