It's the holiday season, when even Washington, D.C. gets a little poetic. John Hicks of the Washington Post reported last week that the big, bland federal government loosens its tie and sends out an official holiday poem each year. The poem's purpose (here's where the magic ends) is to educate federal employees on the dos and don'ts of accepting holiday gifts.
Commissioned by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics in 1994, the poem is, surprisingly, metrically sound. Impressive when you consider that the federal employee shoehorned into writing it had to do some serious acrobatics with the legal language. Take a look at this stanza:
Part two six three five of the 5 CFR
Explains in detail the relevant bar.
It defines the term gift
To mean all things worth money.
That's NBA tickets or jars full of honey.
Gifts from foreign officials? Not to worry. Anonymous government poet can rhyme that out.
When foreign officials are giving the gift,
The rules are less strict so I don't cause a rift.
I can take it if
Fair market value U.S.
Is three hundred fifty dollars or less.
The government's gift guide wasn't the only poem to make news in DC last week. As has become tradition, the White House Press Corps celebrated the year in politics by toasting a poem penned by Greg Clugston of Salem Radio Network (SRN) News. Clugston's poem is always set to the meter of "A Visit from St. Nicholas":
'Twas the night before Christmas and in the White House,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that a tax plan soon would be there.
The holiday treats were stale and bland,
After Mrs. Obama had sugar plums banned.
The president was sleeping -- for the hour was late,
He was tired and groggy, like the Denver debate.
This year's verse remembers the twists and turns of the election -- the 47 percent, Clint Eastwood, the chair -- and looks gloomily forward to the challenges ahead. But, as always, it ends with a twinkle: the arrival of Santa Clause -- or, rather, the closest thing to Santa that the year of politics has given us. While past "Santas" have included George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Herman Cain, this year, Clugston brought in a news-making politician who looks born the play the part.
Suddenly, on the South Lawn, there arose such a clatter,
Obama looked up to see what was the matter.
Then what did appear, to wondering eyes?
But a man of great stature -- and considerable size.
His eyes -- how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
Chubby and plump and his eyes a bit misty,
There stood New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
He had come from the coast, badly battered by Sandy,
Seeking FEMA assistance and some holiday candy.
Christie praised POTUS for keeping Jersey afloat,
A far cry from his GOP convention keynote.
Riding high in the polls, Christie's eyes held a gleam,
Was he thinking of running in 2016?
A White House bid comes at quite a high price,
So the president offered some political advice.
And I heard him exclaim, though it sounded absurd:
"Merry Christmas to all! And don't mess with Big Bird!"
USA Today's David Jackson has a full transcript of the poem here.