And now let us speak of the current lame-duck session of the 112th Congress.
Daily we witness the death throes of the final assemblage of this particular group of elected representatives on Capitol Hill, and of course they’re spending these last precious moments together marshaling all their skills to put the American ship in order.
Yeah. Right. Dream on, big river. Mostly what’s happening is just your typical frantic running around with waving arms and high-pitched wailing about an impending catastrophe. Looming doom. Again.
Specifically, this time, the imminent approach of that dastardly dreaded fiscal cliff. Congress has turned into the Little Boys & Girls Who Cried Ruin.
Calm yourselves, kiddies, it’s not really a cliff. More of a slim slope or bit of a ditch. A minor incline. Slight slant. Not even close to a chasm. Nor a gorge. Shall we say a term berm. A shallow gully beribboned with a multitude of dirt walking paths.
Unlike what they’ve led us to believe, it’s less a screaming plunge off a sheer precipice and more of a stroll on a knoll with a coal-colored foal.
Do not be alarmed. America isn’t looking at a financial Thelma and Louise here. Although you can bet Grover Norquist would be willing to sit in the driver’s seat and steer straight for the bottom of the Grand Canyon as long as he could hold hands with his “no tax ever” pledgers. And all of America would bemoan the loss... of the ‘66 Thunderbird.
You got to hand it to our representatives. The way they make every calamity seem fresh and new and calamitous. Everybody in D.C. has memorized their moves in the Washington Waltz. John Boehner complains the president won’t budge. The president counters that Boehner is beholden to a radical fringe. Liberals wait for conservatives to put entitlements on the table so they won’t be the bad guys.
Republicans man the barricades to protect their donors. One step forward. One step back. Cha-cha-cha.
It’s an artificial crisis. Something our country’s politicians specialize in. If the Bush tax cuts do expire on December 31, they can always be voted back in. Even if it takes till February, it can be done retroactively. For everybody. Or for those making less than 250k. Or a million. Whatever. Problem is, they’d rather be photographed slapping a baby than go on record voting for or against any sort of compromise, and are more than happy out in the yard playing kick the can until it gets too dark to see. Preferably, kick it through the open portal of a time machine into the distant future.
Lame duck doesn’t do them justice. Comatose vultures perhaps. Brain-damaged geese. Biologically deformed Pterodactyl fossils encased in an amber pool of irrelevance, obsolescence and guilt. Whoa! OK. We’re done. Wait, one more. Quadriplegic platypuses.
Then, on Jan. 3, a new Congress will swagger into town, and before they’re finished redecorating their offices, it’ll become patently obvious the onus is on them to put the deficit can back in play. And if they need some ideas of where to place that can, we, their constituents, have more than a couple of choice locations in mind.
The New York Times says five-time Emmy- nominated comedian and writer Will Durst “is quite possibly the best political comic working in the country today.” E-mail Will at email@example.com.
Copyright ©2012, Will Durst
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