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President’s Approval Drops; Terror Alert Should Come Thursday

WASHINGTON – President Bush’s approval rating has dipped down to just 44%, the lowest of his presidency. Congress got an even lower rating, with just 37% of Americans polled saying they approve of the job it’s doing. As a result of the president’s low numbers, the White House announced Friday that the public should expect a new terror alert by Thursday of this week.

“I think we’re looking at something along the lines of a ‘soft target’ kind of thing,” White House spokesman Scott McClellan said in a press briefing Friday afternoon. “Something like, ‘chatter is up, shopping malls mentioned.’ We definitely won’t go anywhere near red. We don’t want to alarm people to the point of taking action. We just want to keep them glazed with a stupefied numbness, frightened enough to realize they need this president and this administration to protect them from the terrifying menace of terrorism, but not so frightened that they start to demand a level of performance from us. It’s a subtle difference. It has to do with the part of the brain that processes propaganda related to one’s own safety, what I like to call the Cerebinladenbellum.”

When asked if the alert was above all a much needed diversion from the issues that are causing the president’s slide, such as a Social Security plan that hasn’t gained support, high gasoline prices and an ongoing war in Iraq, McClellan said, “Oh, no, not at all. I find that question insulting, to be quite frank. Look, there! A bearded dark-skinned man! Is that a dirty bomb he’s holding?”

When the briefing resumed, McClellan continued, “It’s a win-win, this whole alert thing, because people cling to things that are safe and nonthreatening when they’re in a constant state of muted fright, like terrible sitcoms and Cinnabons. So the economy gets a boost. Although we may have to encourage people to shop a great deal Tuesday and Wednesday at the malls, since Thursday they might not want to go so much for fear of being blown to pieces.”

President Bush, when asked about the dipping numbers, said, “Well, hey, I’m doing better than Congress. What were they at, 30-something percent? I always say, if you can’t do well, at least do better than the guy who’s doing worse than you. I say to the twins sometimes, if they do bad on a test, get a 50 or whatever, I say, ‘Yeah, but was there someone who did worse?’ And they say, ‘Yeah, the kid with the learning disability got a 13.’ And I say, ‘See? There you go. Compared to him, you’re awful smart.’ And it’s the same thing with the presidency.”