by Barry Weintraub

I’ve heard a lot of gassy excuses from this White House but today’s New York Times is laying the groundwork for a good one.

Claude Allen was Bush’s top domestic policy advisor. Last month he suddenly resigned. Last week …he was arrested, repeating an emerging pattern for this White House.

Remember David Safavian? He was the director of procurement who resigned from his White House gig on a Friday and got arrested the following Monday. He lied to the FBI about knowing Jack Abramoff. Interestingly, we don’t hear much about Safavian who was involved in a multi-million dollar influence peddling scam but Claude Allen, charged with making off with a whopping five grand …he seems a better story.

The President’s former top domestic policy advisor is charged with nickel and diming Target Stores. Allegedly, he bought items, then took duplicates off the shelves and returned the duplicates using the receipts from the original items. And if there’s any doubt, they’ve got him on videotape. Time to nail that coffin shut? Not so fast.

Today we read in a front page piece in the Times by Ian Urbina and David D. Kirkpatrick with additional reporting by Elisabeth Bumiller, Michael Janeofsky, Robert Pear and John Files (are there enough reporters working this story for you?) that Mr. Allen has an evil twin.

No lie.

They say while Claude was always the goodie two shoes, his brother Floyd was the one who “kept running into bad times.” And what were those bad times? He declared bankruptcy in 2001 and was ordered to pay $6,450 in a civil suit brought against him by a Travel company. The information about Floyd covered two and a half paragraphs in a 25 paragraph piece. The rest of the story read like a promotional bio written by Claude’s defense team.

It’s a bizarre piece, enabled no doubt by the Rovian forces of evil who manage to manipulate the Times with ease on so many stories. (See Scooter Libby, Judith Miller and the outing of Valerie Plame and WMD). What’s interesting is the TImes never comes out and directly alleges that brother Floyd is the guy in the video, But they do plant the seed. Which raises the question: Wouldn’t the authorities in Maryland make sure the guy in the video was Claude and not his brother Floyd before going to all the trouble of arresting him? Maybe in a sentient world…

My real concern now is that the evil twin defense is going to work and we’ll start to see it again and again and again.

That wasn’t Lewis Libby who lied to a Grand Jury. It was his evil twin.

That wasn’t Dick Cheney who shot his friend in the face. That was his evil twin.

That wasn’t Karl Rove who kept changing his story for the prosecutors. That was his evil twin.

And that wasn’t George Bush who started an illegal war, turned a blind eye to rendition and torture, lied about domestic spying and failed to protect our ports because his family likes to do business in Dubai …That was his evil twin.

Go back and look at the relevant news video. Sure it looks like Libby and Rove and Cheney and Bush …. but relax.

It turns out the mess we’re in isn’t their fault at all. Blame their evil twins.

Next, George Bush will argue he’s eligible for another two terms in the White House. Why? Because the first two, in reality …were hijacked by his evil twin.

… and his evil Vice President.

Barry Weintraub, a stand-up comic with a journalism degree, takes his message directly to the people through live appearances and internet blogging. His Headline Schmooze entertains and informs a growing number of email subscribers every business day using real headlines to deliver news and amuse. Barry can be seen tonight March 15 at the Comic Strip on 2nd Avenue between 81 and 82.

Hate mail should be directed to: barry[at]

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