Donnie in the Room

(with apologies to Ernest Lawrence Thayer)

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for Republicans that day.
They’d promised for six years that they’d repeal the ACA.
But when the caucus gathered, and they looked from man to man
They knew that not a one of them had ever had a plan.

“I’d counted on a veto,” said a rep from Tennessee.
“The blame Obama always took would fall on Hillary.
Then Pennsylvania went for Trump, and Michigan the same.
And now we run the government, we can’t just play a game.”

A colleague from Wyoming was equally concerned.
Shaking his head sadly, he stated what he’d learned.
“My hopes from the beginning always had one little flaw.
I’d pictured making speeches, never thought I’d write a law.”

Neither had the others, though they often said they would.
They knew what programs shouldn’t do, but not the things they should.
Then said a man from Texas, “We’ll never have success.
We got so used to saying No, we’ll never get to Yes.”

“I know,” said Ryan hopefully, “that’s sometimes how it feels.
But Donnie wrote the book about the art of making deals.
I know agreement’s hard to find, and deadlines closely loom.
But we can still succeed if we get Donnie in the room.”

Oh Donnie! Clever Donnie! How everyone agreed.
The plan that he campaigned on was just the one they’d need.
It ended it all the mandates! It set the markets free!
And still it covered everyone, from sea to shining sea!

“It offers better treatment,” noted one committee chair.
“And cheaper,” said another, “I know cause I was there.
You should have heard the cheering. I thought the roof would fall.
And Mexico will pay for it! No, wait, that was the wall.”

But just how would he do it? That wasn’t in their notes.
It wasn’t in the speeches that he made while seeking votes.
It wasn’t on his website, and they recognized with gloom.
They’d never reproduce it without Donnie in the room.

So Ryan checked the White House, but Donnie was away.
He wasn’t in Trump Tower, and he hadn’t been all day.
Ivanka took his message, “Call me when you can.
We can’t repeal ObamaCare without your TrumpCare plan.”

When the President returned his call, he sounded tired and mean,
As he contemplated bogey from the bunker on fifteen.
“Write whatever bill you want. I really couldn’t tell.
Content doesn’t matter, Paul. It’s all in how you sell.”

“But what about the plan you had, the one in the campaign?”
“I only planned to have a plan, that’s no cause to complain.
Grasp this opportunity, and you’ll know what to do.
I sold all the voters, now you get to come through!”

So Ryan then picked up his pen, and wrote a plan so good
It didn’t do a single thing that Donnie said it would.
And as the caucus read it, they all wanted to vote No,
Both from the left, and from the right, and from the CBO.

The Speaker counted noses, and he always came up short.
And for the ones who criticized, he had no good retort.
But Ryan still was smiling as he sorted hateful mail.
For Donnie, clever Donnie, would soon complete the sale.

Trump was back in Washington with all his awesome charm.
He flattered and he compromised and twisted by the arm.
“Those whip counts are fake news,” he said, “we’ve got the votes and more.
Everyone will back me when we take it to the floor.”

Oh, somewhere in a favored land, the people get their way,
And illness leads to treatment, even if you cannot pay.
And somewhere leaders pass the law that makes their promise real.
But there’s mourning in the caucus, Donnie could not close the deal.

Afterward: Why Casey? In my generation of Americans (I’m 60) it was hard to get through school without at some point running into the poem “Casey at the Bat” written in 1888 by Ernest Lawrence Thayer. Casey, then, is iconic American figure. Carried away by his own myth and the adulation of his fans, he sets up a dramatic situation in which he can’t deliver the appropriate conclusion. (Rather than hit the game-winning home run that the poem seems to be leading up to, he strikes out.) The parallel to Trump the Great Negotiator seemed obvious to me, which is why I used the cadence and a few phrases from “Casey at the Bat” in this poem.

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  • Roger Owen Green  On March 25, 2017 at 6:34 am

    Pure poetry!

  • Michael McPhee  On March 25, 2017 at 7:16 am

    Hilarious, Bro. Doug! – and you wrote that, yourself? I guess the scansion is not unique, as I didn’t realise it was a knock-off of ‘Casey at the Bat’ until I got to the last line.

    • weeklysift  On March 25, 2017 at 7:27 am

      It’s definitely not unique. The rhythm got into my head because of a completely different poem I’m reading in church Sunday.

      • MAHA  On March 25, 2017 at 4:18 pm

        Thank you for taking time out of your preparations to pen this gem. I hope you don’t mind if I share it, via a link.

      • 1mime  On March 25, 2017 at 9:31 pm

        What an inspiration – a poem in church morphing into a poem on potus….That’s a creative stretch!

      • Alan MacRobert  On March 26, 2017 at 8:37 am

        That’s Unitarians for you!

      • Southingtonian  On March 26, 2017 at 7:32 pm

        I too had to memorize Casey’s sad tale. Your iteration is entertainment of a different sort, and the smile produced is a broad one. Thank you!

