(with apologies to Ernest Lawrence Thayer)
A Ballad of the Empire, Sung in the Year 2011
The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the GOP that day;
The Senate was all Democrat, the House in disarray.
And then when Cantor threw a fit, and Norquist did the same,
The voters started asking who was going to take the blame.
A vocal few bought gold against presumed default. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought if only Boehner could but draft a Ceiling bill–
We’d let the rich get richer while the trickle waits to spill.
But Mitch preceded Boehner, as did Harry Reid,
The former was a Senator, the latter, he did lead.
So the useful idiots held tea parties of despair
It seemed that Boehner’s Bill would not ascend the Senate stair.
But Mitch created chaos to the wonderment of all,
And Reid, the much despised, set his bill up for a fall;
So when the dust had lifted and we saw what had occurred
There was Reid upon the sidelines while Mitch was just absurd.
Then from three hundred million throats there came the sound of hope;
That Boehner would come save us from the lies of stupid dopes;
It rattled the stock-markets and it raised the dollar high,
For Boehner, mighty Boehner, said the hour of truth was night.
There was ease in Boehner’s manner as he introduced his bill,
There was pride in Boehner’s bearing that reflected Boehner’s skill.
And when, responding to reports, he said he’d git ‘er done,
No commentator doubted that the GOP had won.
Twelve billion eyes were on him as he tabled up his law;
Six billion hearts beat faster when he looked about and saw
A party disunited and unable to agree
On anything but “We’re the best, from sea to shining sea!”
And now the vote is looming large, with freshmen in revolt,
And Boehner stands before them like a moron and a dolt,
He twists their arms and looks askance until the truth it dawns,
“My bill won’t pass,” said Boehner to reporters on the lawn.
From the public, coast-to-coast, there came flood of tweets,
arguing for compromise, a place where minds might meet.
“Let the nation just default,” cried some more crazy folk,
But mighty Boehner didn’t let their outrage make him choke.
With a smile of vulpine avarice great Boehner’s visage glowed;
He twisted one more freshman arm to see his brains explode:
He signaled to the Congress and once more the vote was took,
But Boehner didn’t like it when the whole foundation shook.
“Sell!” cried the investors, and the markets fell at pace
But Boehner never for a minute lost the scorn upon his face.
He added in another clause, for wiping out the debt
and balancing the budget, some day, at least, not yet.
Then at last the sneer did drop from Boehner’s polished face
He pounds the gavel down while all the House take up their place.
And now the vote is tallied, and now the Senate meets,
And now the nation’s shattered by the Boehner Bill’s defeat.
Oh, somewhere in this misruled land the sun is shining bright;
A city is well-governed, and somewhere debt is light,
And somewhere nations pay their bills, and reason has some clout
But there is no joy in Washington, for Boehner has struck out.
I’ve always like this poem, barely above doggerel though it is, and my own version no better.
The clowns in the RTP (Republican Tea Party) are now–after a week of negotiating with themselves–calling for an end to their own behaviour. At least, I presume that’s what Mitch McConnell means when he says he wants “and end to the charade”: isn’t he referring to the transparently false pretense that the RTP have ever been negotiating in good faith?