NASHVILLE -- Republican scientists are secretly working to bring former President James K. Polk back to life in time to run him for president in 2008, The American Spectator has learned.
"America yearns desperately for a second James K. Polk presidency," said one scientist involved in the project. "OK, I made that up. But my God, have you seen who we have running? I'm thinking of voting for Gordon, the lead chimpanzee in my Alzheimer's study. Sure, he might be a chimp, but at least I know where he stands on the issues. And at no point has he ever voted for a baboon or supported any of their liberal, self-indulgent policies."
The scientists, a crack team of geneticists and political science professors, are striving to reanimate the eleventh president "for the good of the party and the country," according to one insider who asked not to be identified.
"Like most other Republicans, we long for a candidate we can really get excited about," the source said. "Unfortunately, Andrew Jackson has already served two terms. So we're cloning James K. Polk."
With no Republican candidate electrifying the party's base or the scientific community, the scientists began meeting in early autumn to consider the previously unthinkable: cloning a former president and running him for office.
"We first met with the intention of cloning Fred Thompson, but it turns out he's actually alive," said Filbert Piglatin, chief of genetics at the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Biological and Environmental Research, currently on leave to lead the Polk project. "And according to news reports, he's already running for president, though I have yet to see any data confirming that hypothesis."
The team chose Polk after ruling out Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Jackson as ineligible and Calvin Coolidge as unelectable.
Asked whether running a deceased person would be a problem, Piglatin said it would not.
"The Constitution says you have to be at least 35 years old to be president," Piglatin said. "It says nothing about being alive."
The scientists wound up with Polk because of his politics as well as his availability.
"Through extensive research we have concluded that each of the current Republican candidates is in fact significantly less Republican than James K. Polk," said Waldo Dinghiddy, a professor of molecular biology at the University of Florida. "This is true even though Polk was a registered Democrat and had long hair."
"Ronald Reagan said that he didn't leave the Democratic Party, it left him," said Elmer Ribbington, a geneticist at Georgia Tech. "In Polk's case, that is literally true."
Polk also would stand a decent chance of beating Hillary Clinton, the team concluded.
"He's got a great record," said Yin O'Malley, a political scientist at Emory University "In Polk's single term he lowered tariffs, sparking economic growth, and expanded the size of the United States by 800,000 square miles. California and Oregon are states because of James K. Polk, which puts the entire West Coast into play in the event of a Polk candidacy. Plus, he had a They Might Be Giants song named after him. Not even Barack Obama can say that."
The scientists have until Nov. 2 to get Polk revived, briefed on current politics, registered as a Republican, and registered for the New Hampshire primary.
"We're working faster than Bill Richardson at a buffet restaurant full of voters," Piglatin said. "It'll be a hectic few weeks, but if we pull this off, Republican primary voters will finally have a candidate they can rally around. Oh, and we'll also have the greatest scientific breakthrough in the history of mankind. But I don't care about that as long as I don't have to vote for Julie-Auntie, Oven Mitt, or McStain."
Andrew Cline is editorial page editor of the New Hampshire Union Leader and editor of the humor blog www.gunsnbutter.com.
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