Minnesota once embraced a former professional wrestler as governor, and perhaps the time has come again for us to take a page out of the professional wrestling manual and apply it to the world of politics.
Back in the days when highly-tuned athletes like The Crusher, Dick the Bruiser, Mad Dog Vachon, and Baron Von Raschke were treading the hallowed canvas of the squared-circle, there were occasionally rivalries of such intensity, and which were subject to so much outside interference and chicanery, there was only one way to resolve things: the dreaded cage match.
The concept was simple. A metal cage was constructed around the wrestling ring, and the combatants were locked inside. The door was not unlocked until one side was victorious (or until they killed each other, which was considered an equally acceptable outcome).
This simple solution kept outside interlopers, such as weasely managers, from interfering in the contest.
It also kept cowardly heels from running away to escape a beating or a defeat.
What we need to do is turn each session of congress into a cage match.
This would work at the state and national levels.
We simply lock the rascals in at the beginning of the session, and keep them there until they finish their business.
With any luck, this would eliminate situations like those that have recently tainted the headlines.
There would be no question of pathetic little legislators abandoning their duty and the people they represent to go hide in Illinois to avoid doing their job. They wouldn’t be going anywhere, and there would be nowhere for them to hide. Win or lose, they would have to participate in the process.
However one feels about the questions facing Wisconsin lawmakers (and those in other states), it is unconscionable for an elected representative to simply run away from his duty.
There aren’t that many weasely managers in politics (unless one counts party officials), but the cage might keep lobbyists from interfering with the business of government.
Cage matches of congress might also give our esteemed statesmen an incentive to get down to business and come up with solutions, rather than playing games and passing spineless two-week temporary measures at the last minute to avoid a government shutdown.
Perhaps instead, they would actually make the tough decisions that are necessary, pass a balanced budget and other important legislation, and do so in a timely manner.
If our fearless leaders knew that we were not going to unlock their cage until they completed their business, they might be less inclined to waste time on posturing and partisan game-playing, and actually do their jobs. That’s all we are really asking of them we are asking them to do their jobs.
Some critics might say that the cage match idea is too extreme. Others might say it would be undignified and insulting to our vaunted leaders.
Now, if we were to suggest images such as Michele Bachmann, in a red, white, and blue Wonder Woman costume, body-slamming Betty McCollum in the middle of the ring, or Colin Peterson pulling out a foreign object from the recesses of his costume and using it to pound knobs on John Kline’s noggin when the ref wasn’t looking, that might seem undignified, so we won’t mention images like those.
One would argue, however, based on a careful study of both industries, that there is really not much difference between professional wrestling and professional politics.
Both involve characters who are built up to represent either good or evil, but who sometimes switch back and forth.
Both are subject to rules, and yet both groups seem willing to break, or at least bend the daylights out of the rules when it suits their purposes. They seem to endorse the philosophy that one can do whatever one wants as long as the ref doesn’t see it, or one stops doing it before the ref can count him out.
One can easily see how implementing cage matches for our sessions of congress could help streamline and improve the legislative process.
And, in view of the antics of some of our elected officials, one can’t help but think that a cage is just where they belong.