Washington, D.C. - As part of what the president has dubbed his "National Healing Initiative," Mr. Obama announced late yesterday that the next recipient of the prestigious Medal of Honor will be former President George W. Bush. This most recent gesture of President Obama's post-election goodwill toward Republicans has stunned Washington insiders and the public alike, especially those who have accused him of being reluctant to take bold action since coming to Washington.
Mr. Obama issued only a brief statement, saying, "It is time to recognize the courage and unwavering conviction that marked President Bush's time in office." At a meeting with reporters earlier today White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs gave a fuller explanation for this unexpected decision.
Just prior to this press briefing anonymous leaks from inside the White House revealed the extent to which the president had been stung by criticism from Christian conservative columnist Bryan Fischer of the American Family Foundation. Fischer accused Mr. Obama of sullying the Medal of Honor and rendering it "feminized" by awarding it to Army Sgt. Salvatore Giunta. While Giunta faced fierce enemy fire in order to rescue his fellow soldiers, he hadn't actually killed any Afghans in the process. As Fischer put it, "When are we going to start awarding the Medal of Honor once again for soldiers who kill people and break things, so our families can sleep safely at night?"
When reporters at the briefing directly asked if this leaked account of the president's motives were true, White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs hedged a bit, saying, "The president has always been willing to consider good ideas from across the political spectrum, whether they come from conservatives or moderates."
After fielding more than an hour of questions, the visibly exhausted Mr. Gibbs responded more frankly to the puzzled reporters' unrelenting inquiries,
You must admit that this administration has a good track record of taking to heart the concerns of the theocrat-American community. From the very beginning the president has signaled his flexibility with regard to the principles on which he campaigned. That's why he reached out to pastor Rick Warren and asked him to give the inaugural invocation. Like Pastor Warren, Bryan Fischer is a devout man who does not want us to forget the muscular side of Jesus. And who can dispute the notion that for too long government has rewarded helping people at the cost of encouraging more manly virtues.
When it comes down to it, saving folks is for sissies. The president feels it is time to recognize those who have honored the homeland by wielding death and destruction to a degree that far exceeds the call of duty. And no one better exemplifies this sort of determination than George W. Bush.
Gibbs went on to describe the details Mr. Bush's heroics,
He was armed with little more than an urge to kick Iraqi butt, and a refusal to be pussy-whipped by the UN or so-called facts on the ground. Undaunted, President Bush exposed himself to withering criticism from antiwar activists -- most of whom were card-carrying professional leftists who marched loudly, carried big threatening placards, and had really mean expressions. Resistance of this magnitude would have felled lesser men. But not George W. Bush, whose spine only stiffened as he prepared to invade and occupy Iraq.
The death toll was impressive: at least 100,000 Iraqi civilians and 4400 American soldiers. The destruction of infrastructure, historical artifacts, and the culture as a whole has been truly awe-inspiring. Mr. Bush and his team really knew how to break stuff. And none of this was diminished by saving anyone, or by any other sort of girly action.
In spite of this explanation for why Mr. Obama chose to confer such an extraordinary honor on his Republican predecessor, many in Washington are still in shock. Perhaps most surprising is that the president's vision of post-partisan harmony seems to have been unaffected by attacks just days earlier from Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Mr. McConnell said his central goal over the next two years would be "to see Barack Hussein Obama's head on a spike."
The Kentucky Senator also promised that once the GOP finally controls all branches of government in 2012, their first act, after removing all the solar panels from the White House, would be to return black-faced lawn jockeys to its grounds. Determined to maintain a posture of generosity toward his political opponents, the president responded with his usual unperturbed tolerance, "Look, my friends across the aisle are fond of colorful language. I know that deep down they care about the same things we all do, making America a better place and restoring hope for our children's future."
Late today Mr. Obama seemed determined to outdo his bighearted gesture of yesterday by giving in to a long-standing demand of his Republican critics to discontinue the tradition of Thanksgiving turkey pardons. From now on the White House turkey will be blindfolded and flown to an unnamed Baltic country, where it will be waterboarded prior to its execution.
In a rare expression of approval from a prominent GOP spokesperson, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin applauded the change in policy, pointing out that, "This sends an important message in the war on terror. Everyone knows that turkeys come from a country that has an admitted Muslimite government. Is America supposed to just sit back and wait for them to gobble us like Khrushchev threatened to do?"