Notes from the Perimeter

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Four Sonnets in Search of an Explanation


i

It’s easy of iniquity to speak,
This life is full of villains, to be sure.
Some rogues are ignorant and some are weak
And some are evil to their very core.

The game of politics is one that spawns
A breed of bad guys who might be unique:
Beset by greed or power, they are pawns
On someone else’s chessboard, so to speak.

To judge the worst we sometimes judge the best
And see wherein the diff’rences might lie.
Who suffered hurt perhaps is the best test;
Who profited? – a question to apply.

Sometimes the profiteer will seek applause
By mixing venal gain with higher cause.

ii

Above all, truth is that which we must seek.
Victim or perp (and sometimes they’re the same)
Can be set free if one true word they speak
And say out loud what conscience does proclaim.

The world in which our legislators dwell
Is crazy, yes, but plays by its own rules.
To stand apart, to speak one’s mind, is swell
Unless by that one makes of others fools.

No one a fool can make without consent
And trust is something honest people know.
To say one thing when something else is meant
Is likely to result in quid pro quo.

We can find truth in many forms indeed
But to oneself be true is the right creed.


iii

Judd Gregg, perhaps to show himself a prince
Of peace instead of his own party’s hack,
Did contact Obama and did convince
The new administration of the lack

Of bipartisan cooperation --
“I Commerce Secretary wish to be
So I can serve both you and our nation.”
This move at first did seem to guarantee

A bounty of goodwill that all could reap.
Alas, the Senator seemed to forget
The promises Obama swore to keep.
Gregg cried, “He’s liberal ! That I can’t abet.”

No other reason gave, his name withdrawn,
Come on, dear sir, what’s really going on?

iv

This strange thing became then even stranger,
You say you probably won’t run again.
Was there some threat, some imminent danger
To you, your reputation or your kin?

Perhaps it’s as you said: You didn’t think
About the consequences of your deed:
To fight opposing loyalties would stink,
And doom a fella’s chances to succeed.

But did you not hear your party’s critics
Who said, “That stimulus plan should be dead”?
Or when they cried, “The census they might fix!”
A surge in voter numbers did you dread?

To claim “It’s principle” is as you might
Though saying yes—but no—is all too Right.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Road Not Taken


The transition is over. The tears have been shed, the hugs exchanged, and the toes and fingers of those who waited hours in the bitter cold on the Mall in Washington to hear the words “So help me God” have finally thawed. Barack Obama has taken the oath of office and gotten to work. Change has come.

But what if …? What if, instead of an Obama administration, we were witnessing the beginning of the McCain years?

In his first act of official business, President John McCain trademarks my friends. “My friends® I’ve got to protect my brand,” he explained, “since that one is sitting on change and hope.”

In the spirit of what President McCain is calling “my posse of rivals,” he is keeping Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson in his post, explaining, “Nobody is quite sure what happened to all the money he distributed and, my friends®, I want that work to continue.”

President McCain defends auto executives’ practice of traveling by private jet: “I can tell you, my friends®, that otherwise it’s hard as heck to get from one mansion to another.”

Unconfirmed reports indicate that former Vice President Dick Cheney, now head of the CIA, who meets with President McCain daily at an undisclosed location, has indisputable proof that the French are amassing weapons of mass destruction to be used against the “Great Un-Elite,” their epithet for America. “We need another war to jump-start our ailing economy and we need to wreck another country so that we can help rebuild it. Especially France,” Cheney declared from an undisclosed Halliburton facility. The President added, “The surge is working, my friends®, and now we’ve got to give our brave men and women something to do.”

Vice President Sarah Palin announces the discovery that she can see Canada from Alaska. She was unavailable for further comment due to poor WiFi at Neiman Marcus.

In an effort to delay their retirement, Justices John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, have joined an experimental life-prolonging drug trial. McCain has directed the FDA to withdraw approval for the trial, except for him.

Responding to potential tax problems for McCain nominee Mitt Romney, newly appointed ambassador to Togo, the President issues an executive order banning the public discussion of tax returns. ” Do you think only Republicans have tax issues, my friends®?” he bristled. “Anyway, Cindy made me do it.”

Samuel Joseph “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher was to have been hired as live-in White House handyman until he is discovered in First Daughter Meghan McCain’s bedroom at three one morning. “I was just unclogging her pipes,” he protested.

In a furtherance of what critics are calling his “Babe Initiative,” McCain taps Ann Coulter, who earned her J.D. from University of Michigan law school, to be chief White House counsel, saying, “She lays it on with a trowel.”

Under the “Drill Baby Drill” program, mandatory oil drilling has begun in all fifty states despite the objections of the governor of Rhode Island and others who claim there are no proven oil reserves within their borders. “Your point?” responds former Vice President and current Oil Czar Dick Cheney.

President McCain, when asked about whether he will be retaining use of his BlackBerry, replied, “I’m attached to my blackberry, my friends®, but I also like my orange marmalade.”

Tickets to McCain’s historic Inauguration, which occurred on Tuesday January 20, are still available on eBay and Craigslist.