Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell the difference.

As Russia massed troops on its border with Ukraine and sent armed provocateurs to destabilize that nation, President Obama placed a telephone call to President Vladimir Putin.

We have been fortunate enough to have obtained a transcript of their conversation. It speaks for itself, below.

White House communications aide: Mr. President, we have President Putin on secure line three.

Obama: Thanks, I’ll pick up. Hello. Hello. Vladimir, are you there?

Putin: Wa’s-u-u-u-u-up?

Obama: Wa- a-a’s-u-u-u-up?

Putin and Obama (together): Wa-a-a-a-a’s-u-u-u-u-u-u-up?

Putin: Ha, ha. I haven’t heard from you for some time. It’s been too long.

Obama: Yeah. I thought it was time to kind of catch up.

Putin: Are you calling about this Ukraine business?

Obama: Oh, that? Don’t give another thought to statements I made for public consumption. But now that you mention it, I was a bit concerned about your fighter jet buzzing our ship in the Black Sea.

Putin: Well, that’s really our sea, Barry.

Obama: Yes, yes! I agree. But I’m worried your pilot might make a mistake and crash. He was flying really low, you know.

Putin: Our pilots are highly trained. You don’t have to worry about them. I think the one in question was just showing off. You know how those fighter jocks are.

Obama: Ha, ha! I thought it was something like that. Anyway, how are you bearing up under the burdens of leadership?

Putin: I appreciate your concern, and those burdens might be … uh … burdensome, if I weren’t extremely strong and manly. But how about you? Are you catching any flack for delivering on the increased flexibility you promised us before the 2012 election?

Obama: Not a bit. Well, hardly any, unless you count Fox News and conservative talk radio. We don’t have to employ any … uh … extreme measures to keep our press under control. They fall into line without our doing anything. It’s almost like the old Soviet Union.

Putin: Those were the days! But say, I was hoping you’d tell me about Michelle and the girls’ trip to China.

Obama: I hate to tell you what that cost. In fact, I hate to tell anybody what that cost, because it was paid for by our taxpayers. I would tell you how much it was, but I don’t know myself. It’s one of many things I don’t know. In fact, the less I know about anything, the better. However, I heard somewhere that the tab for their hotel suite was $8,400 a night.

Putin: Whew! That’s pricey!

Obama: True, but it was worth it … because Michelle took her mama along.

Putin: Ha, ha, ha. We love mother-in-law jokes in Russia! But, seriously: You don’t want to talk about Ukraine?

Obama: Ukraine, schmookraine. I just wanted to maintain ties of amity with a dear friend.

Putin: I’m down with that. Must go now. Got to order up some military uniforms without any insignia on them.

Obama: Whatever! Talk to you soon, Vlad.

Putin: You bet, Barry. Goodbye.

Obama: Bye, Vlad.

Call ended

What about tradition!? I was shocked to learn that there’s a law in Ohio that makes it illegal to lie about politicians. It has been law since 1995, signed by Gov. George Voinovich, a Republican. How such an un-American statute got through the legislature and past the governor is beyond me.

At least, it’s beyond me how they can ban lying about politicians without a parallel law banning politicians from lying about themselves. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., calling herself an Indian comes to mind.

Anyway, among many other strictures, the statute says you can’t “post, publish, circulate, distribute, or otherwise disseminate a false statement concerning a candidate, either knowing the same to be false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not, if the statement is designed to promote the election, nomination, or defeat of the candidate.”

This flies in the face of the great American tradition of defaming one’s political opponents. And it breaches the First Amendment.

Where are the liberals crying, “You can’t legislate morality!”?

Really though, if you truly want to defeat a political adversary, tell the truth about him.

Otherwise, you can repair to the classic Mad Magazine non-defamatory campaign speech, which contained such gems as, “As a youth, my opponent was known to emulate older boys at a local playground!” and, “He performed a piscatorial act on a boat flying the American flag!”

Rhetoric: There were a few responses to our call to draft rhetorical flourishes for our president. We particularly liked these suggestions for the jobless: “Earnings a bummer? Become a plumber!” and “Earn like your elder. Become a welder.”

Media wishing to interview Michael Ackley, please contact [email protected].


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