After the StormPolitics is like a line of advancing hurricanes over the Atlantic. Each storm chugs along in it's own meandering way. Some run out of steam, others come ashore in some hapless place to flatten the houses of the innocent and arrogant alike.
This week's storm was a doozy.
After weeks of predictions, the storm gained strength, ran quickly up the Potomac, and came ashore at Capitol Hill as a full-blown Category 5 monster. The wind and the waves were terrifying. Many a boat went awash. Roofs peeled away like kindling. Fat old white guys, in three-piece suits, flew through the air like cheesy special effects in a bad disaster movie. The fierce winds lashed the place for 48 hours like a demonic Big Bad Wolf, bloviating for all he was worth.
Then the wind died and the survivors took stock.
Those who lost the most crawled out from under the wreckage, squinted into the newly bright sun, and wondered what had become of their fine Georgetown houses. They looked tattered and in shock standing around in their torn suits. One was missing a $500 wingtip. Another floated in the Mall's Reflecting Pool, held afloat by an expensive Italian briefcase. A few staggered over to K St. in search of help from special friends, perhaps a nice lunch at a good restaurant or a golf trip to help calm their frazzled nerves.
But all they found were deserted offices. A castoff black hat bounced down the empty street in a weak and dirty breeze.
The winners stood up equally shocked. Most of them looked not much worse for wear. They were intact if a little frazzled and tired. It seemed the shit squalls of bad behavior and outrageous lies had washed over them and merely dirtied their suits. A nice quiet bath and a good meal would restore them to health.
Within hours, the losers clustered and began to fight amongst themselves, each blaming the other for the losses of the storm. A few - too tired to argue - simply limped away, unable to face the harsh reality drying in the heat of the fresh sun. Others, protected by special impermeable bubbles, began throwing out the bespectacled detritus they had clung to so recently. They set the table and invited some of the more important winners over for finger sandwiches and tea. They told them through clenched teeth what a fine thing they had done to survive. They promised fidelity and ruminated on how winners and losers must come together and march united into the future.
The winners, for their part, stopped calling the losers bad names and politely ate their sandwiches while nodding in agreement and smiling the anguished smile of someone who would rather be almost anywhere else.
In the end, the town survived. The damage could all be cleared away. No one died and the ones who'd been injured judiciously withdrew to lick their wounds.
I'd like to think the story ends here, with a big sunset and the main characters strolling hand-in-hand into the future. But unlike the science of predicting major storms, the science of predicting political behavior is precise.
We all know that as soon as they walk offscreen, they'll disentangle themselves and leap at one another, teeth bared and fighting furiously for the upper hand. The K Streeters will return and place huge bets on the fight. The Congress will return to the name calling and brinksmanship where labeling something bipartisan is the strongest guarantee that it isn't. Smoke will once again fill the backrooms. Up will once again become down and down will once again point up.
And off on the horizon, still fuzzy and indistinct, is another storm. It's starting it's journey from the desert sands of the Middle East. Soon it will cross over water, gain strength, and start its meandering march across the Atlantic. When it reaches the Potomac shore, the promised levees and flood control will remain unbuilt because funding went to a bridge to nowhere. The congressional yachts moored at the Anacostia Yacht Club will bob in the gathering wind, and another wild storm will begin anew.
Life, like the weather, goes on. It's funny that way.
Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Friday, November 10, 2006