With abject apologies to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, here’s an adapted, abridged version of the classic poem:
The Rhyme of the Ancient Politician
It is an ancient Politician,
And he stoppeth one of three.
‘By thy well-styled locks and perfect chops,
Now wherefore stopp’st thou me?
The corporate doors are open’d wide,
And I am next to skim;
The guests are met, the feast is set:
May’st hear the merry din.’
He holds him with his skinny hand,
‘There was a vote,’ quoth he.
‘Hold off! unhand me, political loon!’
Eftsoons his hand dropt he.
He holds him with his glittering eye—
The Lobbyist stood still,
And listens like a three years’ child:
The Politician hath his will.
The Lobbyist sat on a stone:
He cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The blear-eyed Romney pere.
‘The campaign was cheered, primaries cleared,
Merrily did we go
Stumping here, campaigning there,
Chasing the White House dome.
And then the polls did sink and fold,
Our campaign was in distress
And Bains, neck-high, came floating by,
Our election chances failed.
And Bain was here, that dog was there,
Lamestream media all around:
They cracked and growled, and roared and howled,
Like noises in a swound!
At length did come the first debate,
Through the fog it came;
I had to win, I had no choice
I hailed it in God’s name.
I’d do anything, how vile or fell
To keep my hope alive
I’d budgets slash, I’d parties crash
I’d pander, lie and jive.
And then I thought of a tactic vile;
Despicable, low and mean
To win debate, to save my fate
I’d defund public teevee
‘God save thee, ancient Politician!
From the fiends, that plague thy word!—
Why look’st thou so?’—In that debate
I shot the beloved BIG BIRD.
And I had done a hellish thing,
And it made the voters rile:
For all averred, I had killed the Bird
That made the children smile.
Ah wretch! said they, the Bird to slay,
That made the children smile!
Day after day, day after day,
The campaign stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.
Beer and liquor, every where,
And all the polls did shrink;
Wine and liquor every where,
Nor any drop to drink.
Ah! well a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the Word, the dead Big Bird
About my neck was hung.
There passed a weary time. Each throat
Was parched, and glazed each eye.
A weary time! a weary time!
How glazed each weary eye.
‘I fear thee, ancient Politician!
I fear thy well-manicured hand!
And thou art sleazy, and false, and and tanned,
As is the ribbed sea-sand.
I fear thee and thy glittering eye,
And thy skinny hand, so brown.’—
Fear not, fear not, thou Lobbyist!
This body dropt not down.
Alone, alone, all, all alone,
Alone on a wide electoral sea!
And never a Saint took pity on
My soul in agony.
An orphan’s curse would drag to hell
A spirit from on high;
But oh! more horrible than that
Is the curse in Big Bird’s eye!
Twenty days, twenty nights, I saw that curse,
And the Election grew more nigh
‘Is it he?’ a Voter asked ‘Is this the man?
Who in debating, slayed by word,
With his cruel brow he laid full low
The harmless, sweet Big Bird.
The voters who could not yet decide
In the states of blue and red,
Who loved the bird that loved the kids
Who shot poor Big Bird dead.’
Then there was a softer voice,
As soft as honey-dew:
Quoth he, ‘The man hath penance done,
And penance more will do.’
And then November came at last
The Voters then declared
They’d have no truck with the worthless schmuck
That slaughtered poor Big Bird
And then my party threw me out
Disgraced, lost and forlorn
My heaps of cash my sole solace
Joined Kerry, Bush and Gore
Farewell, farewell! but this I tell
To thee, thou Lobbyist!
He prayeth well, who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast.
The Politician, whose eye is blear,
Whose hair with age is hoar,
Is gone: and now the Lobbyist
Turned from the corporate door.
He went like one that hath been stunned,
And is of sense forlorn:
A sadder and a wiser man,
He rose the morrow morn.