James M. Henle

Dramatis Personae:

SPEAKER of the House. Baritone
PRIME MINISTER of some foreign country. Soprano
CHAIR of the Judiciary Committee. Tenor
PRESIDENT of the United States. Tenor
Majority WHIP. Bass
DOORMAN. Baritone
HOUSE MEMBERS. Men's chorus
REPORTERS. Women's chorus

Scene: The United States House of Representatives. Congressmen, aides, press, discovered.


Hark the hour of ten is sounding:
Hearts with anxious hopes are pounding,
Halls of Congress crowds surrounding,
Tightening the noose--
For facing an impeachment bid,
The President, the come-on kid,
A foreign head of state he did
Certainly seduce.



Now congressmen, you mustn't mix,
Hard evidence with politics,
With logic be content.
With every fact at fingertip,
And free of lowly partisanship,
You'll judge the president.


And free of lowly partisanship,
You'll judge the president.

[During Chorus, DOORMAN sings fortissimo, ``Hear ye! Hear ye!'']


Oh listen to the Minister, Prime;
Observe her features most sublime,
Her beauty, heaven-sent.
Her face could launch a battleship,
So free of lowly partisanship,
Do judge the president.


So free of lowly partisanship,
We'll judge the president.


And when the villain makes his case,
Ignore his weak political base,
Whom YOU don't represent.
His perjured testimony skip,
And free of every partisanship,
You'll judge the president.


And free of any partisanship,
We'll judge the president.



PRESIDENT. Am I late for the impeachment trial?

ALL. You are!

PRESIDENT (aside). I see not a single smile!

Whatever happens I must stand tall!

ALL. Speak up, you!

PRESIDENT. Say folks, how are y'all?

HOUSE MEMBERS (shaking their fists)

Monster, show respect to us!
We're the law here!
Watch us all sneer!


Hear me, hear me, if you please,
The facts you misconstrue,
Please let me tell my side.
You haven't heard me true--
I've nothing whatever to hide

[PRESIDENT takes a saxophone and beckons to the representatives---they leave their places behind and gather round him as they sing the following:

We haven't heard his side,
We haven't heard him true!
That's because he's always lied!
Ha! ha!---ha! ha!

Song - the PRESIDENT

When first I was in White House abode,
My power I did enjoy;
I issued and ordered and signed and vetoed--
A kid with a heavenly toy!
The laws and memos and edicts and rules,
To please or annoy,
They were my particular tools--
A kid with a heavenly toy!

But power corrupts, or worse, it bores,
And absolute power does cloy,
So soon I tired of executive chores,
A kid with a tiresome toy!
War and peace didn't satisfy,
And then a leader coy,
Presented credentials and again was I,
A kid with a heavenly toy!

HOUSE MEMBERS (advancing steadily)

With me it's exactly the same,
I love an innocent tryst.
An aide or intern on my knee,
Or, perhaps, a lobbyist.
But I seem a respectable chap,
And shine with a virtue resplendent,
And therefore I'll show not a scrap
Of sympathy here for the president!

We'll be sure he's the one
By the smoke from the gun
We'll be impeaching him---Capitol fun!
Capitol fun!---Capitol fun!
We'll be impeaching him---Capitol fun!


Hear ye! Hear ye! On pain of Imprisonment!
Behold your SPEAKER! A great and noble gent!

Enter SPEAKER on dais.


Great Speaker, hail all!
Sage juridical.
Leader tall,
And hack, political.
All hail!

May each ruling,
Each bill or tort,
Even when fooling,
be affirmed in court!
All hail!


For these kind words accept my thanks, I pray.
A bill of impeachment we'll decide today.
But firstly, if I may, in time step back,
I'll tell you how I came to be a hack.

ALL. He'll tell us how he came to be a hack!

SPEAKER. I'll tell you how ...

ALL. He'll tell us how ...

SPEAKER. I'll tell you how ...

ALL. He'll tell us how ...

SPEAKER. Let me speak!

ALL. Let him speak!

SPEAKER. Let me speak!

ALL. (in a whisper) Let him speak!

He'll tell us how he came to be a hack!

DOORMAN. Hear ye! Hear ye!


In `68 I dodged the draft,
and needed to make some money.
I thought of turning to honest graft,
Or occupation funny.
But what can a hopeless idiot do?
I was neither brainy nor arty,
I lacked a skill, I lacked a clue,
So I joined a political party.

HOUSE MEMBERS. He lacked a skill, etc.

In a hot campaign, I found my niche,
In spite of my incompetence.
I had a lack they needed which
Was a lack of moral conscience.
I could forge a letter or plan a hoax,
I could spread a plausible rumor.
My targets fumed at all my jokes--
They lacked a sense of humor.

HOUSE MEMBERS. His targets fumed, etc.

My candidate won and I became,
Of influence, a peddler.
For ready cash and more of the same,
You bought yourself a meddler.
I threw my weight most prudently,
I just gave millionaires access,
My clients thought so much of me,
They sent me on to Congress.

HOUSE MEMBERS. His clients thought, etc.

