Two days after shutting down the US Government, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Speaker of the the House John Boehner (R-OH) released a joint statement trolling the nation for not getting the obvious joke they’d played on the American People.
“I don’t see how people have so thoroughly missed the point of our hilarious recent shenanigans,” said Boehner, chuckling heartily to himself.
“Americans think we all hate one another, but this just isn’t the case. These guys are hombres, my bros,” said Reid as he affectionately grabs senatorial counterpart Mitch McConnell underneath his arm and gives him a playful noogie. McConnell did not comment, but reports are he was not pleased.
Following Boehner to his office, he playfully slaps Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on the rear, giving her a wink. “Democrat, Republican, these are titles that we just perpetuate in an ironic sense. None of us really care about labels. We’re beyond labels. Well, except during election years, but that’s neither here nor there.” Boehner offers me a chair as he sits down and leans on the back two legs of his. He cracks open a PBR and takes a long, satisfied sip.
“The Republicans in the House, we’re not really against the Affordable Care Act… Obamacare. Hell it’s pretty much what we get up here on the Hill. THAT’S what makes this so funny, get it? ‘Cause we’re not really against it, but we’re acting like it in an ironic sense? And honestly, if this gambit works at least we’ve given the people the healing power of laughter!”
Heading from Boehner’s office to Reid’s, the sounds of raucous laughter can be heard as the page’s are filled in on the joke. I find Reid in his office, drinking a G&T out of a mason jar and listening to Neutral Milk Hotel. He ushers me onto a beanbag and awkwardly tries to fist bump me. The entire interview he talks to me with his finger in front of his face.
“What the citizens need to understand is, we are competent individuals. We are just joshing them a little.” I ask him what he thinks about the Healthcare Act and the Republicans apparent attempt to block it.
“Well, number one, like we said we’re just pulling on America’s leg a tad. Second, we don’t really know what’s in the Healthcare Act at all. I don’t think anyone here read it. Did you see it, man? It was like, 8 million pages long. I don’t know a single person who read it, so none of us really know what it’ll do or what it really is. Makes for a nice sound bite though, doesn’t it?”
One Congressman does not appear to be in on the joke. Speaking to James Lankford (R-OK) from Oklahoma’s 5th district, it becomes painfully apparent that no one let him in on it.
“I truly think that Obamacare is going to bankrupt this country. I feel for the families of those people who’ve been furloughed from their jobs in the federal government, but if we don’t hand this back over to the private sector and stop bankrupting this country, then neither their children nor their grandchildren are going to be able to enjoy the hard won freedoms that this country has built its foundation upon.”
Walking by in the hallway, Vice President Joe Biden tries unsuccessfully to hold in his laughter as he listens to the naive congressman miss out totally on the sardonic wit of our other elected representatives.
“I want Americans to… (scowls)… understand that… (pauses)… Obamacare… what’s so funny?” Lankford asks me as he stares down the hallway at a howling Biden. “Anyway, I’m not kidding when I say that our stand against this law is serious and is a necessary step if we’re going to ever even get to discussing movement on the debt ceiling come October.” Biden sticks his head in the door and begins laughing uncontrollably.
“What the hell is his problem?” asks Lankford sullenly. “I feel like the nerd at school, everyone has been giggling when they see me today and I don’t know why. These are serious issues, we’re supposed to be accomplishing things. We need to achieve compromises that benefit the American public and I seem to be the only one taking it seriously.”
I walk back to Boehner’s office to find him changed into jorts and a size-too-small Arcade Fire T-shirt. He offers me a PBR as he downs another. “Dude, you should’ve seen Obama when we told him we were going to shut down the government over this middling CR (continuing resolution). At first he was pissed, but Bro, then he like started laughing like I was a squirrel on f**king skis man. He went nuts!”
When contacted for a comment, the White House said that they had none except that, “The American People, and all good folks around the world, ought to just think about it for a second. Just ponder it for a minute, man. I promise they’ll get it eventually.”
Boehner smirks backwards at Barbara Boxer (D-CA) as she passes a suspicious, smoking, inverted coke can to Chuck Grassley (R-IA). Grassley puts his mouth to the can and inhales. Boehner looks back at me, “It’s funny isn’t it? I mean, we shut the whole goddamn thing down and, like, we thought the people would laugh at us feigning incompentancy, but that doesn’t seem to be happening so far.”
“It’ll happen man, don’t worry. They’re totally gonna dig it,” interrupts Grassley.
“I hope they do,” says Boehner, “Because I wouldn’t want to them to think we don’t do anything up here. They might elect a different Congress then, a more diligent Congress but a duller, less funny Congress! The American People need to step back and realize how hilarious it is that we’re trolling them like this!”