Dogfight: The 2012 Presidential Campaign in Verse
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
In his latest laugh-out-loud book of political verse, Calvin Trillin provides a riotous depiction of the 2012 presidential election campaign.
Dogfight is a narrative poem interrupted regularly by other poems and occasionally by what the author calls a pause for prose (“Callista Gingrich, Aware That Her Husband Has Cheated On and Then Left Two Wives Who Had Serious Illnesses, Tries Desperately to Make Light of a Bad Cough”). With the same barbed wit he displayed in the bestsellers Deciding the Next Decider, Obliviously On He Sails, and A Heckuva Job, America’s deadline poet trains his sights on the Tea Party (“These folks were quick to vocally condemn/All handouts but the ones that went to them”) and the slapstick field of contenders for the Republican nomination (“Though first-tier candidates were mostly out,/Republicans were asking, “What about/The second tier or what about the third?/Has nothing from those other tiers been heard?”). There is an ode to Michele Bachmann, sung to the tune of a Beatles classic (“Michele, our belle/Thinks that gays will all be sent to hell”) and passages on the exit of candidates like Herman Cain (“Although his patter in debates could tickle,/Cain’s pool of knowledge seemed less pool than trickle”) and Rick Santorum (“The race will miss the purity/That you alone endow./We’ll never find another man/Who’s holier than thou.”)
On its way to the November 6 finale, Trillin’s narrative takes us through such highlights as the January caucuses in frigid Iowa (“To listen to long speeches is your duty,/And getting there could freeze off your patootie”), the Republican convention (“It seemed like Clint, his chair, and their vignette/Had wandered in from some adjoining set”), and Mitt Romney’s secretly recorded “47 percent” speech, which inspired the “I Got the Mitt Thinks I’m a Moocher, a Taker not a Maker, Blues.”
in a walk. He captured nearly half of all votes cast. Some thought Mitt Romney had Big Mo at last. And Newt? His message failed to resonate, And he’d seemed somewhat passive in debate. The Newt campaign could not gain any traction, Not even with the right-wing tea-bag faction. Despite a second hit of Sheldon’s jack, Newt couldn’t match Mitt’s negative attack. When he complained Mitt’s crowd was out of line, he Increasingly could sound a little whiny. What worried those who’d put their
were a movement, and they took a name From Boston patriots who took such glee In tossing British tea into the sea. Tea Party (With particularly abject apologies to the creators of “Matchmaker” from Fiddler on the Roof) Tea Party! Tea Party! We’re mad as hell. Government’s huge, and growing pell-mell. Immigrant numbers continue to swell. No wonder we’re all mad as hell. Tea Party! Tea Party! We hate those hacks Governing now. They love to tax. We’re mad as hell and we’ll never
funds. Some grass! Some roots! The weak economy proved hard to heal. At times, the president seemed too genteel— Unwilling still to knock some heads the way Some heads were knocked around by LBJ. His speeches far surpassed the other guys’. His gamble caused Bin Laden’s quick demise. But still the polls showed many folks believed His promises, so far, were unachieved. The punditry, its ’08 views forgotten, Now said his reelection odds were rotten. 3. Mentionables Since
Because I’m his mother? INTERVIEWER: Well, yes, because you’re his mother. Because you’re his mother, it’s natural for people to assume that the two of you often talk— SUPER PAC CEO: He never calls. He never writes. INTERVIWER: Well, let’s take the thirty-second ads that America the Super made accusing Mr. Schwartz of having attended a summer session at Harvard—ads that started airing the morning after Mr. Gold made the original Harvard accusation, famously brandishing a copy of Mr.
September, Bachmann, back to punt, Was someone who had briefly been in front But who, it was increasingly quite clear, Would from now on be stalled more toward the rear. Michele: A Reprise Michele, our belle, Things of late have truly failed to jell For Michele. Michele, our belle, They’re no longer buying what you sell. Poor Michele. Your numbers have gone in the toilet. They say you peaked too soon. And talking like a loon Could not have helped a lot, although Rick Perry