OCTOBER, 2004. President Bush's poll ratings against Senator John Kerry are back up to 51% after temporarily dropping to 44% when ABC's Nightline broadcast footage of him raping a baby in the Oval Office.
"He's been under a lot of stress," says Missouri voter Richard Carmody. "With the media picking on him while he's trying to fight the war on terror, I'm not surprised that he needed to blow off a little steam."
Florida voter Marjorie Winburn agreed. "With the terrorist threat, I have to trust the President and trust God. I'm not saying the baby deserved it necessarily, just that things happen for a reason."
"I don't care what he does," says New Mexico voter Rod Ecklund. "Ever since I saw the World Trade Center collapse on television, I will only accept leaders who see the world in black and white and never admit mistakes. The key is that he did not apologize for raping the baby. That would be showing weakness."
ABC has apologized for the broadcast, calling it "disgusting" and "inappropriate," but still stands to lose billions of dollars, in fines from the FCC and lawsuits from the Republican Party and numerous family groups. Ted Koppel, who called the President's behavior "unacceptable," and was subsequently fired for showing partisanship, has not returned phone calls. The scandal has put a hush over the media which should last through the election, as a number of reporters and columnists have lost their jobs for referring to the President as a "rapist." A cowed Dan Rather mumbled, "He's my commander in chief. If he says rape a baby, I say 'how hard?'"
The Kerry campaign, predictably, has attacked Bush on the issue, but their message is failing to resonate with voters. "I'm sick of all the negative campaigning," says Ohio voter Carol Lankman. "The Republican message is positive and clear: The economy is getting better and we're winning the war on terror. That's what I need to hear, since I lost my job and my husband got killed in Iraq."
Columnist Christopher Hitchens agreed. "Ooo, baby rape is bad -- what a cliche! The important issue here, as always, is the American left's deplorable lack of originality."
But liberals are not giving up just yet. Michael Moore has kicked off a multi-state "Bush is a baby raper" tour. Says Moore, "All across this country I see crowds cheering me, whom I interpret as a representative sample of Americans, so I believe that the American people are sane, progressive, and clear-thinking. If only Ralph Nader will drop out, we can end poverty, reduce corporate influence, avoid military interventions, change our culture of consumption, and save the earth, just like we did under Clinton."