Advanced Nasa cushioning technology and a half-mile thick shroud of cotton have been deployed to protect an extremely delicate "post-partisan consensus" between Republicans and Democrats after the US election on 4 November. US citizens have been advised to tiptoe in their socks in a 20-mile exclusion zone around the fragile consensus, which is housed in an underground bunker, built on shock-proof springs in Washington DC. Raising seemingly straightforward issues — such as prosecuting Bush administration officials for illegal wire-tapping, torturing detainees and destroying evidence, or dropping Senator Joe Lieberman from the Democratic caucus for openly campaigning against Barack Obama — threaten this most delicate of agreements, pundits have warned. Despite Barack Obama winning a clear mandate as President and Democrats controlling both houses of Congress, suggestions that Republicans can finally go fuck themselves have been dismissed as highly dangerous to the precarious well-being of the race to the centre ground. "Ssshhhhh!" said House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate majority leader Harry Reid.