A Satirical Political Poem

So, you want to make your name

And gain power, wealth and fame

In the modern G.O.P?

Then let me tell you all the tricks

Needed to succeed in politics

And make yourself a fix-

-ture in Washington, D.C.



The very first step is you

Find yourself some social issue

That gives heartland people frights.

Like “gay marriage”, for example,

Or use gun control to give a sample

Of how you think the government will trample

On their God-given rights.



At rallies and conventions you’ll appear,

All decked out in patriotic gear,

And extolling rural souls.

And when auditoriums you’re packing

You will get financial backing

From groups who want low taxes or more “fracking”

And you’ll start rising in the polls.



With your overflowing coffers,

You will now be able to make offers

To buy up your district’s ad space.

With your name now being seen

Be every voter who has been

Outside, or watched his TV screen–

Your opponent’s in a bad place!



And then on election night,

To the Party’s great delight

Before 8, they’ll say you’ve won!

The district is a major gain

Thanks to your vigorous campaign

(Meanwhile, half the Democrats abstain)

And you go to Washington!



And there, you’ll give addresses

Seen by no eyes besides the press’s

And the viewers on C-SPAN.

You’ll say “So-and-so’s a Nazi”,

Claim some stuff about Benghazi;

And what your constituents will not see

Is who backs their Congress-man!



For the backers will dismiss you

Unless you drop your social issue,

And vote instead for lower taxes.

This argument you’ll cede ’em

For low taxes, you will need ’em

In the interest of defending Freedom–

Or so the brochure from your PAC says.



One of your first major acts is

To trade culture war for lower taxes;

(A deal the Dems will gladly make!)

And so the country’s torn asunder

Crumbling this vicious cycle under;

And yet people never stop and wonder

If perhaps there’s some mistake.

The rhythm and theme (though not the rhyme scheme) of this are similar to Bunthorne’s song from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience, one of the all-time great poseur songs.  I remember hearing a recording of Danny Kaye singing a politically-themed parody of that song.

The substance of it is in a lot of ways just the thesis of  Thomas Frank’s book What’s The Matter With Kansas? set to rhyme. I think it’s a pretty good–not complete, but decent–explanation of the problems in our political system.


    1. Thanks very much–glad you like it. Though I’ll be honest–fracking isn’t actually a huge issue everywhere in the States–mostly only in parts of the Midwest. But I needed a rhyme, and the energy industry generally is pretty powerful in politics.

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