The Cat in the Hat Goes to the White House

By Janice Kephart on December 13, 2009
"The Cat in the Hat" fancies an exasperating experience when two bored children receive an unwelcome visit from a naive and arrogant cat who causes destruction, and then more. I thought it an appropriate analogy to these first 300 days or so with the Obama administration.

Here the Cat is President Obama, Thing One Harry Reid and Thing Two Nancy Pelosi. Sally and her brother are intelligence agents with their hands tied in the new administration.

It is meant to be over the top like the original story, not offensive, while illuminating issues about the situation we are finding ourselves in today. Will we recover from some of the most far-reaching policy decisions? Our money over-spent and we can't recover? Will we roll back some of the little security that we have managed to implement since 9/11? And what do these changes mean for our democracy?

In "The Cat in the Hat," the cat cleans up the mess in the end. But will we be able to? Will Mr. Obama realize some of the problems that have been created or exacerbated by his policies and be able to fix them?

The Cat in the Hat Goes to the White House
(with apologies to Dr. Seuss)

The sun did not shine.
We were told we no longer had a say.
So we sat in our secure government building
All that cold, cold, wet day.

I sat there with Sally.
We sat there, we two.
And I said “How I wish
This new administration would give us some
Securing to do!”
Too new to make decisions
And too cool to play political ball
So we sat in that secure government building
We did nothing at all.

So all we could do was to
Net surf!
Net surf!
Net surf!
Net surf!
And we did not like it.
That was not our turf.


And then
Something went thump!
How that brand new Commander in Chief made us jump!

We looked!
Then we saw him step right in on the mat!
We looked!
And we saw him!
Mr. Obama in the Hat!
And he said to us,
“Why do you sit there like that?”

“You know I’m in charge and
You no longer have a say
But with my leadership you can do
Lots of un-securing every single day!”

“I know some good programs that we can undo,”
Said Mr. Obama.
“I know lots of big new words that do really good tricks,” said Mr. Obama in a Hat.
“So many tricks.
You have no choice I will show them to you.
The terrorists, criminals and despotic nations
Will not mind at all if I do.”

Then Sally and I
Did not know what to say.
A new administration was in our building
And not just for a day.

But our intelligent fish, with his security clearances said, “No! No! Make that Obama go away!
Tell that Obama in the Hat
You do NOT want to play.
You should not do nothing.
You should work hard at being out and about.
And try to improve things
When national security is being left out!”

“Now! Now! Have no fear.
Have no fear!” said Mr. Obama.
My tricks are not bad,”
Said Mr. President in the Hat.
“Why, times are tough
There is plenty to do, if you wish,
We can play hard and fast with a game I call
UP-UP-UP with that overly intelligent fish
Who spends way too much time and effort trying to protect our nation from all those so-called risks!”

“Put me down!” said the fish.
“This is not funny at all!
“Put me down!” said the fish.
“I do not wish for our American way of life to fall!”

“Have no fear!” said Mr. Obama.
“I may just let you fall.
But first I will close Gitmo
As the ACLU presses me to let them all go.
With Department of Justice in hand, I will unveil our CIA, with our agents in jeopardy, I’ll see if we can save the Afghans on election day!
I can reach out a hand to our neighbors in need,
And slip in a public option and an amnesty to assure our economy stays on its knees.
But that is not ALL I can do!”
Said Obama the Cat …

"Look at me!
Look at me now!” said Mr. Obama.
“With the economy and Wall Street
On top of my hat!
I can hold TWO trials in New York and a tribunal location I will pick from a map!
I can hold up investigations of terrorists if I don’t call them such!
Hold up this fish and play double dutch!
I can hold up an airport security manual, all the IDs we use too, so the terrorists know what prosthetics to use!
And look! I can hop on with E-Verify, and down on immigration reform, and base the whole premise on “illegal is IN”!
But that is not all!
Oh, no.
That is not all…

"Look at me!
Look at me!
Look at me NOW!
It is fun to move things I do not understand
Using my constitutional law skills and crystal ball.

Then Sally and I,
We saw ALL the things fall!

And our fish came down, too.
He fell into a pot!
He said, "Do I like this?
Oh, no! I do not.
This is not a good game,"
Said our fish as he lit.
"No, I do not like it,
Not one little bit!"

"Now look what you did!"
Said the fish to the Commander.
"Now look at this government!
Look at this! Look at that!
You sank our identity programs
Sank them deep with fakes
You gave away taxpayer monies,
You bent counterterrorism policies, for goodness sake! You SHOULD NOT be here.
When national security you do not.
You get out of this White House!”
Said the fish in the pot.

"But I like to be here.
Oh, I like it a lot!"
Said the Mr. Obama in the Hat
To the fish in the pot.
"I will NOT go away.
I do NOT wish to go!
And so," said the Commander in Chief,
I will show you
Another good game that I know!"

