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Deadline Poet | The Nation

Deadline Poet

Calvin Trillin

As Bush finds backs to pat and hands to
shake,
The Democrats can't seem to buy a break.
The
opposition doesn't coalesce,
Because the spotlight's on the
Clinton mess,
A mess that's just like catnip to the
press.
Afraid that he will never go away,
The Democrats by
now just want to say,

Avoid the headlines, can't
you, Bill?
Speak softly, please, not louder.
Eschew the
networks, can't you, Bill?
Enough, man! Take a
powder!

Ignored as long as he is on the
stage,
The Democrats, befuddled, try to gauge
How he, amidst
the sleaze, seems so unfazed
While they are crazed, and find
themselve amazed
At all the oxygen the man
inhales,
As he on his sword himself
impales.

Avoid the headlines, can't you,
Bill?
They say. At any cost!
Eschew the networks, can't you,
Bill?
Could you please just get lost?

Apply a little grease
(Denise).
Then buy yourself an in
(Jack Quinn).

As proven by this pardon,
Two facts of life prevail:

The rich have got the money

And everything's for sale.

We'd say goodbye to Clinton, Bill,
Who always was a rascal, still
Accomplished much, before he tripped
(He couldn't keep his trousers zipped)
And after, too. His gifts were great.
A farewell toast we'd contemplate,
Except for now we can't believe
That Bill is really going to leave.

This Racicot seemed like Bush's sort of guy:
Pro-life, he thought that killers ought to fry.
Though right-wing to the core in many ways,
He was, the Christian right said, soft on gays.
They told Bush that he ought to give the nod
To Ashcroft, who believes he speaks for God.
"OK," said Bush. Though not perhaps so glad, he
Bowed quickly to the wackos, like his daddy--
Yes, like the Bush to whom we bid adieu.
We now know what we have here: Lapdog II.

                  
                  I

Now Ashcroft will decide who's on the bench.
The civil rights division will retrench--
Unless it finds that civil rights entails
Some breaks at last for pure white Christian males.
The jobs and housing efforts that depend
On Justice will on Ashcroft's watch all end.
And solemn friend-of-court briefs will be filed:
"Abortion simply means to kill a child."
One comfort lasts, as dreams of justice shatter:
Ralph Nader said it really wouldn't matter.

                                    II

Gale Norton thinks there's no place you can spoil
If what you do to it produces oil.
She'd like to see no regulations left;
She thinks controls on property is theft.
Emissions? Who should monitor their flow?
To her it's clear: the firm's own CEO.
So drillers drill. Here's what Interior's got:
A protégée of James (The Crackpot) Watt.
Don't tear your hair and curse those who begat her:
Remember: Nader said it wouldn't matter.

Author

Calvin Trillin
Calvin Trillin, the author of Random House's Deciding the Next Decider:...

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