WASHINGTON, DC—In a televised address to the nation Monday, President Bush announced that the U.S. is in "desperate need of thousands of registered Democrats" to conduct what he called an "extremely important mission" to begin immediately and continue at least until the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
"This mission is absolutely vital, for the next week to 10 days will determine the future of our country," said Bush, who would not reveal what the operation entailed, only to say that it was "highly classified."
"We are calling on the most stalwart Democrats in the land," Bush said. "In fact, they are the only ones capable of making it a success."
Although details were limited, an unnamed administration official revealed that, on Wednesday, November 1, registered Democrats will be asked to report to designated government rendezvous points such as post offices and military recruiting centers. Once there, they will be registered, fingerprinted, and issued one-piece jumpsuits, bedding, and canteens of drinking water, then directed to board brown school buses bound for an undisclosed location or locations.
"Certainly it will mean sacrifice, and possibly a prolonged absence from your families," Bush said. "We need at least 40,000 Democrats, but more are always welcome."
"Our very way of life depends on it," he added.
While Bush said any registered Democrat is eligible to participate, those who reside in Arizona's Fifth, Ohio's First, and Pennsylvania's Eighth Congressional Districts are most needed to ensure the mission's success. Democrats from New Jersey, Missouri, Tennessee, and "especially Virginia" were also strongly encouraged to volunteer.
Bush also called on the 64 percent of citizens upset with the handling of the situation in Iraq, the 80 percent who think Congress is doing a poor job, and the 63 percent who disapprove of his own job performance as "supremely qualified for the special task."
Bush added that the same liberal voters with whom his administration has traditionally been at odds would be "warmly welcomed and fully accommodated." Bush appealed to Democrats' "noble hearts," describing his traditional political foes as "a breed apart—passionate, dedicated Americans who can really make a difference."
"Staunch supporters of abortion rights, reduced dependence on foreign oil, gay marriage, and a national system of health care: We need you now more than ever," Bush said. "Registered Democrats in Michigan and Georgia who believe that the federal minimum wage needs to be increased and that global warming is being inadequately addressed are perfectly suited for such a selfless venture."
Bush's announcement drew an enthusiastic reaction from a Republican Congress dispirited by a series of scandals and criticism over its lackluster legislative performance.
“I am delighted that, in this arduous midterm election season, the White House is finally reaching across the aisle to these fine, vigilant individuals,” said Sen. Rick Santorum (R–PA), who is up for re-election around the same time as the proposed mission. "Despite our differences, I know the Democrats of my home state are the kinds of folks the president is talking about—strong, devoted, caring people who support stem-cell research and stronger gun laws."
Acknowledging the "tough times and hardship" endured by soldiers stationed in Iraq, Bush also announced plans to give the entire military the day off on Nov. 7 so they can take some time to "relax, reflect, and vote."