Cards on the table: Four songs for the bipartisan debt showdown


So this is kind of a weird time to be alive, when the president and the Republican congressional leaders and the Democratic congressional leaders are doing these press-conference showdowns where each faction offers gentle smack-talk about the other factions, apparently en route to achieving a not-insignificant deal on the budget, and it almost boils down to elementary-school lunch table deal-making: "If you let me have your Fruit-Roll-up, I'll give you a slice of my pizza, but if we agree to that, then Timmy's gotta share his Doritos." But this is big stakes, here--on the level, theoretically speaking, some shit that went down in this mostly horrible but conceptually intriguing novel I read last year. Seriously, guys? We could default on our debts unless these pinstriped fools in Washington sort this mess out in the next twenty-odd days--and sorting this mess out could involve selling our souls by gutting Social Security and Medicare. Scary stuff, and it's not happening in some ivory-tower/think-tank war game, but right now, in real-time, as you lazily procrastinate stimulating the economy by skimming this blog post.

Here are some gambling-related tunes--because, well, that's happening in all these Oval Office boardrooms and lobbying chambers--to rock out to while trying not to think about it.

(If all else fails? Gimme Noise highly recommends Joey Ramone's immortal forget-me-not "Stop Thinking About It." Or maybe Lady Gaga's "Poker Face.")

[jump] Kenny Rogers, "The Gambler"

Dollars to donuts that this is John Boehner's general summer ringtone, and that he's hearing a lot of it regardless of where he's spending his time: in the congressional sauna, in committee chambers, in his office, glad-handing at fundraisers, in illicit massage parlors, roasting out on the links in ridiculous golf-pro duds.

Frank Sinatra, "Luck Be a Lady"

Dollars to donuts that this is Barack Obama's general summer ringtone, and that he's hearing a lot of it regardless of where he's spending his time: working on his bowling game on the underground White House lanes, checking Sportscenter, dining at Jay-Z and Beyonce's place out in the Hamptons, signing reams of Executive Orders, or engaging Joe Biden in best two-out-of-three thumb-wrestling battles.

The Fiery Furnaces, "Borneo"

A first-person narrative about compulsive gambling run amok is kind of the perfect metaphor for a checkbook-happy, out-of-control Congress, wouldn't you say? The problem, of course, is that the money our elected representatives are wagering isn't theirs, it's ours.

The Rolling Stones, "Tumbling Dice"

Mick Jagger strings game jive and sex braggadocio together to create something that's almost its own weird language: He'll drink you under the table, bed all the girlfriends who ever left you, and take all your money in a marathon card game. There's nothing in there, you'll notice, about settling up; more than likely if there are markers due, he'll sneak out the back door while everyone's preoccupied or passed out. There's a message for us here, but billions of dollars in debt is something that's pretty much impossible to skip out on--even when you're supposedly "the greatest country on Earth."