CHRISTMAS ON THE POTOMAC (2006)
By Bruce Kluger
'Tis the week before Christmas, and all through the House,
Not a statesman is stirring (nor Congressman's spouse).
And one chamber over, the Senate is still.
Such a somnolent evening on Capitol Hill.
Just after New Year's, a week or two hence,
A chattering clamor is set to commence.
The stately Rotunda will fill with the din,
As the men and the women of Congress file in.
At first come the Freshmen, a skip to their gait,
Then Hillary's entourage, fash'nably late.
The veterans, next, led by Schumer and Kyl,
(And Lieberman, schmoozing both sides of the aisle).
They'll strut and they'll back-slap and chew the same fat:
"Did you ever see such an election as that?"
"Macacas!" "And Foley!" "The speeches! The stumpin'!"
"Hoo-boy, did you guys take one helluva thumpin'!"
And just before choosing which paper to push,
They'll pause to acknowledge the President. (Bush.)
Then it's off to the races, to battle lines drawn,
To earmarks and budgets and pork-barrel brawn.
Pelosi will kick off with ethics reform,
A move bound to trigger a party-line storm.
Joe Biden will ramble till everyone's dizzy.
America's lawmaking body gets busy!
Domestic surveillance, new Medicare billing;
A chunk of the Gulf for some hit-and-miss drilling.
A package on tax cuts! Incentives for teachers!
Bipartisan pledges by partisan preachers.
The fighting in Baghdad will trigger percussions,
Then quickly give way to those other "discussions."
Like trading with China. Like Pakistan's plan.
Like kooks in Korea, and nukes in Iran.
And that's when the trump card will likely be played,
With somebody eyeballing Roe versus Wade.
The air will be static, the tension will peak.
(Imagine such drama in just the first week!)
Most certainly, then, the debate will start roarin',
A lecture from Teddy, a sermon from Orrin.
With faxes a-faxing, and cell phones a-ringing,
The heaviest hitters will rise and start swinging:
On Boxer! On Specter! On Leahy! On Lott!
(Then enter Obama, to stir up the pot.)
On Dingell! On Rangel! On Waxman the Wise!
(And don't forget Cheney, the breaker of ties.)
The media, meanwhile, will add to the clatter;
The pundits will ponder, the nabobs will natter.
On Russert! On Blitzer! On Kristol! On Dowd!
(They may not be right but they'll always be loud.)
And let's not forget all that blogosphere blather
(From folks who still celebrate taking down Rather).
They'll quibble on Kos and they'll Huffington-post
And they'll laugh about who can belittle the most.
And that's how the Washington wheel will keep spinning.
For We are the People (as long as we're winning).
A nation of poets and heroes and cads,
Of laptops and hip-hop, of punch-cards and chads.
Of internet porn and Congressional pages,
Of maximum rancor and minimum wages.
Of handguns and stem cells and sinners who stumble,
Of walls built at borders, and levees that crumble.
Yes, we are America, red, white and blue.
We're not always perfect (but neither are you).
So from cabbie to cop to Commander-in-Chief:
Merry Christmas to all--and to all a "Good Grief!"
(This piece also appears on The New Republic.com)