'Twas the night before Cliffmas, when all through D.C.,
Not a politician was stirring, they’d decided to flee.
Their work was not finished but what did they care?
The “fiscal cliff” looming, they took to the air.
Voters watched this debacle with increasing dread,
While visions of total victory danced in pols’ heads.
Democrats balked at a tight spending cap,
Republicans kept pushing their anti-tax pap.
Thursday evening ere Christmas there arose such a clatter,
Reporters sprang to the Capitol to see what’s the matter.
House Dems realized with evident glee:
The speaker could not pass his own Plan B!
The stub of a cigarette Boehner held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a tan face, and a taste for Merlots,
What happens next? “God only knows.”
Boehner’s ally said Tea Party “chuckleheads” carried the day;
Their no-tax-hike-ever pledge held too much sway.
As markets reopened, traders acted with fear,
That Washington’s dysfunction had become all too clear.
The president jetted to Hawaii for a vacation quick,
And Congress went home for parades with St. Nick.
If Americans could figure out who was to blame,
They’d whistle, and shout, and call them by name.
Now McConnell! Now Reid! Now Obama and Boehner!
On Cantor! On Pelosi! On Schumer and Geithner!
You must know your history! Don’t act like jerks!
Negotiate! Compromise! It’s how democracy works.
This is so dreary, we’ve been here before,
Bowles-Simpson, the supercommittee and more.
Each time to the Hill the interest groups flew,
With their PACs full of cash and demands by the slew.
And then, in a twinkling, you could see backbones grow weak,
As if nothing else mattered but what each lobby seeks.
With a wink of their eyes and a menacing leer,
Groups let lawmakers know they had primaries to fear.
Boehner and Obama aren’t that far apart,
Splitting their differences seems easy and smart.
Raise taxes, cut spending, it’s all of a piece,
To ensure America doesn’t become one more Greece.
As Obama skipped town, he offered a stopgap that’s lame,
Tax hikes on the wealthy, and more of the same.
No entitlement reform, not much of a load,
All it would do is kick the can down the road.
It’s nice for our leaders to be home on a break,
But they were tone-deaf to leave with so much at stake.
They have done precious little to deserve such a perk,
Get back to Washington. Get back to work.
Enough of the talking points we all know by rote,
Put a grand bargain up for a vote.
Avert a cliff-caused recession, just do what’s right,
Then say Happy New Year to all, and to all a good night.
(Photo by Jacquelyn Martin, Associated Press)
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