    • fmanin  On March 25, 2017 at 11:54 am

      The scansion is not unique — it’s written in “common (or ballad) meter”, standard for narrative poetry in English.

  • Kathryn Brackett  On March 25, 2017 at 8:07 am

    Kathy Brackett Fabulous! A new talent emerges! I never knew you were a poet! >

    • weeklysift  On March 25, 2017 at 8:28 am

      I’ll have to do one of my song parodies for you sometime.

    • dgcarsten  On March 25, 2017 at 1:24 pm

      I would love to see one of your song parodies! This “Casey” takeoff was brilliant!

  • Anonymous  On March 25, 2017 at 8:43 am

    Right on the nose–and well done!

  • Charles Cizio  On March 25, 2017 at 8:53 am

    Well, the GOP took a cue from Mrs Trump and plagiarized Obamacare to create their Trumpcare, but it didn’t pass muster with the rabid Freedom Caucus. Like my native Detroit single mother would say, “You go, girls! On to that tax reform you promised too!” Lol

    • weeklysift  On March 25, 2017 at 9:03 am

      Reforming the tax code — what could possibly be hard about that? I’m sure they’ll have it figured out in no time.

      • MAHA  On March 25, 2017 at 4:13 pm

        Well… it might be one thing “Donnie” is informed about. He never bothered to follow what the House Republicans were doing with the AHCA. He has no experience as a lawmaker. Zip. But he knows how to avoid paying taxes, I’m sure.

  • Lorraine Henning  On March 25, 2017 at 9:51 am


    On Sat, Mar 25, 2017 at 5:26 AM, The Weekly Sift wrote:

    > weeklysift posted: “(with apologies to Ernest Lawrence Thayer) The outlook > wasn’t brilliant for Republicans that day. They’d promised for six years > that they’d repeal the ACA. But when the caucus gathered, and they looked > from man to man They knew that not a one of them ” >

  • dlwwhitney  On March 25, 2017 at 10:16 am

    Thanks for the smile. What a happy day when people get to keep their health coverage (including those frivolous mammograms) AND stick it to Donnie and Ryan athe the same time. Seems some are realizing there is more to governing than obstruction.

  • ccyager  On March 25, 2017 at 10:41 am

    I needed that! Thanks for the giggles! Brilliant. Some light to shine during these rather dark, gloomy days.

  • Kay  On March 25, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Clever! Thanks!

  • Sandi Saunders  On March 25, 2017 at 11:28 am

    Reblogged this on Blue in Red Virginia and commented:
    I wish I was half this clever, I love this effort and you should follow “The Weekly Sift”. Please enjoy!

  • Doris Smith  On March 25, 2017 at 11:40 am

    What fun!

    doris >

  • SamuraiArtGuy  On March 25, 2017 at 11:42 am


    That’s almost painfully brilliant. Snarky, but brilliant.

  • AWJ  On March 25, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    I lost it at “No, wait, that was the wall.” Brilliant!

  • janemorejoy  On March 25, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    BRILLIANT. Doug, I appreciate your work, beyond what I can adequately express. Thank you for helping me to sort out what I’m thinking and feeling.

  • lsnrchrd1  On March 25, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    You can probably begin penning an ode to lil’ Trumpie’s tax reform plan crash and burn including “Flat Tax” in the title and lyrics.

  • dgcarsten  On March 25, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    And there is definitely no joy in Mudville! Bravo!!

  • Anonymous  On March 25, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    That is just hilarious. Thank you to the wonderful author.

  • pauljbradford  On March 25, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    Nice job, Doug, I liked it.

  • kurtmitenbuler  On March 25, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    Yes, brilliant, in so many different ways.

  • John Thorn  On March 26, 2017 at 10:40 am

    Truly wonderful!

  • coastcontact  On March 26, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    I reblogged too. A great piece of writing.

  • Bobby Lee  On March 26, 2017 at 11:37 pm


  • Anonymous  On March 27, 2017 at 4:07 am

    This is awesome … the cadence is near perfect and the events it describes are less than 3 days old!

    I expect to see it all over the web. I’ve done what I could to start the process.


  • blotzphoto  On March 27, 2017 at 9:31 am

    Standing ovation…

  • nwbaxter  On March 27, 2017 at 10:04 am


  • greatferm  On March 27, 2017 at 10:21 am

    Excellent analysis encased in a brilliant poetic parody !

    Keep the one hoss shay on the back burner for when his tax reform fails;
    I think you’ll see that this silly clown
    Has a great affection for trickle-down
    As his tiny fingers grab all the cash
    It will all come down in a wondrous crash…

  • Anonymous  On March 29, 2017 at 2:42 pm


  • Eleanor k  On July 24, 2017 at 11:05 am

    You may have missed your calling…A+…


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