‘Twas the Night Before Conference, When All Through the House….

James Wagoner

'Twas the night before Conference, when all through the House...Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The amendments were hung by the manager's chair, In hope that the votes soon would be there.

‘Twas the night before Conference, when all through the House

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The amendments were hung by the manager’s chair,

In hope that the votes soon would be there.

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The Senate kept going, those dallying feds,

While visions of victory danced in their heads.

With the President off hosting dinners of state,

The Senate was stuck in its endless debate,

When out on the floor there arose such a clatter,

I flipped on CSPAN to see what was the matter.

To the microphone Ben Nelson flew like a flash,

Siding with Stupak, women’s health he would slash.

To him all that mattered was what the Bishops would think,

Was there really no limit to how low he would sink?

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a sleigh full of Senator’s quaking with fear!

Then Barbara the Boxer, so lively and quick,

Beat back the amendment and stopped Nelson’s trick.

But more rapid than eagles the next compromise came,

And Rahm from the White House, he called them by name;

"Now, Nelson! Now, Lieberman, Casey and Hatch!

To Harry Reid’s office!  Let’s settle this match!

We need Number 60 for the Senate’s roll call

So give in to Nelson! And vote for it all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,

So on to TV they rushed with their spin,

Claiming this sell-out was really a win!


And then, in a twinkling, Nelson’s back in the ring

"If the House makes any changes I’ll kill the whole thing!"

As I pick up the paper and read all the blogs,

I wonder if health care has gone to the dogs.

Was a robust public option only a dream?

Or the Medicare buy-in?  I’m sensing a theme.

The far-right has tried to bring abstinence-only back,

And women’s health coverage is under attack.

But conference is coming! More fighting! How merry!

What will this bill look like once Nancy meets Harry?

As 2009 now wraps up with a bow

And all of D.C. is covered with snow;


I started to wonder, is there any hope left?

Can there still be reform?  I am feeling bereft.

Conference is coming!  They’re combining the bills!

Let’s drop the bad language! Let’s cure people’s ills!


It’s up to Pelosi, a right jolly spry elf,

And I laughed when I realized, in spite of myself;

This liberal Speaker – From San Fran at that!

Could stand up for progressives and go to the mat!


Ben Nelson may think that the Senate can rule,

But this ain’t Nebraska.  There’s two chambers who’ll

Both need to be heeded as health care concludes.

Pelosi, we’re with you! Stand up to these dudes!

The bullies have spines – but progressives do too,

We’ll stand for our rights and reform we’ll push through.

Together we stand with the end now in sight,

"Happy New Year to all! Now let’s go win this fight!"

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