THE ICEMAN COMETH

If you recall reaching the debt limit was one of two cataclysms predicted for this week. Fortunately rain has been so prevalent both were postponed. Your rain checks will be emailed to you.

Well, actually breeching the debt limit was avoided by the very astute Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner who simply paid the cable bill from the grocery money so our multi-media access is intact.

But the implosion of our economy, predicted by the GOP if the limit was reached, is simply one of the scare tactics they’ve been using in trying to bully their way through the exercise of their political leverage in Congress.

Not that the Dems are above such tactics when a perceived need to do so arises. But particularly over the past dozen years or so invented bogeymen have served to provide impetus to the GOP to move forward on various measures that act to consolidate power and wealth among the already powerful and wealthy, which is bad enough, but to the direct detriment of those outside those parameters which is even worse.

For the sake of argument I will not attribute evil motives to GOP  personages here. I’ll even grant, again for the sake of argument, that if  they are fully aware of the devastating effect some of these policies have or will have, in their ideal world, that will merely be a temporary setback and that either private or non federal entities will take up the slack as our nation grows stronger overall.

But my view is that these ideals they profess; less government, more individual initiative, free enterprise acting  to spread greater prosperity for all, are nothing but pipe dreams.

Like the characters in Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh Gop leaders are delusional and dream of things that never were and make promises impossible to keep.

The Iceman Cometh is set in Harry Hope’s decidedly downmarket Greenwich Village saloon and rooming house, in 1912. The patrons, who are all men except for three women who are prostitutes, are all dead-end alcoholics who spend every possible moment seeking oblivion in each others’ company and trying to con or wheedle free drinks from Harry and the bartenders. They tend to focus much of their anticipation on the semi-regular visits of the salesman Theodore Hickman, known to them as Hickey. When Hickey finishes a tour of his business territory, which is apparently a wide expanse of the West Coast, he typically turns up at the saloon and starts the party. As the play opens, the regulars are expecting Hickey to turn up soon and plan to throw Harry a surprise birthday party. The entire first act introduces the various characters and shows them bickering amongst each other, showing just how drunk and delusional they are, all the while waiting for the arrival of Hickey.

In this case John Boehner is Harry Hope.

Harry Hope is the proprietor of the bar and, though he is constantly saying otherwise, has a tendency to give out free drinks.

Boehner promises not to hand out earmarks but will sneak some in if he can.

Newt Gingrich is Pat McGloin,

a former police lieutenant who was convicted on criminal charges and kicked out of the force. He says he is hoping to appeal, but is waiting for the right moment.

Newt left the House of Representatives in a cloud of scandal and considers now to be the time for his appeal, in this instance to the Court of Public Opinion.

Mike Huckabee is Hugo Kalmar.

Hugo Kalmar is a former editor of anarchist periodicals who often quotes the Old Testament. He is drunk and passed out for a majority of the play and is constantly asking the other patrons to buy him a drink

Like Kalmar being passed out and missing much action, Huckabee keeps his distance from the active political fray with his show on Fox. He’ll spout Biblical phrases and has demurred from running for President for the nonce since his income means Fox buying his drinks as well as  everything else. Though not a former anarchist editor, he is a former governor of Arkansas. You tell me the difference.

Allen West and Herman Cain are vying for the role of Joe Mott.

Joe Mott is the only African American member of the group and is the former owner of a black casino. He insists he will soon re-open the casino

John McCain is Cecil “The Captain” Lewis.

Cecil “The Captain” Lewis is a former infantryman of the British Army who fought Piet “The General” Wetjoen, a Boer, during the Boer War. The two are now good friends and each insists they’ll soon go back to their nations of origin.

Perhaps John Kerry can have a cameo as his former adversary.

Donald Trump is Ed Mosher.

Ed Mosher is Harry’s brother-in-law, Bess’s brother. He is a former circus box-office man and con-man who prides himself on his ability to give incorrect change. He kept too much of his illegitimate profits to himself and was fired, but says he will get his job back someday.

Wouldn’t we all like to tell the Donald, “You’re fired!”?

There are three prostitute characters. For the life of me I can’t imagine anyone in those parts.

Tim Pawlenty, as they say in Hollywood and on Broadway, IS Hickey.

Finally Hickey arrives and his behavior throws the other characters into turmoil. He insists, with as much charisma as ever, but now together with the zeal of a recent convert, that he sees life clearly now as never before, because he is sober. Hickey wants the characters to cast away their delusions and embrace the hopelessness of their fates. He takes on this task with a near-maniacal fervor. How he goes about his mission, how the other characters respond, and their efforts to find out what has wrought this change in Hickey take over four hours to resolve.

The interplay of the characters is typical of any tavern I’ve ever frequented. So much bullshit and so many unrealistic aspirations, to remain inchoate forever. Just pipe dreams and lies told to each other. Each character knows he lies and knows he’s being told lies but in the comfort of the bar these lies seem somehow palatable, somehow believable, somehow accomplishable.

So goes the GOP in their comfort zone, either House of Congress, or the gatherings to display unity and promote their joint agenda. or their public rallies.

They spout their pipe dreams as if conjured from a fount of wisdom and foresight when the truth is these pipe dreams are nothing but a product of the heady brew of intoxication consisting of equal parts hubris, subservience to their financial backers, and the secret pleasure found in getting away with murder.

No, not literally murder, though it seems our friend Hickey wends his way to a confession of offing his own wife. As his dramatic monologue of confession unfolds Hickey

 realizes that he went insane and that people need their empty dreams to keep them going

Hickey had already made his own call for the cops to come get him and as the scene becomes settled

The others all go back to their empty promises and pipe dreams …

Of course my GOP analogy doesn’t square 100% with the scenario established by O’Neill. After all, Tim Pawlenty is Hickey who is described as having charisma, a charge for which Pawlenty could never even get indicted let alone convicted.

But really any of the GOP “actors” could fill most any role. as  their pipe dreams, individual though they may be, ultimately merge into the same illusion, verging on delusion.

No matter the trauma, no matter the interjection of reality, they, too, just as do the habitues of Harry Hope’s bar, always return to the pipe dreams that sustain them.

All character and plot descriptions courtesy of Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Iceman_Cometh

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