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The gang of six: An epic of futility

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Rick Horowitz
September 17, 2009

The Baucus Caucus came to town one morning in the early spring,


They said, “You want a health-care bill? Don’t sweat—we’ll handle ev’rything!”


Then off they went, inside a room, and huddled there both day and night,


They promised they’d produce one soon, but first they had to get it right.


This Gang of Six—three Democrats, and three more from the GOP…


Debated every line and phrase in constant search of harmony.


“Bipartisan”—that was the goal, the finish line, the Golden Rule,


While others fumed that anyone who thought so was an utter fool.


For weeks and weeks the Gang plowed on, while others were more quickly done,


Four versions of the bill appeared, but no sign of that final one.


The Baucus Caucus wouldn’t rush—the chairman made it very clear,


He’ll take whatever time it takes. Could be a month. (Could be a year.)


So deadlines came and deadlines went, and still the Caucus dithered on,


Still questing after unity, but looking slightly woebegone.


Old Grassley wouldn’t climb aboard, and Enzi was a constant foe,


The only one who seemed inclined to deal was gentle Mrs. Snowe.


The chairman could have said, “That’s it! You’re playing me! This makes me sore!”


Instead the chairman trimmed his bill, then looked around, then trimmed some more.


With ev’ry trim he hoped he’d find his Caucus fully unified,


With ev’ry trim he found again that some were never satisfied.


He strengthened this, he tightened that, he moved the numbers ’round and ’round,


He huffed and puffed “Bipartisan”—he couldn’t get it off the ground.


“I need more time!” the chairman cried. “Don’t rush me! This is vital stuff!”


Until the Chief Exec himself decided that he’d had enough.


I’ve got a plan,” Obama said, “and now it’s time to push it through.”

“I’m very nearly almost there!” the chairman cried—“A day or two?”


And so at last a bill appears, but wait: He stands there all alone!


His Gang of Six was just a dream, while others fume, “He should have known.”


So learn from this, bipartisans, that good intentions won’t suffice


When people on the other side are out for blood and won’t play nice.


Beware delay, which only turns momentum into sloggy mess,


And get it done! You’re on your own! That’s why you were elected, yes?


Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at rickhoro@execpc.com.

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