President Obama, the poet-president, once used what we’re told is a “skillful reverse haiku” to sail through always tricky Mideast policy:
“Let me be absolutely
clear: Israel is
a strong friend of Israel’s.”
And Vice President Biden often shows his poetic side, for example in talking about former Irish prime minister Brian Cowen’s mother:
“His mom lived in Long Island
for 10 years or so.
God rest her soul.
And — although, she’s — wait
— your mom’s still — your mom’s still alive.
Your dad passed.”
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is most endearing with this:
“Biking through New York’s boroughs in 2005,
I thought about some old friends, Joe and Eileen Bailey.
Though they are imaginary,
I frequently talk to them.”
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) rates two entries. Here’s one:
“I’ve got real empathy for those who
as most of you know,
I’ve got 11 brothers and sisters.
I know that three of my brothers lost their jobs,
I’m not sure whether they’ve found jobs yet,
I’ve got a lot of empathy for those caught in this
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid weighs in with a couple of fine efforts:
“Today is a big day
Only 36,000 people
lost their jobs today.”
“My staff tells me not to say this,
but I’m going to say it anyway —
In the summer because of the heat and high humidity,
you could literally
The tourists coming into the Capitol.”
The book, by Kathryn and Ross Petras, who gave us the “365 Stupidest Things Ever Said” calendar, features about 50 current and former lawmakers and pundits — and more than 100 other celebrity poets, such as Snooki, Justin Bieber and Kanye West — taking things they’ve actually said and rendering them in verse form. Kim Jong Il, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Fidel Castro also have entries.
Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, 76, a renowned party animal, has a poem titled “Il Vecchio Sporcaccione,” meaning “The Dirty Old Man”:
“Even though I am a little brat
33 girls in two months seems like
Even for a 30-year-old.
It’s too much
There’s a wonderful “sonnet,” as the authors note, by Rahm Emanuel when he was caught on an FBI wire raging against imprisoned former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. But we can’t print it — even online.
Some readers will be keenly disappointed that there’s only one entry for Mitt Romney, and it’s not even one of his superb disquisitions — evoking the great Joyce Kilmer — on the perfection of Michigan’s trees and lakes.
But at least there’s Newt Gingrich’s excellent explanation of how his “passionate” love of country led him to stray:
“There’s no question at times of my life,
partially driven by how passionately I felt
about this country,
that I worked far too hard
and things happened in my life that
The paperback is published by Workman Publishing.
For more poetry by Donald Trump, Ann Coulter, Larry King and Hugo Chavez, go to our blog: washingtonpost.com/intheloop.
An obscure paint job
The Washington version of the phrase “There’s an app for that” may very well be: “There’s a committee for that.”
Even the Loop — which is usually quite jaded about the intricacies of the federal bureaucracy — was amazed when this announcement crossed our desk: There’s a meeting slated for next month of an entity called the National Tree Marking Paint Committee.
This august body is devoted solely to paint. And not paint in general, but the specific paint the Forest Service uses. To mark trees.
According to the announcement, the committee will gather at an Agriculture Department research station in Flagstaff, Ariz., to “discuss the activities related to the improvements in, concerns about, and the handling and use of” — wait for it — “tree-marking paint.”
Sounds as exciting as, well, watching paint dry. But wait! Here’s something to liven up the proceedings: There’s a field trip. It’s to the Coconino National Forest, where the Forest Service conducts testing on various paints, checking them for durability and heat resistance and the like.
Even the Forest Service official who oversees the committee concedes that despite the importance of the issue (we’re talking somewhere near 100,000 gallons of paint a year, plus environmental and safety concerns), it’s not usually a hot ticket. “It’s usually just us and a few people we contract with,” says Richard Fitzgerald, assistant director for products.
So if a tree-painting meeting happens in the middle of the forest and no one comes . . .
With Emily Heil
The blog: washingtonpost.com/
intheloop. Twitter: @InTheLoopWP.