THE BLOG
10/02/2013 03:16 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Breaking Bachmann

If you've followed the news of the last few days, you know that A) Walter White's story has come to an end in a very smart, satisfying and blood-soaked (hence even more satisfying) (what? I'm a guy) manner, and 2) the United States House of Representative has shut down the Federal government and most of its services in a not at all smart, not even close to satisfying and sadly not even a little bit blood-soaked manner. We have little hope of seeing Nancy Pelosi drive a car with an automated machine-gun in the trunk (and really good shocks) up the Capitol steps and park it in the Rotunda.

I suppose that I should attempt some kind of connection between these two disparate events, but I'd have to write a vastly different kind of piece -- you know, a good one -- to do that, and that would require the kind of effort that as a writer (and a particularly lazy one at that) I shrink from. (I.e., any kind of effort.) Sure, there are some resemblances: both cooking meth and shutting down the Federal government are bad. Ditto killing people and furloughing Federal workers. I have a strong suspicion that Boehner might tweak a little. (Something is turning that dude orange.) Walter White has a habit of crashing cars; Republicans have a history of crashing the economy. And of course, Walter's journey of self-discovery (just kidding; Walter's was a journey of making meth and killing people) started when he received a cancer diagnosis; thanks to the government shutdown, the National Institutes of Health will turn away 200 cancer patients, 30 or so of them children, from clinical trials each week. That's right, Republican Congressthings: your antics will kill cancer kids. Let's for a moment pretend I'm a cancer kid, aptly-named Congressfart Gohmert, so you can look me in the (huge, pain-filled) eyes, right here below my brave little bald head, as I say: "Why do you want to kill me, Congressman?" (I have a cute but immensely sad little lisp, too.) Hey, Gohmert, I wish you all kinds of luck with your election in 2014.

But other than those few, I've got nada on any similarities. Walter White represented the little guy at the end of his rope because of a sudden illness that overtakes him without healthcare; Congressional Republicans all have healthcare, and they'd like to keep it away from everybody else, including Walter White. That's right, I said it (or, anyway, implied it): Congressional Republicans want to turn high school chemistry teachers into meth cooks. Congressscum Bachmann, is that what you mean by "helping small businesses"? Sure, cooking meth is all fun and games until Walt has to give Jesse a healthcare plan. That won't be cheap, what with all the toxic chemicals one finds in meth labs.

Too, while Walter White's story approached the level of Greek or Shakespearean tragedy, Congress's delusional attempts to achieve by extortion what they couldn't by legislation more closely resembles another classic, the scene in Blazing Saddles where new sheriff Bart takes himself hostage, paralyzing the angry racist townsfolk -- the only difference being that, should the members of the House threaten to commit mass suicide, they would be overwhelmed with offers of assistance from the 87 percent of us who think they are doing a terrible job of representing the will of the people. (If only they were paid by the number of bills passed.) In their defense, they do pretty well when you consider that they spend a lot their time on the job drunk. (They had to vote that 42nd time to repeal Obamacare; because of the blackouts they couldn't remember the first 41 times.) That lack of competence represents the fundamental difference between Walter White and the Republicans in Congress: Walter is a horrendous narcissist who puts his needs and wishes before his family, others' lives and the law, but at least he's good at it.

Ted Cruz could learn a lot from Walter White, and the thought makes me shudder. Only Ted Cruz's incompetence stands between us and our country's utter ruin. Nobody get Cruz a Netflix account.

Of course, you can't compare the importance of these two stories. Twenty years from now, we will have long since forgotten the Cruzes, Bachmanns and Gohmerts, and the futile and stupid shutdown they've engineered, but people will watch and admire the brilliance that is Breaking Bad for decades. Unless of course the economy crashes, war follows and we all wind up battling one another for food-rat rations (rat-tions) in an apocalyptic Hellscape. I'll give you 5 to 1 odds against -- any takers?

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