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‘The Wreck of the State Legislature’

The absolute last word on the 2003 Regular Session belongs to Senate President Ken Bennett, whose “2003 Sine Die Song,” performed to the 1976 Gordon Lightfoot tune of The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald, has become a legislative classic for those who have heard him sing it.

The legend lives on, from the Papago on down
Of the nut house they call the State Capitol.
As Lebo has said, 90 dwarfs, all brain dead
While he tries not to sound like a liberal.

On the opening day, we heard the Governor say
The Republicans aren’t worth a quarter
Now I’m King of the Hill, and I learned this from Bill
I’ll fix everything by executive order.

The budget was bad, Burns and Pearce, they were glad
That they finally might get to cut spending.
But Hershberger cried, with O’Halleran at his side
The need for more programs is un-ending.

The Democrats were force-fed the Governor’s plan
To borrow our way to oblivion.
There’s nothin’ they can’t do, with a tax shift or two
And creative accounting like Enron.

War came and went and the Governor sent
Mario Diaz to the Naming Commission.
Have the chairman removed, even threatened his job
If he didn’t support her position.

The session drug on and the Freshmen felt scorned
So they formed their own group in the cellar.
And over in the Senate, there was President Bennett
Sayin’ everyone gets what they got last year.

Then Farnsworth and Graf get a budget through the House
To make the Governor look like a big spender.
And over in the Senate, we could vote any minute
If someone could find Linda Binder.

She might have got scared, sold her soul to Slade Mead
We actually think that she went to the theater.
And all that remains are the faces and names
Of her colleagues that just want to beat her.

Tourism’s down and the Mayor wears a frown
We can’t compete with San Diego and Denver.
With a lobbyist or twenty, we’ll get the state’s future money
And we’ll build a new convention center.

Universities decide they have nothing to hide
All they want is a cool 400 million.
But how do they get the conservative House to commit≠
Get the speaker and hire Matt Salmon.

Does anyone know where the love of God goes
When the Governor gets mad and her face glows.
The deficit grows with her line-item vetoes
And gives a new meaning to “eating Crow.”

The session is over and the lobbyists ate well
Many wonder if they are God’s creature.
But most of the time we were known by the line
As the wreck of the State Legislature.

© 2003 Ken Bennett. Reprinted by permission of the author.

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