Saturday, December 17, 2022

Literary Corner: A New Voice


Christmas Season

by Kevin O. McCarthy

We’re Christmas season.
A talk of the majority right now
who wants to put a small continuing resolution
to bump all the members up
two days before Christmas,
to try to vote on a package they cannot read,
written by two individuals who will not be here,
on spending for the entire government.

The Democrats have been in power.
They've had the House, the Senate, and the presidency.
They did not do their work.
But they should not jam us now.
They should not jam the American public.
We cannot afford it.

We should not move a short-term C.R.
We should move one further into the new year.
Allow the American people what they said
a month ago. To change Washington
as we know it today. We can't afford
to continue to spend the way the Democrats have.
The future generation
cannot afford it as well.

That was at a press conference on Wednesday December 14, after which the House passed the very short C.R., followed by the Senate yesterday, and things are more or less on schedule; I guess it really will expire two days before Christmas, and they'll hopefully have that omnibus bill ready for the president by then, keeping the government funded through next September, according to House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro:

"We're going to get an omnibus next week," DeLauro, D-Conn., said Thursday. "I'm resolute. I can't account for crazy things that come up, but that's my goal."

I'm not sure if she's one of the two individuals who will not be there—maybe McCarthy meant to say she wouldn't be chairing the committee any more, since she'll be in the minority, but she won her 17th term in November. The chair of the Senate committee, Patrick Leahy, is in fact retiring, but the new chair will be another Democrat. The big thing we don't know about Congress next year is whether the House will be able to elect a Speaker or not, because the Speaker-in-Waiting, Representative Kevin O. McCarthy, doesn't seem to have the votes, being really hated, for reasons that aren't completely clear to me, by some of the wackier Republican representatives, while the best his most enthusiastic supporters can say is that he's "O.K." 

Actually that slogan, on campaign buttons, was meant to be interpreted as "Only Kevin", but it wasn't a very good idea, as Dana Milbank writes:

The “O.K.” buttons may have been the biggest messaging misfire since McCarthy, called a “moron” by Speaker Nancy Pelosi over his resistance to pandemic safety measures, removed all doubt about the charge by selling T-shirts with large letters proudly announcing: “Moron.”

It's to Milbank, or rather to my sister Nancy's reading of Milbank, that I owe the idea of McCarthy as a poet:

McCarthy has a knack for garbled messages. If he does succeed in his speakership quest (which is likely, if only for the lack of an alternative), he will earn the distinction of being the first speaker in U.S. history not to speak fluent English.

For eight years, I have been attempting to make sense of his sentences and mostly come up empty. Deep in his brain there seems to be a syntax scrambler (I’m guessing it was put there by Hunter Biden, or perhaps the Chinese) that causes violent clashes between subjects and objects, nouns and verbs, singular and plural, and past and present.

Maybe, Nancy thought, that eccentric language is really a sign of a gift. So I'm trying it out,

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