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An April Fools’ Day Joke Goes Awry at the Washington Post

April Fools’ Day can be a very dangerous holiday in some organizations.

For example, given the well-documented perversity of the Washington Post‘s op-ed pages under Fred Hiatt, it’s probably no surprise that second-tier staffers blow off steam by grumbling and making sarcastic jokes in informal lunch-room conversations.

So, it happens that yesterday, a bunch of them were sitting around on a break at a table with that morning’s Wall Street Journal — lying open to Karl Rove’s opinion piece offering unsubtle GOP-friendly suggestions to the “tea party” movement (including not forming a third party).  The talk turned to how soon it would take Hiatt to ask the staff to gin up a me-too column from one of the WaPo’s ever-growing stable of former Bush administration mouthpieces.

Then, realizing it was April Fools’ Day, one of them said, “You know what would be funny?  If we wrote up our own piece and put it under the name of Dan Quayle.”

“Who’s Dan Quayle?” asked one of the younger staffers.

“The 1980s prototype for Sarah Palin,” another answered.  “Young, supposedly irresistible good looks, and dumber than the day is long.”

“Seriously?  How dumb was he?” asked the younger staffer.

“Bill Kristol was considered his ‘brain’.”

A long pause.  “Holy crap!  I guess you’re right.”

“Exactly!  So wouldn’t it be perfect to have a column with advice for the teabaggers from Dan Quayle — the patron saint and godfather they never knew they had?”

Unfortunately, just then Fred Hiatt walked in for a cup of coffee, overhearing the suggestion.  And he thought they were serious.

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Swopa has been sharing prescient, if somewhat anal-retentive, analysis and garden-variety mockery with Internet readers since 1995 or so, when he began debunking the fantasies of Clinton-scandal aficionados on Usenet. He is currently esconced as the primary poster at Needlenose (