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Rick's List — Covering Congress Edition

On Wednesday evening, after the New Right Mardi Gras rolled through the United States Capitol Building, I sat down with my wife to watch events unfold. As we waited for the Capitol and its grounds to be secured and the members of Congress to return and verify the electoral votes from each state, we bounced from network to network and marveled at the number of experts who can offer analysis.

Once again, I was a bit sad to have pursued a career in which no one from a news network will ever call to ask for my expert analysis.

Wolf: "We're going to go live now to Rick Koster, arts writer from The Day. Rick, thanks for joining us!"

Me: "Of course."

Wolf: "As we look at footage of rioters loping through the halls of the Capitol with bazookas, Rick, what would you say are three essential albums by Jeff Beck?"

Me: "Well, I hate to sound like the typically contrarian critic, Wolf, but I'd lead with 'Rough and Ready.' Then — wait! Is that a live shot showing a guy sitting at Nancy Pelosi's desk?"

Wolf: "Yes! He seems to be gnawing on a smoked turkey leg and reading a copy of 'Look Homeward, Angel.' Oh, and he's hiding a bomb in her file cabinet. Rick, we'll get back to you!"

And of course, Wolf would NOT get back to me because no cares what I think about Jeff Beck during a coup — and certainly after a choice like "Rough and Ready" instead of "Blow by Blow" or "Truth."

I felt a little better after the curfew took effect in D.C. and, within four hours, the streets were sorta cleared and the senators and representatives returned to their duty. It was at that point that something remarkable happened. I realized that each one of these (theoretically) elected officials had — during the violence and uncertainty — ordered their respective speechwriters to get to craft flowing statements of righteous but controlled anger they could deliver on the House or Senate floor when it was back in session.

Imagine these poor, underpaid speechwriters! They were presumably on-site during this whole horrific event, worrying just like everyone else in the building whether they were going to face impromptu firing squads or at least endure beer-and-cigar breath while the revolutionaries shouted slogans at them from close range.

And THAT'S when it hit me. Maybe Wolf and Rachel and Tucker will never call me for expert analysis, but, hey, I'm a professional writer! I can write speeches for politicians! Yes, I'd have to retake that foreign language college course in Robert's Rules of Order-Speak. In fact, I was able to find my old vocabulary/phrase flash cards in the closet last night. Here are some I instantly remembered:

1. "I refuse to yield the floor, Senator Cruz, until you cut that ridiculous ducktail haircut."

2. "Mr. Chairman, I should like to ask Mr. Robert a question. Sir, I'll bet you and your rules of order are loads of fun at parties, right?"

3. (Al Pacino accent) "I'M out of order? YOU'RE out of order!"

4. "Forsooth!"

5. "Madame Chairman, I move to postpone the vote on the best Jeff Beck albums until we've all had time to properly listen to 'Rough and Ready."


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