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.