Eminentoes

Pigs Take Wing

Republican Party sells spine to Democrats for slice of pork.

By 5.16.08

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WASHINGTON -- The Republican Party announced yesterday its members in Congress have sold the party's spine to the rival Democratic Party for a small slice of pork.

"Some have questioned whether the Republican Party still had a spine," read the press release issued after Republicans helped Democrats pass a massive farm bill yesterday. "Today we proved that we do have one by removing it from storage and selling it to the Democrats for some much-coveted pork."

"What a deal!" exclaimed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky. "I got a tax break for racehorse owners, and all it cost us was one lousy elephant backbone that nobody even used anyway! Awesome!"

Though House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, voted against the farm bill, from which Democrats sliced the GOP's share of pork, 100 of the 199 House Republicans voted for it. Thirty-five Senate Republicans voted for it; only 13 voted against it.

Rep. Robin Hayes, R-N.C., walked by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi moments after he voted for the $290 billion federal farm bill on Wednesday and yelled, "Sucker! I got some po-ork, I got some po-ork! All you got is some elephant bones! Ha-ha!"

The farm bill increased welfare spending, continued massive subsidies to farmers currently earning record profits on crops such as corn and soybeans, maintained biofuel tariffs, and dished out prodigious amounts of pork-barrel spending. Visitors touring the Capitol report that Republicans not only voted for the bill, but did so in broad daylight and even bragged about it later.

The exact details of the spine-for-pork transaction were not available by press time. Sources say the spine was worth many times what Democrats paid for it. But Republicans expressed no interest in selling it to eager buyers on the open market.

"I've been in Washington a long time, and you know, I'm not sure I really trust the market anymore," said one Republican senator involved in the negotiations. "Who's going to make sure everyone's treated fairly? Who's going to set the price? What if no one bids on it? It's all so risky and, quite frankly, really frightening. Oh, look at the time! I've got to go regulate cable television."

Libertarians started an Internet campaign to convince Republicans to sell them the spine, but Republican spam filters that previously had been set to block all e-mails from Libertarians prevented Republicans from finding out about the offer until it was too late.

Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, tried to get the party's spine back by trading Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid 6,000 gallons of "grade-A light amber New Hampshire maple syrup" and Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire's First District, but was rebuffed. He was later seen banging his head against the statue of Daniel Webster in Statuary Hall.

"We're gonna win reelection this fall for sure!" said one jubilant Republican who voted for the farm bill because it contained a pork project for his district. "The American people respect politicians who stand up to the party in power and meekly beg for handouts and favors!"

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About the Author

Andrew Cline is editorial page editor of the New Hampshire Union Leader. You can follow him on Twitter at @Drewhampshire.