Thousands of mourners have gathered in the Pennsylvania Avenue twilight before the White House to hold a candlelit vigil in memory of President George W Bush's Brain, which passed away following complications arising from its transplantation in 1994 into the head of Mr Bush's campaign manager, hip-hop MC and life-model for the Staypuft Marshmallow Man, Karl Rove.
When the two men first met, after the young Rove was sent by the ever-patrician George Bush Senior to carry some car keys to the young Dubya, few could have suspected the fateful operation that would one day be carried out. Yet George Junior's lobes had already had a powerful impact on Mr Rove, who was later to describe how he was bowled over by the cerebral matter's charisma and swagger, as well as Mr Bush's tight, tight flight jacket and calf-hugging cowboy boots.
Over the following years Bush and Rove were to work together to support Mr Bush's remarkable brain - Mr Rove trying to bring its message to the world by guiding George W. through the machinations of politics, Mr Bush keeping it fresh with a selection of stimulants and preserving it (along with his stomach, liver and most of his other organs) in large amounts of alcohol. By 1994, however, it was becoming plain that - perhaps due to a lack of oxygen supply caused by the tight boots, flight jacket and crotch-enhancing harness straps Mr Bush favoured for public-speaking engagements - Bush's Brain was failing. Desperate to avoid the loss of such a vital organ, the decision was taken to extract The Brain from its former host and place it inside Mr Rove.
The effect of the operation was immediate. Not only was Mr Rove now in possession of grey matter raised in centuries-long tradition of political service and connected to half the Presidents of the United States but George Bush himself was transformed from a Connecticut-born, Yale-educated, scion of one of America's most blue-blooded families, descended from passengers of The Mayflower itself into a good-ole-boy Texan so down-to-earth he wouldn't even be able to spell the word "privilege" without the aid of a dictionary. Following a few lessons in how to say "I want your vote" in Spanish Bush's Body was ready for political campaigning and, safe in its well-padded new home, Bush's Brain was in the perfect position to assist it.
Thus it was that George Bush made it to political office, aided by Bush's Body's willingness - like Peter Sellers's Chauncey Gardener in Being There - to shake voters' hands for hours on end and smile gormlessly into the middle-distance while delivering meaningless platitudes about hope, and Bush's Brain's willingness to mislead the public and traduce the opposition by asking questions such as "would you be more or less likely to vote for Governor Richards if you knew her staff is [sic] dominated by lesbians?"
By 1999 the Presidency itself was beckoning. With Bush's Brain happy to look on as racist innuendo was used to smear Republican opponents and Bush's Body happy to sit on Dick Cheney's knee and say "gottle of geer" while the Vice-Presidential candidate drank from a glass of sulphur, the assumption of the leadership of the free world was inevitable. With the Presidency in hand and Republican control of Congress in place, Bush's Brain had achieved its dreams.
Yet as anyone who has studied the history of brain transplants(1) will know, no brain transplant can ever be carried out without risking infection of the organ by the virus known to medics as "black-hearted evil" ... and such seems to have been the fate of Bush's Brain. While jovially wandering the corridors of power during the day, by night The Brain was seen savaging Democrats as woolly-minded milquetoasts waving terrorists into the heart of America, throwing CIA agents from the cliffs of secrecy and howling victory cries as it quietly buried the careers of "insufficiently-loyal" US Attorneys under cover of darkness.
Even The Brain's campaigning genius was fading. After one last flowering in 2004, when it managed to cast as a war hero a man whose military service during the Vietnam War saw him heroically protecting the bars and golf courses of Texas from attack by Vietcong disguised as bartenders and caddies, The Brain seemed ever more feeble. Following the foundering of attempts to reform pensions and immigration, doctors were called in to examine Bush's Brain, only to discover that the faithful organ had decided to skip town ahead of a posse of citizens angry about the war in Iraq and their lame duck President died with the passing of the dream of a permanent Republican majority in 2006.
Bush's Brain will be buried at the Unreformed Disunited Church of the Unholy Campaign Manager. Bush's Body will preside and the reading will be whatever Vice-President Cheney chooses.
(1) a subject dealt with at length in seminal medical texts Young Frankenstein, They Saved Hitler's Brain and The Simpsons.