In Congress I instinctively knew,
What every politician's taught.
That the honest hack is the one hack who
When properly bought-- stays bought.
No leader I, but follower me,
On cue I'd turn a flop-flip.
I led so little they rewarded me,
By taking me into the leadership.

HOUSE MEMBERS. He led so little, etc.

But I was scheming behind my bows,
And summoning all my debtors,
I led a coup and took the House
Ahead of all my betters!
The speaker did my character smear,
A case of grapes gone sour--


SPEAKER. Well, I think so!

And now if you please, I'm ready to hear
This charge of abuse of power!

HOUSE MEMBERS. And now if you please, etc.

[That's it, but here's another verse to be used as an encore:]

As Speaker new I wanted to be
The model of a modern major figure.
A show I saw suggested to me
With a hat I might look bigger!
(He dons the Major General's hat from the Pirates of Penzance)
Another's sword looked debonair,
Though it made the guy seem meeker,
(He takes Koko's sword from the Mikado)
In the end I thought a robe I'd wear,
I'm such a susceptible Speaker!
(He puts on a robe like Rehnquist's with stripes)

HOUSE MEMBERS. In the end he thought, etc.

SPEAKER. For now I am a hack!

ALL. And a good hack too!

SPEAKER. Yes, now I am a hack!

ALL. And a good hack too!


For the deal I have a knack,
I'm an egomaniac,
So I guess that I'm a hack!

ALL. And a good hack too!

SPEAKER (pianissimo). I used some dirty tricks!

ALL. They were good tricks too!


Like a ticket that you fix,
It was only politics,
Not very dirty tricks!

ALL. Really good tricks too!

Enter CHAIR of the Judiciary Committee. He takes his place in front row of seats.


Swear now the House!

DOORMAN. Kneel, Members, oh, kneel!

[All the House members kneel.


Oh, will you all most solemnly swear
In the sacred video glare,
That you with every fairness will,
Weigh this serious impeachment bill.

HOUSE MEMBERS (raising their hands)

To the video camera's icy stare,
And TV viewers everywhere,
On this impeachment we'll be fair.

(All rise with the last note)

Recit--CHAIR of the Judiciary Committee

Where's Prime Minister?
Let her now be brought.


Oh, Prime Minister! Come now into the House!
Prime Minister! Prime Minister!

Enter the Chorus of REPORTERS (All women, microphones, video cameras, even a satellite dish)


Comes the broken flower
Comes the cheated dame--
She can claim star power
I'd like a piece of fame.
Take, oh take this contract,
Give me an interview.
You can make an impact,
If I'm helping you.

You'll be a billionaire, I'll make you known,
Just trust me and take my microphone!

[The SPEAKER, having taken a great fancy to First Reporter, calls her on a cell phone. The DOORMAN brings her a cell phone. She listens rapturously and holds it to her bosom.



O'er the season vernal,
Time may cast a shade;
Center-stage eternal
Makes the boldest fade!
Scrutiny's corrosive,
It's slow but sure descent.
Scandal is explosive,
But it can pay the rent.

Where is there tenderness? Where is romance?
At the end there's just a book advance!

[The SPEAKER, having by this time transferred his admiration to PRIME MINISTER, directs the DOORMAN to take the cell phone from First Reporter and hand it to PRIME MINISTER, who listens to it, kisses it rapturously, and places it in her bosom.


Comes the broken flower, etc.


Oh, never, never, never, since I joined the human race,
Saw I so exquisitely fair a face.

HOUSE MEMBERS (shaking their forefingers at him). Whoa cowboy! Whoa cowboy!

SPEAKER (to House members). How say you? Is she not a delicate jewel?

DOORMAN (after consulting with the House members). We've but one word, Mr. Speaker, and that is -- so cool!

PRIME MINISTER (curtseying.) Ooh boys, I can feel your powers!

HOUSE MEMBERS. We love you fondly, and would make you ours!

REPORTERS (shaking their forefingers at House members). Whoa cowboys! Whoa cowboys!


If you please, Mr. Speaker!
Members of the House!


With a sense of deep emotion,
I approach this painful case;
For I never had a notion
That a man could be so base,
Telling her that if she kissed him,
He would send her a weapons system.

ALL. Telling her that if she kissed him, etc.
(PRIME MINISTER falls sobbing on CHAIR's breast and remains there.)


See the most distinguished lady,
Victim of a heartless wile!
See the chief executive shady,
Wear a supercilious smile!
Pledging love without cessation,
Promising ``Most Favored Nation.''

ALL. Pledging love without cessation, etc.


Swiftly fled each honeyed hour
In his dastardly campaign.
The office oval was a bower,
And the beltway, lover's lane,
Thus she felt a heroine
Of a romance harlequin!

ALL. Thus she felt a heroine, etc.


Picture, then, this leader naming,
And insisting on the day--
Picture him excuses framing--
Sending her to far away.
Falsehoods, lies and alibis,
All she got was a burger franchise.

ALL. Falsehoods, etc.

CHAIR (to PRIME MINISTER, who weeps).
Cheer up, my lovely -- oh cheer up!


