Open, October 5, 2013

The Fitzgerald Theater

Saint Paul, MN


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GK: It has been a great week in America if you enjoy politics, which I do and so do you. There is a lot of playacting and posturing and ranting and roaring but the actors themselves know what's real, and this week all the actors on both sides knew that this was not about health insurance. Health insurance has been around for years, it's better to have it than not have it, and it is as tedious a subject as you can find. No, this was all about stealing the high school principal's pants and making him run down the hall in his underwear. And the debt limit fight yet to come is not about money, it's about petulant schoolboys threatening to set fires in the school unless they get their chocolate milk. It's about power, and each of us has the power to cause damage, and if someone doesn't care about consequences, he is dangerous and some people enjoy being dangerous. We always knew this.

We have Speaker of the House John Boehner here on our stage, in custody.

TR (BOEHNER, STRUGGLING): You can't do this. You'll never get away with this. Let me go.

GK: He is tied up to a log carried by four stagehands and---

TR (BOEHNER): I say, let me go. You are out of order. Out of order.

GK: Don't pull on the ropes, Mr. Speaker, you just make the knots tighter.

TR (BOEHNER): This is outrageous.

GK: Let's work out a deal here, Mr. Boehner. We want you to pass a clean resolution to get the government back in business and if you don't, Minnesota is going to secede from the Union.

TR (BOEHNER): Go ahead. Who gives a rip?

GK: Minnesota contributes more to the federal government in taxes than we get back in services and when we pull out, you're going to miss us big-time.

TR (BOEHNER): Ha!

GK: The Republic of Minnesota. We are leaving the Union. The No. 1 turkey producer in America. Where are you going to get your turkey for Thanksgiving, sir? You won't have the Twins and the Vikings to kick around any more. Or the Minnesota Gophers.

TR (BOEHNER): Ha!!! Minnesota Gophers!!! Bunch of rodents.

GK: Ohio State isn't going to be coming out here and kicking butt anymore. We're done with it. Pass that resolution, Mr. Speaker.

TR (BOEHNER): Untie me.

GK: If you don't end the government shutdown, sir, we are going to pour your bourbon into the sink and we're going to put you in a bag with a bunch of dead fish.

TR (BOEHNER): I will not negotiate with terrorists.

GK: Okay. Down the sink it goes. (POURING)

TR (BOEHNER): You'll pay for that.

GK: Last chance, sir. Stop all this political theater and this foofaraw about health care and get the government back on duty or else----

TR (BOEHNER): N-O. No.

GK: Put him in the bag, boys. (STRUGGLE, TR MUFFLED PROTESTS) Mr. Boehner is in the bag. Boehner is in the bag. Lock it up and put him in the basement. (STRUGGLE, FADING)

GK: After this week I think maybe Lincoln was wrong and the Union is an unworkable idea and we're really four or five countries and the center does not hold, there is no center, and we ought to accept this, and let the South go, they love the Confederate flag, so let them have it, and Texas become a Republic again, it's the only way they'll be happy, and California and Red Sox Nation and the Kingdom of Vermont and us. The Democratic Republic of Minnesota.

I wish I was in the land of soybeans
Then I'd know for sure what joy means
Land of lakes, land of lakes, land of lakes,
In the woods.

What kept this country united for years was the threat of communism but the Chinese have become better capitalists than we are and the Soviet Union could not hold itself together, Ukraine and Georgia and Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and the other stans, and maybe now it's our turn to break up and go our separate ways.

I speak as a Midwesterner. Barack Obama is the first Midwestern president since Lincoln. Gerald Ford wasn't elected, so I don't count him, and yes, there were a whole string of presidents from Ohio, but Ohio is not the Midwest.

TR (BOEHNER): Ohio is TOO in the Midwest.

GK: Is not.

TR (BOEHNER): Is.

GK: Is not.

TR (BOEHNER): Is.

GK: Is not.

TR (BOEHNER): Is.

GK: Is not.

TR (BOEHNER): Is.

GK: Is not.

TR (BOEHNER): Is.

GK: Is not. I've been to Cleveland. It's the East. Cincinnati is part of Kentucky. Anyway. We've accepted a whole string of southern presidents and Californians and now we get our guy in the White House and you people try to steal his pants because you are afraid that Obamacare is going to work. That's what you're afraid of.

TR (BOEHNER): Am not.

GK: Are.

TR (BOEHNER): Am not.

GK: Are.

TR (BOEHNER): Am not.

GK: Are.

TR (BOEHNER): Am not.

GK: Are.

TR (BOEHNER): Am not.

GK: Are.

Listen. One last chance. Minnesota will come back into the Union if you say, "Rah rah rah for Ski U Mah. Rah rah rah rah. Rah for the U of M."

TR (BOEHNER): I will do no such thing.

GK: I'm trying to be reasonable and negotiate a settlement, Mr. Speaker.

TR (BOEHNER): Never!

GK: How about you just say three Rahs. Instead of eight. Rah Rah, rah for the U of M. ---- Okay? Is that so awful?

TR (BOEHNER): No way.

GK: Okay. You don't have to say M. Just Rah rah rah for U.

TR (BOEHNER): No.

GK: Okay. Back in the bag. (STRUGGLE, MEN) Back in the bag full of dead fish. Down to the basement you go.

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

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