It's way too early to sort out the winners and the losers in the big budget showdown on Capitol Hill the last couple weeks. They're still extricating bodies from behind the hay bales of the Gunfight at the D.C. Corral, and will be for months.
It'll take even longer to identify the white-hatted good guys from the no-good rustlers of the public trust. All depends on your point of view. Everybody thinks he's Wyatt Earp.
Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats got exactly what they wanted, which normally indicates a win for the country, but the Tea Party is still madder than hell. The word compromise is not in their vocabulary.
Then, consider their plans to finance further tax cuts for the rich by laying-off Head Start teachers, and apparently neither are the words "community," "compatible" or "unanimity."
This ideological strife did prove the perfect opportunity for President Obama to show off his abilities to accommodate, negotiate, placate and facilitate. He's smoother than a baby's butt dipped in a polyurethane bath.
Like phlegm on Teflon. Flexibility, never his Achilles Heel. Gumption, however, was. The question had less to do with the existence of a backbone, and more with the rigid ingredients in its makeup. The boniness, so to speak. What level of bonacity in his spine. How petrified the vertebrae.
Was it the consistency of a Tupperware dish full of lime Jell-O with carrot shreds forgotten in the back seat of a station wagon in New Mexico on an August afternoon, or made of sterner stuff?
The question cries out for the NSF to develop a scale of bone and organ density. On one end you'd have Charlie Sheen's liver and on the other, Rand Paul's skull.
Above and astride the fray, the president exhibited unambiguous signs of calcium augmentation signing a bill that calls for budget cuts of $38 billion, 62 percent less than the symbolic ground of $100 billion the Tea Party staked their tent posts of revolution on last fall. Nevertheless, a figure significantly larger than the progressive wing of his party desired, which can best be measured in multiples of zero.
But if you think the passage of this legislation signals a respite from these budget battles, you're more misguided than the poor sap trying to finance a new wing of Vegas condos with adjustable mortgages and no money down.
The confrontations intensify from here on out. Just like the Broadway production of "Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark," this struggle was but a preview.
Oh sure, choreography will be tinkered with and some higher-flying rigging secured, and a few minor plot points might change, but underneath it'll be the same old cast mouthing the same tired dialogue. "We are good and right and true and just while they are attempting to destroy the country by killing the elderly with red hot forks to the eyes and blah, blah, blah."
Next up: raising the national debt ceiling, then a long-term budget deal, both of which promise to make this encounter look like a slap fight in a Catholic school-girl's locker room.
Got to remember, approaching an election year, any war of words inevitably escalates from conventional into the nuclear exchange variety. Say hello to our old friend, Mutually Assured Destruction; back and tan and rested. As Doc Holliday exits left, Dr. Strangelove moves down stage front.
The New York Times says Emmy-nominated comedian and writer Will Durst "is quite possibly the best political satirist working in the country today." E-mail Will Durst at email@example.com. Will Durst's book, "The All American Sport of Bipartisan Bashing," is available from Amazon and better bookstores all over this great land of ours.