Given the government shutdown, now in its second week, I find myself wishing Mark Twain was still alive. This particular Congress would be a never-ending supply of material for Twain, who once famously said, “Fleas can be taught nearly anything that a Congressman can.”
And I’m also guessing Twain would have a few choice words for House Speaker John Boehner. Personally, whenever I see the lugubrious Boehner I’m reminded of the Smokey Robinson song, “Tears of a Clown.” (Only in this case a tan clown.)
My solution is to shutdown Congress’ pay. But it now appears that President Barack Obama and the Democrats are going to have to give the Tea Party something to make this insane “shutdown showdown” go away (before it ruins the world economy). But what to give them? Take the conundrum of Congressman Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.)
Outraged, Stutzman told the Washington Examiner, “We’re not going to be disrespected and we have to get something out of this.” And then he added sheepishly, “And I don’t know what that even is.” (To quote John McEnroe, “You can’t be serious!”)
Nearly a million people furloughed out of work with the potential to cripple our already fragile economy, and Marlin doesn’t know why they’re putting us through this? (But, whatever the reason, he’s damn sure in favor of it.)
On the shutdown, Speaker Boehner has waffled enough to warrant maple syrup. (Knowing him, he’d think it was tanning lotion.) Boehner first said any shutdown was “not a very good idea.” But, unfortunately, the speaker is terrified of the Teabaggers. Frankly, I don’t understand why because whenever I see their ragtag “gatherings” they look like a bad “Jerry Springer Show.” (As if there’s any other kind.)
The shutdown could be ended in 20 minutes, but Boehner says defiantly, “The votes aren’t there.” In fact they are. Twenty-two Republicans are on record in favor of passing a continuing resolution which, with solid Democratic support, means this whole fiasco could finally be over. But Boehner insists the House must follow Hastert Rule. The only problem for Boehner is somebody’s contradicting him, Dennis Hastert.
The so-called Hastert Rule states that a bill in Congress can’t be introduced by the speaker unless it has “a majority of the majority in favor.” But Hastert, the longest-serving GOP speaker ever, told the Daily Beast in an interview, “[I]f we had to work with Democrats, we did. The Hastert Rule never existed.” (To quote Rick Perry, “Oops.”)
Hastert went on to say “John doesn’t talk to me … and he doesn’t reach out. That’s his nature.” Terrific. The country’s falling apart at the seams and one congressman behind it doesn’t know what they want and the other is anti-social and cries crocodile tears. (To quote Charlie Brown, “Good grief!”)
OK, it’s obvious we have to “give” the Tea Party something to end this national nightmare. (Remember what Gerald Ford said after pardoning Richard Nixon? “Our national nightmare is over.” This makes two for the GOP.)
Since the Teabaggers don’t seem to know what they want, it’s up to us to guess. So here’s my “Top 10 Things We Could Give the Tea Party.” (So they’ll open government again, stop us from being the laughing stock of the world and avoid destroying the country and economies around the globe.)
10) Obama withdraws Janet Yellen as the first woman Federal Reserve chair, and gives the nomination to Tea Party pin-up Sarah Palin. (Of course the former governor of Alaska wouldn’t accept because, besides not knowing a thing about finance, the job would actually involve work!)
9) Make U.S. Sen. Rand Paul president! (By “president” I mean of the Hair Club for Men. He might be disappointed it’s not president of the country, but his squirrel’s nest rug has to go.)
8) Speaker Boehner gets a free life-time supply of quality tanning lotion. (So he can actually look tan rather than orange.)
7) Replace the Tea Party poster “Keep Your Government Hands Off Our Medicare.” (Sparing them the humiliation of realizing that Medicare is a government program.)
6) Begin fracking at national parks and under the White House.
5) Eliminate the Senate. (The Teabaggers want to shrink government and the Senate is just raining on their parade.)
4) Before the poor can get food stamps they have to shine the shoes of Tea Party members. (Assuming they’re not barefoot at the time.)
3) Have Michelle Obama admit that sugar for kids is good and vegetables are bad.
2) Agree to teach “Global Cooling” in schools.
1) Have Obama finally confess that he’s a Kenyan-born Muslim socialist.
As Congress brings us closer to doom, I end with another Twain quote. “Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But there I go repeating myself.”
Jack can be reached at facebook.com/jackneworth, twitter.com/jackneworth or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.