Sen. John McCain, who has locked up the GOP nomination, was chased down in the parking lot of a Phoenix shopping mall today and persuaded to remove his Kevlar helmet and body armor. He had been driving his SUV around this sprawling desert city all afternoon on a fact-finding tour in the belief that he was in Baghdad.
"The hot sun, the flat desert terrain, those Latinos the spitting image of Sunnis and Shiites -- I naturally thought I was in Iraq," the Arizona senator explained. "Besides, Lieberman [campaign adviser Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.)] wasn't around today. Lieberman always knows where I am."
The war-hero-turned-lawmaker told reporters that his inspection tour was nonetheless highly useful. "I found Phoenix has many of the same problems as Baghdad," McCain said, "the terrorist hideouts are so well hidden you couldn't find a single one, for example. And the Al Qaeda operatives in our midst are as invisible here as they are over there. And the gas shortage is so acute that a gallon costs four dollars.
"But, all in all, I was greatly encouraged by the progress. I'd estimate Phoenix to be 99 percent pacified today. The city is so safe I could have shot a few baskets with the troops, if I'd found any. Must have all been shipped home. The car washes are up and running, I saw long lines at the Cineplex, and when I put my finger in a socket there was lots of electricity."
"I'd asked my wife Cindy to join me on the tour this morning," the jubilant senator added. "But she said she had a golf date. Maybe that should have tipped me off."
For more great political news and opinion, go to the Washington Independent.
Bruce McCall, a humorist, is a regular contributor to the New Yorker and Vanity Fair. He is the author of "All Meat Looks Like South America: The World of Bruce McCall" and "Zany Afternoons."
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