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Made up news: How Obama and the Repubs got within three letters of a deal

Another deal to end the economy-threatening debt-ceiling impasse fell apart a few minutes ago over the inability of Pres. Obama and the Republican congressional leadership to agree on a single three-letter word on a t-shirt.

Based on accounts of those who were in the middle of the negotiations but who insisted on anonymity because absolutely none of what follows is true, the latest near-miss came down thusly:

Pres. Obama offered to give up his last demand for any kind of tax increase, excuse me, "new revenue," as part of the spending-cuts-in-exchange-for-not-wrecking-the-economy deal, if he could nonetheless publicly state that the final deal was “balanced” and Republicans would not call him a liar until the first Wedneday after the first Monday of November 2012.

Speaker John Boehner and Leader Mitch McConnell said that they would lose some support in the Tea Party wings of their caucuses if they went along with the no-calling-me-a-liar demand, but that they would go along with it if Obama would agree to make a public statement and sign a legally-binding document before the final Congressional vote was taken pledging that he would not run for reelection.

The parties were moments away from a handshake on that deal, when Mr. Obama mentioned that if he agreed to stand down in 2012 and then made a comeback in 2016, that would not technically constitute running for “reelection.” McConnell rejected that proviso, since he has promised to make Mr. Obama a “one-term president” and that language could not be reconciled with the idea of a second non-consecutive term.

As the stock market tanked on rumors that the deal had fallen through, Mr. Obama made a last effort to bridge the gap, offering to run for reelection in 2012 but to endorse whomever the Republican Party nominates to run against him. But, Obama demanded, if he agrees to endorse his opponent, Boehner and McConnell would have to wear a t-shirt, starting immediately and continuing until the next election, reading in large type “Republicans are not right about everything.”

Leaked word of the new possible breakthrough buoyed the markets briefly until Boehner and McConnell gravely faced a post-meeting news gaggle and revealed that they had agreed to everything about the T-shirt deal except for the single word “not.” Boehner expressed incredulity that, as he put it, “the president would allow the U.S. economy to crash over a three-letter word.”

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Comments (7)

I'm confused. Is this a joke? I guess I'll see what The Onion has on this.

Yes, Doc. It's a satire.

I call it much needed comic relief!


1. I know it's satire.

2. It describes exactly like what's happening.

Thanks, Eric. Sorry to seem obtuse, but as the preceding commenter says, these days nothing's too far-fetched. Truth is funnier, or more appalling, than fiction.

Perhaps the takeaway here is that it's getting harder to write satire that is recognizable as such, because "reality" is becoming increasingly bizarre.

Some days, it's enough to give one whiplash. For example, and for the first time in memory, I find myself in agreement with both Pawlenty and Bachmann, and the experience is completely disorienting. She said his handling of the state budget was incompetent, and he said she hasn't accomplished anything, legislatively speaking. Uh huh, yup, well, OK then. What he/she said...