Thursday, June 21 , 2018, 1:27 pm | Mostly Cloudy 68º

 
 
 
 

Will Durst: A Covey of Political Caucuses

During the Trumpcare Meltdown, when the same Republicans who chanted “Repeal and Replace” for seven years folded like a broken down lawn chair in a Category 5 hurricane, we learned about a couple mysterious Republican congressional caucuses instrumental in torpedoing the American Health Care Act.

These two groups come from such opposite sides of the political spectrum they undoubtedly have dartboards with each other’s pictures tacked to the middle.

The Freedom Caucus is made up of members who formerly self-identified as Tea Partiers but changed their name to interact with civilized people. Of course, we’re referring to those unsung heroes of the Democratic process: forced to trudge the minefields of ego and weather the storms of unconscionable incompetence, those brave patriots who soldier on in relative obscurity as congressional staffers.

Way over on the other side is the Tuesday Group, moderate Republicans, which in the 1960s were known as the Wednesday Group. Seriously. You got to wonder if there’s a “​Second Thursday in Months that Don’t Have an R in Them Group” because if so, they haven’t been much of a factor lately.

Most citizens aren’t aware of these special-interest caucuses flying under the radar like sparrows through cable ducts, plotting and lobbying and exerting influence and stiffing caterers all over the greater D.C. area, complete with secret handshakes and hazing rituals. “​Last one to raise $200,000 by next Monday has to pay for the double tray of ‘Dogs in a Blanket.’”

One of the nearly 200 official groups is the Mental Health Caucus, ostensibly charged to study the multitude of mental health problems plaguing the country. The lucky part is the wealth of raw material available without ever leaving the Capitol grounds.

The bipartisan Heroin Taskforce doesn't actually use heroin, but they know where you can get it. The Congressional Asthma & Allergy Taskforce meets when pollen counts are low, or not. And the Electromagnetic Pulse Caucus is rigorous about backing up the minutes of their meetings onto multiple hard drives. 

There's the Congressional Cannabis Caucus that one likes to think gets together every Friday at 4:20. And of course, the Friends of Kazakhstan Caucus. Or is it the Friends of Lanie Kazan Caucus? Always get those two mixed up. 

Don't know if The Brotherhood of Liver Transplant Recipients, the 3rd Wives Elimination Group, Tiny Hands Union, The Elvis Caucus, a group of Southerners whose meetings feature a fried banana and peanut butter sandwich buffet or the Floss With Domestic Licorice Advancement Group exist, but they could. 

The Blue Dog Coalition is a group of conservative Democrats and totally different than Yellow Dog Democrats, so enamored of their party they would vote for a yellow dog if it were on the Democrat ballot. No Purple Dog Democrats or Plaid Dog Democrats, yet, but the chroma- kennel is definitely growing. 

The Congressional Values Action Team exists, but hasn't spread its sphere of influence very wide. Everyone get honorary membership in the Mirror Appreciation Society, and undoubtedly, there's a Beelzebub Friendship Network and Bipartisan Flunky & Bootlicker Support Group that operate under different names. 

While the vast majority of caucuses are not much more than excuses to drink with friends in private, the most useless and ineffectual group that occasionally meets but accomplishes absolutely nothing is a group you may know as... the Democrats.

Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comedian and former Pizza Hut assistant manager syndicated by Cagle Cartoons. Click here for videos and a calendar of personal appearances, including his new one-man show, Elect to Laugh: 2016, appearing every Tuesday at The Marsh in San Francisco. Follow him on Twitter: @willdurst and click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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