And then he ran out.
And, then, fast as a fox,
The President
Came back in with a box.
A big red wood box.
It was shut with a hook.
"Now look at this trick,"
Said the Mr. Obama.
"Take a look!"

Then he got up on top
With a tip of his hat.
"I call this game CONGRESS-IN-A-BOX,"
Said Obama the Cat.
"In this box are two things
I will show to you now.
You will like these two things,"
Said Obama with a bow.

"I will pick up the hook.
You will see something new.
Two things. And I call them
Thing Reid and Thing Pelosi.
These things may bite you.
But to me they will heed.”
Then, out of the box
Came Thing Pelosi and Thing Reid!
And they ran to us fast.
They said, “How do you do?
Would you like to shake hands
With Thing Reid and Thing Pelosi, we have a
Few things to say to you too!”

And Sally and I
Did not know what to do.
So we had to shake hands
With Thing Pelosi and Thing Reid.
We shook their two hands.
But our intelligent fish said, "No! No!
Those Things should not be
In that Congress house! Make them go!
"They should not be here
They helped make national security what it is not!
Put them out! Put them out!"
Said that intelligent fish in the pot.

"Have no fear, little fish,"
Said the Obama with the Hat.
"These Things are good Things."
And he gave them a pat.
"They are tame. (I tamed them!)
They have come here to play.
They will give you some more twisted kinds of fun
On this wet, wet, wet day."

"Now, here is a game that they like,"
Said Obama the cat.
“They like to give money to automakers and Wall Street, they won’t admit defeat
For who cares where it goes or from whose pockets it flows!”

"No! Not in this economy!"
Said the fish in the pot.
"They should not give handouts
In this economy! They should not.
Oh, the things they will dump!
Oh, the jobs they will hit!
Oh, I do not like it!
Not one little bit!” Then Sally and I
Saw them run down the hall.
We saw those two Things
Giddy up votes up and down Congress halls.
Vote! Spent! Taxpayer! My rent!
And the sound of disappearing money was heard through every wall in the hall.

Thing Pelosi and Thing Reid!
They ran up! They ran down!
With a string on new handouts
We saw the new jobs index go down
The jobs index with the unemployment rate
That goes up, up , up
Like Mr. Obama on his
1,000th teleprompter take!

Then those Things ran about
With big budgets, egos and ideological kicks
And with hops and big thumps
And all kinds of bad tricks.
And I said,
"I do NOT like the way that they play
If founders could see this,
Oh, what would they say!"

Then our intelligent fish said, "Look! Look!"
And our fish shook with fear.
"There are bad people, and they are on their way here!
Do you hear?
Oh, they are crossing our southwest deserts
They are boarding our planes
They have weapons, and drugs, and mean to do us harm and this is NO game!
What will they do to us?
What price will we pay?
Oh, our founders would not like it
To find us this way!"

Then our fish said, "Look! Look!"
And our fish shook with fear.
"Gitmo detainees are on their way here!
Do you hear?
Oh, where will they be held?
Will they be let go?
Oh, Americans will not like it
When they could be in harm’s way!"

So, as fast as I could,
I logged onto my secure net.
And I said, "With my encrypted messages
I can get them I bet.
I bet, with my net,
I can get those Things and those bad people yet!"

But when I hacked right through my net
Those two things got away.
Mr. Commander then said,
“Now you do as I say.
You pack up enforcement
And you take it away!
Dismantle our intelligence, turn the Justice Department on its own, send more and more of our weary troops out into the unknown.
I don’t care if you do not like our game.
We may be doing irreparable harm, but
We are the nation to shame!
We are to shame!
We are to shame!

And he did not shut up the Things
In the box with the hook.
Mr. Obama just shut himself in the Oval Office
With that well known, sour kind of look.

"That is good," said the fish.
"Maybe he will learn from his mistakes. Yes.
But Americans will come.
They will find this big mess!
And this mess is so big
And so deep and so tall,
We cannot pick it up.
There is no way at all!"

Who was back in the White House?
Why, Mr. Obama!
"Have no fear of this mess,"
Said the President in the Hat.
"I always work through the night on these things, in our vegetable garden and even our gym
And so...
I will show you another
Good trick that I know!"

Then we saw him pick up
All the things that were down.
He picked up the jobs,
And the car makers, and the banks,
And the airport security manual,
And the employer audits, and the secure driver licenses,
And the private option to healthcare,
And the laws on drugs (pot would be one),
And the president of FOX News, and the words “terror” and “secure”, and last but not least, our trusty and intelligent fish.
And he put them away.
Then he said, “That is that.”
And then he was gone
All the destruction in place.
So many well-honed things gone.
He did all of this, with just the tip of his hat.

Then our founders came in
And they said to us two,
"Did you secure any facilities?
Keep out a terrorist or two?
Tell me. What did you do?"

And Sally and I did not know
What to say.
Should we tell
What happened to our democracy these past 300 days?

Should we tell THEM about it?
Now, what SHOULD we do?
What would YOU do
If your country asked YOU?