Kesselschlacht is the word the Germans used in WW2 to describe the encirclement of the enemy. It means cauldron, and that’s where an encircled army was, in the cauldron, unable to get out, and forced to surrender. Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s Chief of Staff, and David Orszag, Obama’s head of the Office of Management and Budget, are in the cauldron. Emanuel announced recently that he will retire soon because he wants to go back to Chicago and spend more time with his family, and Orszag announced his pending retirement because, he says, he is getting married and wants to plan for his wedding in September. None of this fools the watchers, the political types who keep track of such things, and understand that the two men were pushed, not onto, but under, the bus. They were, in short, in the cauldron. Things were a bit murky at first, but the situation cleared when Orszag and  Emmanuel were seen dancing and singing the Kesselschlacht song, to the tune of We’re In The Money, that old 1930s Depression favorite.


We’re in the cauldron

The boiling cauldron

Our backs are to the river

We’re gonna die

I voted for the bright man

The right man

For me

But now I see the bright man

Was only blowing smoke and mirrors

We’re in the cauldron

The boiling cauldron

And we won’t get out of it

Never, I fear


Their gay frolic was interrupted by Axelrod, who sternly reminded them, to the tune The Good Ship Lollipop,


On the good ship H Barock

It’s a short trip to the chopping block

Where the Ton Tons play

At Macouting on a chocolate bar


With a whimsical smile and a dainty pirouette, Axelrod soft shoed out the door, leaving Orszag and Emanuel confused and humiliated. To their consternation Obama entered, eyes cold and lips thin. He sang,


I’ll be dead when you’re glad, you rascal you

I’ll be dead when you’re sad, you rascal you

In November I’ll be dead

But when all is done and said

You’ll be dead before then, you rascal you


He stormed out, turning out the lights. In the dark, Emanuel and Orszag hugged each other, for they knew the end of the story. They slipped out of the darkened White House, humming softly an old Willie Nelson tune. Turn Out The Lights, The Party’s Over.






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