Thursday, February 28, 2013

PAC XII: "The Original Amateur Show"

by Seamus O'Shea © 2013
Political Action Comedy
A series of ten + minute plays by Thomas M. Kelly & Seamus O'Shea.
Comments on the politics of the times.

Wobble Heads on stage: Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, John Boehner, Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Lindsey Graham, David Brooks, Michael Gerson, Peggy Noonan, Bob Woodward and Mitch McConnell.

WHAMor:  (v.o.)
Ladieeees aaaand Gentlemen!  Welcome to our show.  Tonight we had scheduled The NRA' s Lone Howler, Wayne La Pierre, but he cancelled due to illness,... we tried to enlist Ann Coulter prefers keeping her doctor's appointment.  We also scheduled Clint Eastwood with another skit, but the management cancelled him.  Tonight, unless time and circumstance change things we are featuring the Permanent Campaign Shimmy by Barack with a surprise guest, and The Suicide Stage Divers by Johnny Boehner, Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor.  Let's put 'em together for Barack and his Permanent Campaign Shimmy.
(Barack shimmies on stage to the music of "Mom Dancing"...  )
Here's the thing... this sequester and its cuts do not have to happen.  Congress can turn them off any time... with just a little bit of compromise.  I know that sometimes folks in Congress think that compromise is a bad word.  They figure they'll pay a higher price at the polls for working with the other side.  While you're in town folks, I hope you speak with your congressional delegation and remind them in no uncertain terms exactly what's at stake, exactly who is at risk.  Hey, WHAMor... What time is it?
It's Howdy-doo... No.  Its almost midnight, Barack.
Midnight!  I'm still working at midnight!?  This work, along with hundreds of thousands of jobs, are currently in jeopardy because of politics in Washington.   These cuts are wrong. They’re not smart.  They are not fair.  They are a self-inflicted wound that doesn’t have to happen.  It's time to party.  Where's my Michelle?  Already, the uncertainty around these cuts is having an effect.  Companies are starting to prepare for layoff notices.  The longer these cuts are in place, the greater the damage.
(Michelle shimmies on stage "Mom Dancing" alone: “the sprinkler,” "the dougie", “go shopping, get groceries,” “raise the roof,” "the hip bump" “happy snapper,” .)
(Barack continues.)
Hey!  Let's party, Michelle!
(They dance "shake your hip twice to the same side".... Then dance off stage to "driving the station wagon"..)
Ladies and gentlemen Mr. and Mrs. Obama!  (Applause, applause, applause.)   Aaand now!  Won't you welcome The Suicide Stage Divers?  Johnny Boehner, Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor.
(Johnny Boehner, Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor march in lock-step on stage roaring.)
Johnny Boehner, Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor:
Cut spending across the board!  We're learning to Love Sequestration!  Cut spending across the board!  We're learning to Love Sequestration!  Cut spending across the board!  We're learning to Love Sequestration!
(They work themselves up into a frenzy of self-admiration.)
Johnny Boehner:  (To a rap.)
For sixteen months, sixteen months, / the president has been traveling all over the country / holding rallies instead of sitting down / with Senate leaders / in order to try to forge an agreement / over there in order to move a bill.  This work, along with hundreds of thousands of jobs, / are currently in jeopardy because of politics in Washington.  / These cuts are wrong. They’re not smart.  They are not fair.  /  They are a self-inflicted wound that will destroy.  
Paul Ryan:  (To a rap.)
It was the president who proposed the sequester, / it’s the president who designed the sequester.  
Johnny Boehner:
He has known for sixteen months / that this sequester was looming out there / when the super committee failed to come to an agreement.
Paul Ryan:
We think Obama’s sequester will happen / because the Democrats have opposed our efforts / to replace those cuts with others.  
Johnny Boehner:
We have moved a bill in the House twice. /  We should not have to move a third bill / before the Senate gets off their ass / and begins to do something.  Mr. Obama was off campaigning in Virginia to use our military men and women as a prop.
Paul Ryan:
Congress is not going to be able to avoid / the automatic cuts because Democrats refused to accept / Republicans’ proposal for smarter cuts / in other area of government.
Congressman Ryan, if I may interrupt your performance... this has been a talking point for Republicans for a long time.  But let’s look at your own words, what you said right after the law putting the sequester in place was passed in August of 2011. . You said,  and I quote, sir, "What conservatives like me have been fighting for, for years are statutory caps on spending, literally legal caps in law that says government agencies cannot spend over a set amount of money and if they breach that amount across the board sequester comes in to cut that spending.  You can’t turn it out without a supermajority.  We got that into law.  Now, it sounds to me there like if you weren’t taking credit for the idea of the sequester, you were certainly suggesting it was a good idea.  Who, therefore, is responsible: you GOPers or Mr. Obama?
Johnny Boehner, Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor:

