Politicians Can’t Stop Quoting Dr. Seuss

Mar 11, 2014 1:33pm

Would you, could you quote the man?

Would you, could you on C-SPAN?

Forget Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln and Gandhi. For some reason, politicians seem drawn to another purveyor of political wisdom — the redoubtable Dr. Seuss. In fact, a number of prominent pols have even taken to reading his rhyming classics aloud.

During last night’s 14-hour climate change talk-a-thon, Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., quoted Seuss’ “The Lorax,” a story with a none-too-subtle conservationist message.

“‘But now,’ says the Once-ler,

‘Now that you’re here

The word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear:

UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot,

Nothing is going to get better.

It’s not.’”

In “The Lorax,” a greedy character called the Once-ler cuts down the once-prolific Truffula trees, ignoring the Lorax’s indecipherable one-word warning: “Unless.”

The Once-ler’s ruthless deforestation eventually obliterates the Truffula tree population and he is left without raw materials. Distraught, the Once-ler finally understands the Lorax’s message and gives a visiting child the last Truffula seed, which he hopes can restore the forest and lure back the Lorax.

Markey’s colleagues from the other side of the aisle have also invoked Dr. Seuss.

Last September, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, briefly paused his 21-hour diatribe against Obamacare to read Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham” to his daughters before bed.

The Senator drew a parallel between the president’s healthcare initiative and Sam-I-Am’s bizarre breakfast.

“You know, green eggs and ham has some applicability, as curious as it might sound, to the Obamacare debate. Because, three and a half years ago, President Obama and the Senate Democrats told the American people, ‘just try’ Obamacare. ‘Just try it,’” he said. “But I’ll tell ya the difference with ‘Green Eggs and Ham,’ is when Americans tried it, they discovered they did not like green eggs and ham and they did not like Obamacare either. They did not like Obamacare…

‘In a box,

With a fox,

In a house,

With a mouse,’” Cruz said.

And just last weekend, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin delivered her own rendition of the Seuss classic — parodying “Green Eggs and Ham” during her keynote speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, known as the largest annual gatherings of conservatives in the country.

“I do not like this Uncle Sam.  I do not like his healthcare scam.

I do not like these dirty crooks or how they lie and cook the books.

I do not like when Congress stills. I do not like their crony deals.

I do not like the spying man. I do not like ‘Oh yes we can.’

I do not like this spending spree. We’re smart we know there’s nothing free.

I do not like reporters’ smug replies when I complain about their lies.

I do not like this kind of hope. And we won’t take it nope nope nope.

Hat tip the internet.”

Republicans like Palin and Cruz should know that Dr. Seuss, the pen name of author Theodor Seuss Geisel, was actually an avowed progressive, condemning anti-Semitism, isolationism and the arms race and even calling for the impeachment of President Richard Nixon.

So, to paraphrase another Seuss classic, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”, here’s a little advice for potential politicians appealing to people using his words:

“Be sure when you step.

Step with care and great tact

and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act.

Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.

And never mix up your right wing with your left.”

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(Cliff Owen/AP Photo)

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