To help celebrate our twenty-fifth year of being on the information superhighway, we have reached out to some of our favorite former columnists for check-ins and updates. Today features the glorious return of Tendency legend Ben Greenman, who wrote several fake musicals for us between 2000 and 2012, many of which can be found here. Others can be read in our 2012 collection The McSweeney’s Book of Politics and Musicals.

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[KEVIN McCARTHY, facing a government shutdown, cuts a deal with House Democrats. He is proud while facing cameras, but when he turns away, there is terror in his eyes.]

I speak, I speak
I am the Speaker
Of the House,
Yet no one’s weaker.
I came to power
With conditions.
Among them, that
Any positions
That offended
The right flank
Would get me,
In a hurry, shanked.

[MATT GAETZ comes forward to oppose McCarthy.]

Did that seem chaotic?
Well, hold my beer.
I move to remove
This man here.
I move to vacate,
I call for vacation.
But not the kind
With recreation,
Not the kind
With nice resorts,
With restaurants
And tennis courts.
I move to vacate
In the goodbye sense,
To put the present
In the past tense.
Let’s take a vote
And count the ayes.
It’s time to thwart
And traumatize!

[The House votes and KEVIN McCARTHY is removed by a 216-210 vote, with a handful of Republicans joining Democrats to support the measure.]

Your speakership has now unraveled.
America has cleansed its palate.
Hand over that, uh, wooden hammer—
You know what I mean: that mallet!

Take this gavel from me,
I can’t use it anymore.

[KEVIN McCARTHY, stripped of power, wanders down to his office. Various HOUSE MEMBERS go to confront or comfort KEVIN McCARTHY. He is in his office and will not answer.]

What is going on here?

We’re knocking on Kevin’s door.

[KEVIN McCARTHY waits a while and then storms out. He makes a beeline for MATT GAETZ.]

Double, double, toil and trouble,
You’re living in a Beltway bubble.
You brought me down for spite, for fun,
But can you fathom what you’ve done?
The Speaker’s chair is empty now,
You freakin’ moron: take a bow.
You’ve paralyzed the People’s House
You showboat fool! You selfish louse!
You big-head bampot! You Florida man!
You human version of a pervert’s van!
You nitwit traitor! You cuckoo bird!
I warned you, but you were undeterred.

When you say “cuckoo,” I hear “coup-coup.”
The die is cast. We’re looking through you.

[People across the country react to the news. At one bar, a POLITICALLY AWARE MAN is sitting with his friend, a POLITICALLY UNAWARE MAN.]

Were you watching what the House did?
The Speaker over there was ousted.



Melissa? Joe?

His name’s Kevin.

Him, I don’t know.

[Back at the House, KEVIN McCARTHY is still confronting MATT GAETZ.]

Without a Speaker, gears grind to a halt.
I hope you know this is all your fault,
You bucket of demented slime.

Chill out, man. We have some time.

[They have no time. Days later, Hamas executes a massive terror attack, touching off a war with Israel. The House attempts to move forward and elect a Speaker. STEVE SCALISE tries to take the gavel.]

I’m not sure you have a shot.

Really, dude?

Shit—I forgot!

[STEVE SCALISE withdraws from the race. KEVIN McCARTHY, humiliated by his defeat, ashamed that he forgot that STEVE SCALISE had been shot, and generally demoralized, starts to feel achy and feverish. He goes home, falls asleep on the couch, and wakes thirty-six hours later. He is covered in sweat.]

I woke up thinking of a bird
Flying by me overheard.
You might think I mean “overhead”
But “overheard” was what I said.
I had not opened up my eyes
And still, I sensed him in the skies.
I registered the trilling sound
Before his shadow on the ground.
He sailed by on morning air
Not bird of prey but bird of prayer.
A week ago I was benumbed
By politics. I had succumbed
To pure procedural insanity.
I had surrendered my humanity.
My soul was like a frozen river,
I had no grace as a lawgiver.
But now I feel strangely stirred
I woke up thinking of a bird

[KEVIN McCARTHY struggles to his feet and then to the bathroom. He pees, flushes the toilet, and the water in the bowl, whirling, becomes a vortex that sucks him into the past. A bearded man is standing near him.]

I’m Kevin. Are
You Santa Claus?

[The man turns to face KEVIN McCARTHY. He is holding two stone tablets. It’s not Santa Claus. It’s MOSES.]

You see these tablets?
They’re O.G. laws.
Look upon them and consider
That you sold out to the highest bidder
When you took over as the Speaker,
You craven, recreant self-seeker.
Hand me that notebook from that shelf.

[KEVIN McCARTHY hands him the notebook.]

It reads, on page one, “Note to self—
A worthy life fears no objection
But organizes the collection
Of the forces in its mind
So that they are paired, combined,
Opposites tied to each other
Like a brother to a brother.
The secret is the tension felt
It functions as a shelterbelt,
Left must live with right beside it
Belief must have some doubt inside it.
The object’s not factional fandom,
But rivals who can work in tandem.”
That’s the Moses memorandum.

The scales are lifted
From my eyes.
I tried before
To compromise
And was brought down
In public shame,
But governance
Is not a game.
The people need
A steady hand
To bring cohesion
To the land.
I vow a full
To working toward
A stronger nation.

[KEVIN McCARTHY, still feverish, passes out. He is sent forward through time and disgorged from his toilet. When he wakes, he sees a picture projected on the ceiling of his bathroom. It is JIM JORDAN, who is trying to become Speaker. After multiple votes fail, JIM JORDAN runs down the hall, tears in his eyes, and locks himself inside a closet. Between sobs, he considers his position.]

First vote: defeat.
The second, the same.
A downward trend
Is my claim to fame.
Third time, no charm,
The worst one yet.
They smoked me like
A cigarette.
I thought that
Hannity could bully
Up some votes,
But I lost fully.
Secret ballot.
Goodbye, Jim.
Chair: still empty.
Outlook: grim.
What should I do
When thus rejected,
When thrice repelled
And not selected?

[JIM JORDAN slowly stops sobbing. A grin spreads across his face.]

I plan to go back to the floor!
There’s been multiple rounds of votes before!

[KEVIN McCARTHY, witnessing JIM JORDAN’s renewed resolve projected on the ceiling of his bathroom, returns to the toilet, bends down, calls MOSES’s name over and over again. That’s how he is discovered hours later. He recognizes no one. He calls for MOSES for forty years straight, taking small breaks only to eat, use the bathroom, and jot down memos on Post-it notes. When he dies, he is buried, as one of the notes instructs, in a giant toilet.]