Cut spending across the board!  We're learning to Love Sequestration!  Cut spending across the board!  We're learning to Love Sequestration!  Cut spending across the board!  We're learning to Love Sequestration!
(They work themselves up into a frenzy of self-admiration.)
Paul Ryan:
My district's Rock County Airport / is in desperate need of improving. /  Rock County began work on these improvements / but federal assistance is needed to address this immediate need. / These improvements are critical / not only to the local businesses in the district / but also to the local economy and the livelihood / of the employees who work at these businesses. / I would like Mr. Obama, therefore to fulfill his promise / of funding, by not cutting via sequester.  
Eric Cantor:
O MY!  GOD!  WHAT!  ARE!  YOU!  SAYING!  Ladies and gentlemen.  Ah' do not know these people.  Ah've have never seen them before.  O! MY!  Yehovah! 
Johnny Boehner, Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor:
("They sprint across the stage and leap into what they imagine is the loving arms of their adoring fans.  When they are 4 feet off the ground, they realize the voters have left the building in disgust and they land with a thud on the floor." *) 
Ladies and gentlemen The Suicide Stage Divers!  (Applause, applause, applause.)  Aaand now!  Won't you welcome  The Angstered Kindergartnersun-supervised tonight, featuring David Brooks, Peggy Noonan, Michael Gerson and Bob Woodward
(David Brooks, Peggy Noonan, Michael Gerson and Bob Woodward walk on stage, take a deep bow together and begin speaking in unison, over-speaking each other as if performing in kindergarten.)
Bob Woodward:
First, months of White House dissembling further eroded any semblance of trust between Obama and congressional Republicans. (The Republicans are by no means blameless and have had their own episodes of denial and bald-faced message management.)
Second, Lew testified during his confirmation hearing that the Republicans would not go along with new revenue in the portion of the deficit-reduction plan that became the sequester. Reinforcing Lew’s point, a senior White House official said Friday, “The sequester was an option we were forced to take because the Republicans would not do tax increases.”  In fact, the final deal reached between Vice President Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in 2011 included an agreement that there would be no tax increases in the sequester in exchange for what the president was insisting on: an agreement that the nation’s debt ceiling would be increased for 18 months, so Obama would not have to go through another such negotiation in 2012, when he was running for reelection.  So when the president asks that a substitute for the sequester include not just spending cuts but also new revenue, he is moving the goal posts. His call for a balanced approach is reasonable, and he makes a strong case that those in the top income brackets could and should pay more. But that was not the deal he made.
David Brooks:
Democrats get to do the P.C. Shimmy.  Traditional presidents go through a normal set of motions: They identify a problem.  They come up with a proposal to address the problem.  They try to convince the country that their proposal is the best approach.  Under the Permanent Campaign Shimmy, the president identifies a problem.  Then he declines to come up with a proposal to address the problem.  Then he comes up with a vague-but-politically-convenient concept that doesn’t address the problem (let’s raise taxes on the rich).  Then he goes around the country blasting the opposition for not having as politically popular a concept.  Then he returns to Washington and congratulates himself for being the only serious and substantive person in town.  
Peggy Noonan:
The president's sequester strategy is like Howard Beale in "Network": "Woe is us. . . . And woe is us! We're in a lot of trouble!"  It is always cliffs, ceilings and looming catastrophes with Barack Obama. It is always government by freakout. That's what's happening now with the daily sequester warnings. Seven hundred thousand children will be dropped from Head Start. Six hundred thousand women and children will be dropped from aid programs.Meat won't be inspected. Seven thousand TSA workers will be laid off, customs workers too, and air traffic controllers. Lines at airports will be impossible. The Navy will slow down the building of an aircraft carrier. Troop readiness will be disrupted, weapons programs slowed or stalled, civilian contractors stiffed, uniformed first responders cut back. Our nuclear deterrent will be indefinitely suspended. Ha, made that one up, but give them time.  Mr. Obama has finally hit on his own version of national unity: Everyone get scared together.
Michael Gerson:

