Some time today, that band of plucky, spelling-deprived freedom fighters the Teaparty Patriots will once again descend on the Capitol with hijinks in mind. Today’s goal is to provide a “special delivery for the Senators who voted in favor of cloture on the Reid Health Care Bill. Tea Party Patriots will deliver rubber chickens to Senators.”
Some fun! Reminiscent of the time Thomas Paine and Ben Franklin snuck into the House of Lords and put Ye Olde Plastic Vomit on the chairs of the Whigs.
Why chickens? The “chickens are coming home to roost.” That’s a warning. You’d better not vote to stifle debate on a bill that will spend the next three weeks being watered down by amendments so that it has a slim chance of being passed as legislation and being submitted to a conference committee so that it can be reconciled with a House bill that is already substantially weaker into a lifeless symbolic skeleton of what is actually needed so that the Democrats can take credit for passing it and the Republicans can take credit for gutting it, or there will be hell to pay.
The Chickens, my friend, will come home to roost!
Don’t know what cloture is? Let me help you out. Say you are Senator Bob Bennett, (R-Utah), and the President puts a hold on the some oil and gas leases that your rag-tag band of freedom lovin’ energy millionaires would make a killing from. It’s important for Republicans to keep freedom lovin’ millionaires happy. They do important things like provide over ninety percent of the funding and massive logistical support to things like Teaparty organizations. Anyway, to keep that confirmation from happening you could block the vote that would replace the Bush administration’s Head of the department in question with the duly elected President’s choice by unendingly continuing the debate on the subject—Mr. Smith and Wesson Goes to Washington. One way to fight that stalling tactic would be to get sixty of the one hundred senators to vote to stop the debate and take a vote. Senator Bennett knows all about Cloture, the Republican controlled senate under Bush used it like a box of discount handi-wipes.
The Teaparty Patriots don’t want the Reid bill to fall victim to a stunt that is only patriotic when they use it, so they want Reid to know that if he even tries to act like a Republican “The chickens will come home to roost.”
If there is a problem, it is with the group’s choice of symbols. These won’t be actual chickens; they will be rubber chickens. (Note: That’s a good thing. Given the recent barrage of Republican sex scandals God knows what could happen to a live chicken in the halls of Congress!). Rubber chickens don’t look like real chickens. Real chickens have scrawny little necks. Rubber chickens have big, long comically extended necks. Rubber chickens, in other words, stick their necks out. Teaparty Protesters really don’t. According to the Teaparty folks’ own webpage, when 60,000 people decided with about five days noticed to go all at once and visit their Congressmen, the iron hand of government made it harder to get into the building and took its phones off the hook. Why the next thing you know, they will be herded into wire cages, doused with water and summarily arrested without cause! No, sorry. That wasn’t many thousands of Teaparty Protesters; that was a couple of thousand people who wanted to stand outside the 2004 GOP convention. My bad.
Unlike the rabble in New York City, the Teaparty Patriots aren’t sticking their necks out at all. They can come and go as they please in the nation’s capital, even in the age of Al Qaeda. They can apparently—even in the worst economy in decades—take a few days off from their honest, God-fearin’ blue collar jobs to truck over to the capitol any time they want. As revolutionaries go, they have it pretty easy.
Second, the chickens have the night off. The Democratic leadership is not even remotely interested in ending the debate! According to the New York Times published on the day of the rubber chicken rally, “debate on the bill . . . would last for several weeks and perhaps continue into January.” In other words, all of this fuss and bluster is directed a scaring people out of something they have no intention of doing. Given that, I suggest a shift in strategy. Box up the chickens, save them for the midterm elections, or use them to fight medical marijuana: A Chicken Instead of Every Pot! Replace them with thousands of top-of-the-line whoopee cushions. Give one to every Teaparty protester who shows up. Then stage a huge sit-down on the Capitol steps. That will constitute the most coherent political statement in the organization’s history.