In a stunning announcement that shook capitals and media centers around the globe, White House press Secretary Tony Snow read a simple statement at an extraordinary 2 a.m. press conference last night revealing that George W Bush, the 43rd President of the United States, has entered an undisclosed medical facility for therapy. No further information was forthcoming as to whether the treatment was for emotional distress, drug or alcohol abuse or just an "executive timeout" but an eyewitness claims the decision for the President to enter rehab was anything but voluntary.
According to a pedestrian taking a late night stroll past the White House on the way back to her hotel, "he was putting up an awful fuss." The middle aged government employee from Joliet, Illinois, who prefers to remain anonymous, went on to describe an unidentified white male screaming "I don't want to go to sleep away camp. I'm the decider. I'm the decider," before a blue blanket was thrown over his head and he was hustled down the front steps into an unmarked emergency vehicle that sped away from the White House grounds in a westerly direction. Speculation centers on whether the President's final destination was Bethesda Naval Hospital or the refrigerated hold of a Fed Ex cargo plane bound for the Thai island of Phuket.
Avoiding the subject of his Commander-in-Chief's absence completely, Vice President Dick Cheney addressed a hastily assembled joint session of Congress to reassure the country and the world that America's ship of state would stay the course and little if anything would change. On both sides of the aisle, several shoulders were seen to slump at the news. After the Acting President's speech, in a secure ladies' room inside the Capitol, a high-level source claims to have observed Betty Ford pat First Lady Laura Bush's hand in a "there, there" gesture while Condoleezza Rice weeped uncontrollably behind a locked stall. Because of the hour, most foreign leaders were unavailable for comment but Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom was reported to have muttered, "Thank God," after receiving the news at 10 Downing Street.
Some experts call this unprecedented action an attempt by the Administration to elicit sympathy in the face of a botched war and plummeting poll numbers. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee sociologist Dr. Deborah Camp called the move "as repellent and transparent as cellophane shoes." She went on to elaborate. "It's a dance of repentance, but they seemed to have skipped the step where the luminary publicly admits to bad behavior then disappears. Maybe this is a reverse strategy, which has been their standard procedure."
Her colleague, Dr. Robert Bielefeld, theorized the President was the subject of an intervention, but doesn't hold out hope for a lasting cure. "Most celebrities, especially politicians, aren't serious about changing their behavior. Certainly not those who disappear for a few weeks to vaguely defined, unsupervised counseling programs complete with open pharmacies, HBO, and stripper poles planted around the pool."
The President follows in the fresh footsteps of a slew of renown rehab patients such as boxer Mike Tyson, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, the Reverend Ted Haggard, Congressman Mark Foley, Miss USA Tara Connor, who-knows-what-the-hell-he-does Michael Richards, actors Mel Gibson, Lindsay Lohan, Robin Williams, Isaiah Washington, Robert Downey, Jr, nine Cincinnati Bengals, 4 entire NBA teams, Panama, and about three quarters of the Kennedy clan. Internet rumors to the effect that the President is sharing Courtney Love's old room with actor Crispin Glover have not been confirmed.
Comic, writer, actor, former radio talk show host, and bartender Will Durst speculates the blue blanket was a childhood favorite from the ranch in Crawford.