Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell the difference.
It was the day “Green Eggs and Ham” changed American politics forever.
When Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, read the Dr. Seuss classic to his children, via television, as he held the floor of the U.S. Senate, hearts melted throughout the Capitol building.
“I had forgotten that little book,” said Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., sniffling just a bit. “Really, it’s a metaphor for how we ought to do things in Washington, D.C. We ought to try things we think we don’t like – like responding to the will of the people.”
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry, Ted,” blubbered Sen. John McCain, R-Az. “I said some really harsh things about you, because you were looking more presidential than I ever did. After ‘Green Eggs and Ham,’ I’m ready to try things your way.”
Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., his voice breaking, said, “Government of the people … I would try it in a box. I would try it with a fox. I would try it in the rain. I would try it on a train.”
“Of all the things my good friend, Ted Cruz, said in 21 hours of so, the thing that truly got through to me was ‘Green Eggs and Ham,’” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. “The entire nation should be saying, ‘Thank you. Thank you, Sam-I-am.’ That tiny volume contains more wisdom than all the Senate speeches in the past year.”
In the House of Representatives, Speaker John Boehner was weeping too hard to make a coherent comment.
However, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi declared, “As an ardent practicing Catholic, I feel ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ is a metaphor for contraception and therapeutic abortion, though on the latter my religion’s doctrine is ambiguous.
“It’s also a metaphor for the Affordable Care Act. Now that the people have had a taste of it, they really like it!”
Staff members then put Pelosi on a hand truck and carted the minority leader, clad in a sharply tailored, red straitjacket set off by a single strand of pearls, off the podium.
Media pundits were similarly affected by Cruz’ recitation. On Fox News, the network’s “all-stars” kicked the topic around for an hour. Juan Williams called it “an affirmation of the best parts of Obamacare,” to which Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer responded, “As if there were any ‘best parts,’ Juan. It’s really a call for individual choice.”
NBC News anchor Brian Williams called Cruz’ reading of the book “surprisingly good, for a political cave man,” and on the radio, talk giant Rush Limbaugh declared, “I predicted this!” and played a clip from one of his shows in February of 2009 confirming the fact.
At the White House, first lady Michelle Obama endorsed “Green Eggs and Ham,” “as long as they were “served with a healthful side of steamed spinach.”
President Obama himself was a bit choked up as he said, “I wish my parents had read me ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ instead of ‘Das Kapital.’ ‘Eggs’ has a much clearer collectivist message.”
“I’m not happy about this ‘will of the people’ thing,” the president continued, “but I’m willing to give it a try, at least by suspending the Affordable Care Act for a year … or so. Meanwhile, I’m issuing an executive order declaring 2014 The Year of Dr. Seuss.”
The foregoing is fantasy, of course – except the part about wisdom and Senate speeches. Ted Cruz is being vilified from all sides, and with particular venom by Republicans. It’s natural, I guess, as he showed most of them up as weak sisters.
Sure, all congressional Republicans oppose Obamacare, but they put me in mind of Gen. George B. McClellan when he was commanding the Civil War’s Army of the Potomac. The contemporary Chicago publisher Joseph Medill said that army’s officer corps was peopled by “. . . lukewarm, half secession officers . . . who cannot bear to strike a vigorous blow lest it hurts their rebel friends or jeopardizes the precious practice of slavery.”*
McClellan did virtually nothing but get ready to fight, without actually fighting. Today’s GOP leadership is much the same. They like to march and drill, but fighting is just so – you know – unseemly.
I’m pulling for Cruz to unleash more Dr. Seuss wisdom on the Legislature, perhaps “Fox in Socks.”
* (Quoted by Stephen W. Sears in an article for History Net.)