I don’t know whether to kill myself or to go bowling,” goes the old country song.  Official Washington has apparently decided to do both — permitting a self-destructive sequester while heading off on vacation, to bowl or maybe to golf.  For the historical record, all sides bear responsibility for this turn of events.  What President Obama now calls a “really bad idea” was generated by his own economic policy team. What Speaker John Boehner now refers to as a “meat ax” passed the House at his urging with 174 Republican votes.  All involved would protest that across-the-board cuts were only intended as the unthinkable alternative to a rational plan approved by the so-called super-committee.  “The sequester is ugly,” explained Boehner at the time, “Why?  Because we don’t want anybody to go there.  That’s why we have to succeed.”
Some Democrats see disproportionate defense reductions as a once-in-a-political-lifetime opportunity.  “You are not going to get another chance to cut the defense budget in the way that it needs to be cut,” salivates Howard Dean.  For others, it is an opportunity to apply blame to Republicans as TSA screening lines lengthen and meat quality inspectors are furloughed.
Ladies and gentlemen The Angstered Kindergartners!  (Applause, applause, applause.)  (David Brooks, Peggy Noonan, Michael Gerson and Bob Woodward take a deep bow together and walk off stage as if performing in kindergarten.)
Aaand now!  Won't you welcome The Mindless Anti-Government Fanatics featuring Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Lindsey Graham
(Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Lindsey Graham mindlessly and aimlessly, as if without direction and supervision, amble on stage.)
There were fewer declared Republicans in the faculty at Harvard Law School when Mr. Obama and I  were there than Communists!  There was one Republican.  But there were twelve who would say they were Marxists who believed in the Communists overthrowing the United States government.  To understand what that means you have to understand that there were more self-declared communists on the Harvard faculty than there were Republicans.  Every single idea this president has proposed in the nine months he's been in office has been orthodox wisdom in the Harvard faculty lounge...
If you asked the Harvard faculty to vote on whether this nation should become a socialist nation, 80 percent of the faculty would vote yes and 10 percent would think that was too conservative.  President Obama was four years ahead of me at Harvard law school, and his entire philosophy embraces the elite academic world view that views government control, that view European socialism as something attractive, as a good direction for this country to go...
I think he very much bought into the prevailing wisdom.  Virtually every policy of the Obama administration is conventional wisdom in the faculty lounge at Harvard law school.  Obama was the most radical president ever to occupy the Oval Office.
Now on Chuck Hagel...  We saw with his nomination something truely extraordinary which is the government of Iran formally and publicly praising the nomination of a defense secretary.  I would suggest to you that to my knowledge that is unprecedented to see a foreign nation like Iran publically celebrating a nomination.  It may be that he spoke at radical or extreme groups or anti-Israel groups and accepted financial consideration... we don't know..., but it is the minimum relevance to know that that two-hundred dollars that he deposited in his bank account came directly from Saudi Arabia or came directly from North Korea.
I'm against having a king.  I think having a monarch is what we fought the American Revolution over and someone who wants to bypass the Constitution, bypass Congress -- that's someone who wants to act like a king or a monarch.  I've been opposed to executive orders, even with Republican presidents. But one that wants to infringe on the Second Amendment, we will fight tooth and nail.  And I promise you, there'll be no rock left unturned as far as trying to stop him from usurping the Constitution, running roughshod over Congress.  And you will see one heck of a debate if he decides to try to do this.  By the way, I'm thinking about running for President.
Lindsey Graham:
(Lindsey Graham falls all over himself in explosive laughter.  Ted Cruz, convulsing with laughter, and Rand Paul drag him off stage.)
Ladies and gentlemen The Mindless Anti-Government Fanatics.   Won't you please welcome another fine Republican, a real toad of a guy, 
The Imperious One Mitch McConnell.
The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.  Let me repeat my self, the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.  
That's the definition of insanity, Mitch!  Ladies and gentlemen, The Imperious One, Mitch McConnell.