Cheer up, cheer up, we love you!
(CHAIR leads PRIME MINISTER fondly into Witness-Box; he takes a tender leave of her, and resumes his place in Court. PRIME MINISTER reels as if about to faint).


That she is hurting
Is plain to see.


That he is flirting
You must agree!
(she falls sobbing on to the WHIP'S breast.)


I shall recover
With much distress.

All (shaking their fists at PRESIDENT).

Oh, perjurous lover,
Confess! Confess!


Just like a Daddy
I wish to be. (kissing her)

SPEAKER (approaching her).

Ooh he's a baddie--
Recline on me!
(She jumps onto Bench, sits down by the SPEAKER, and falls sobbing on his breast.)


She's getting better,
Should we recess?


You moral debtor,
Confess! Confess!

HOUSE MEMBERS (shaking fists at PRESIDENT).

Monster, dread our fury--
There's the Speaker, and here's the Jury!
Monster, monster,
Dread our fury.


Hear Ye! Hear Ye!


Oh congressmen, listen I pray,
For it's true that my conduct is shameless,
But federal laws I obey,
And therefore I'm technically blameless!
They said that I swore to a lie,
But they haven't the proof of intention
And intent to deceive is what I
Don't intend ever to mention.
In fact, I believe what I say,
No matter how grievous the fiction,
So it follows as night follows day,
That perjury can't find conviction.

REPORTERS (rushing forward. and kneeling to HOUSE MEMBERS) In fact, he believes what he says, etc.

I swear to you now that I never
Committed high crimes or mis-demeanors,
And prove such they'll never, whatever
They try though they issue fifty subpoenas!
And if they convict me agree--
My sins aren't impeachable nearly,
But if mortal they turn out to be
Please accept my regrets most sincerely.
Ah! I'm good but you may find I'm not so,
I'm bad but I'll stick to my story,
It's nothing but may be a lot so
Remember I said I was sorry!

REPORTERS (rushing forward as before) He's good but we may find he's not so, etc.


The jerk! If only he his guilt would admit,
Then we with censure might acquit.


But then, Mr. Speaker, with all due respect,
He would only be guilty if he says he's not,
(referring to law book)
A demand of full confession,
For a promise of discretion,
Marks the inquisition, gnomic
And the operetta, comic.

(Hands book up to SPEAKER, who reads it.)

ALL. Oh, man of learning!



A constitutional crisis
How can we manage it?
We manage it.


And at this stage, my best advice is
To sit and wait a bit.

PRESIDENT (in Witness-Box).

All promises to her I repudiate,
And to her sorority!


No funds can he appropriate,
Without fast-track authority!

ALL. A constitutional, etc.


PRIME MINISTER (embracing him rapturously).

I love him -- I love him -- with fervour unceasing,
I worship and madly adore;
My blind adoration is always increasing,
My loss I shall ever deplore.
The love and caressing, the power accessing,
While meeting with no chaperone.
Please note this oppressing, when you are assessing
The size of my IMF loan!

PRESIDENT (disengaging himself delicately).

I chase every woman, I'm always in capers,
A wencher, a sinner, no monk--
And when I'm not prowling, I'm buried in papers (puts on glasses)
I'm actually a policy wonk!
Please note I'm finessing, not really confessing,
And most of you share my state,
So recall your transgressing, when you are professing
To fairly decide on my fate!

[In Trial by Jury, there are just those two verses, but I see room for another, shared by the two choruses, the HOUSE MEMBERS, furious, and the REPORTERS, worshipful:


We hate him! We hate him! He's always the winner,
He never has paid for a crime!


We love him! We love him! For though he's a sinner,
He seems to have fun all the time!
He did that caressing, while never undressing,
I'd love to be in his embrace!


It's truly distressing--he should be suppressing,
The abominable smirk on his face!


The question, gentlemen -- is one of libido;
Has he no temperance, no sense of decency?
Chase women! Even leaders? Is that his credo?
Let's go to the U.N., colleagues, and see!


With all respect
I do object!


I do object!


I don't object!


With all respect
We do object!

SPEAKER (tossing his books and papers about).

Constitutional furies seize you!
No proposal seems to please you,
I can't sit here thirty days,
I have campaign funds to raise!
Here's a plan to end this mess.
President, Minister and Congress,
It will all most satisfy--
I'm sure it will (but I don't know why).
Put your brains upon the shelf,
I will marry her myself!

(He comes down to the well. He embraces PRIME MINISTER.)



A happy ending!
Your disbelief suspending,
Enjoy attending
This modest show!


Although belated,
Their love was fated
To condo gated
Away they'll go.


Was I too hasty?
She's mighty tasty,
He's now displaced me.
My chance I blew--


You failed to back her,
And now you'll always lack her,
You lost to the hacker,
And a good hack, too.


A happy ending, etc.


Yes, I am a hack.


And a good hack, too!


Yes, I am a hack.


And a good hack, too!


With the best I spend and tax,
And my money comes from PACs,
I'm the hack of all the hacks.


And a good hack, too.


The President is a creep.


And a big creep, too!


The President is a creep.


And a big creep, too!
The President is a creep,
I don't know about his veep.
And we follow them like sheep,
Yes we're good sheep too!