Art Buchwald: Santa Bush Finds An Election in the Bag, The Washington Post, December 12, 2003

As you may have guessed by now, the White House has a think tank devoted to show business.

It is dedicated to coming up with spectaculars for the president, such as having Mr. Bush land on the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier or fly to Baghdad to deliver a turkey to the American soldiers.

The latest challenge the think tank has is what to do about Christmas.

This is why they met in the screening room at the White House.

One of the think tank people said, "Christmas is not only the holiest day of the year, it also is the greatest time for a presidential photo op."

A second one said, "I thought the prez lighting the Christmas tree was a big hit."

"Every president lights the Christmas tree -- even Bill Clinton."

A third person said, "Because of our previous events, we have created our own monster. People expect Bush to surprise them and come up with the unexpected. But what?"

"How about him dancing onstage in 'The Nutcracker Suite?' "

"That would only impress ballet fans."

"Why don't we have him go to France ? Instead of turkey, he could serve quail to the French Foreign Legion."

The team was silent. Then a fifth think-tanker said, "I've got it. The president appears as Santa Claus signing the budget in the Oval Office."

"The idea of being Santa Claus is a good one, but having him sign another bill is not show business."

"Wait a minute. Suppose we dress Bush up as Santa Claus and have him give one of his Republican fundraising speeches, starting with, 'Ho, ho, ho.'

"And after he makes the speech, he gets on a sled called 'Santa Claus One' and flies off into the night shouting, 'On Cheney! On Condoleezza! On Rummy! On Powell! On Wolfowitz!' and 'On Tenet!' "

"Isn't that dangerous?"

"He will have a fighter escort and carry seven pool reporters."

"What will he be carrying in his sack?"

"How about weapons of mass destruction? He will deliver them. He will drop one down each chimney."

"Each present will be marked 'Made in Iraq .' "

"And with each WMD, there will be a note on White House stationery: 'I will remain Santa for as long as it takes.' "

"Does this mean he can't spend Christmas Eve with his family in Crawford?"

"Of course he can't, at least not with an election coming up."

"We have to keep the plan secret because we want the voters to believe there really is a Santa Claus."

Everyone in the think tank was excited.

"This beats the show at Radio City Music Hall ."

"It even beats Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade."

"Let's take it to Karl Rove."

"He's never turned down one of our ideas yet."

"He appreciates what show business does for politics."

"This won't cost much. All we need is a Santa suit, a bag of WMDs, eight reindeer and a pear tree."

"And a banner flying behind the sled that reads, 'MERRY CHRISTMAS -- MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.' "

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