“Thank You! Thank You, Sam-I-Am”

It caught me by surprise.

Oh, sure, I was aware of the faux-filibuster that Senator Ted Cruz was conducting on C-SPAN. I even held my nose, gritted my teeth, and listened to some of it, the substance of which was either inexcusable ignorance or reprehensible lies, you pick. I don’t really care either way because the exercise has no real relevance to whether the government will be shutdown or continue on its merry way.

But when I saw, later Tuesday evening, that Cruz was reading from Green Eggs and Ham, I thought: What good is a Princeton-Harvard education, what good is the arrogance that such an education tends to spawn, if you can’t understand Dr. Seuss?

Dr. Seuss, of course, was the pen-name of Theodor Seuss Geisel, who wrote Green Eggs and Ham in 1960, a book that became one of the most popular children’s books in the history of publishing, one which most of us have either read, or have had others read to us.

The gist of the book is this: Sam-I-Am is ardently trying to get the anonymous narrator of the book to sample green eggs and ham, with the narrator, after offering much resistance (“I do not like green eggs and ham!”), finally succumbing and finally liking the strange dish (“I do so like green eggs and ham!).

How strange it was that a strange senator from Texas, using otherwise valuable C-SPAN air-time, read from a book that actually contradicts the reason he is using that valuable C-SPAN time and the reason he is conducting the phony filibuster: to please equally strange Tea Party conservatives.

In a stunningly wonderful book, Dr. Seuss and Philosophy: Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!, Randall E. Auxier wrote about Green Eggs and Ham:

We all know that there is something cool about this book. Even among the many works of genius created by Dr. Seuss, this one stands out. But the book is just silly, isn’t it? It was written on a bet, that Seuss couldn’t write a whole book using only fifty different words. And it has such a simple message, “You don’t know whether you like something until you try it.” Or maybe it’s “don’t be a contrarian.”

Now, how ironic is it that a man who claims that Americans shouldn’t try the green eggs and ham of ObamaCare, who claims that the green eggs and ham of ObamaCare will make us all sick, read to the nation from a book—written by a liberal Democrat, for God’s sake—that has as its simple message, “You don’t know whether you like something until you try it”?

Maybe there is a God, one with a penchant for embarrassing the most zealous of his alleged followers.



  1. ansonburlingame

     /  September 25, 2013

    Now I have heard another tale from Democrats. It started with, “We won’t know what is in the bill until we pass it”.

    Now that the bill has been on the books and government has struggled for some three or more years to implement it, with all sorts of exceptions, waivers, postponments, etc. you Duane are telling us to not complain “until we have tried it”, the bill???

    No doubt we are going to try it now, ACA and the full brunt of that legislation will be upon us, “someday”, after all the exceptions, waivers and postponments run their course. But come Jan 2014 at least everyone is now suppose to actually fork over money to buy health insurance, want to do so or not.

    Most people being now required to do so don’t like it. Sort of like smelling green eggs and ham before being force to eat them!! Are they to be found at fault, for trusting only their sense of smell. Chances are in my experience if it smells like ….., it usually tastes the same way.



    • Naturally, Anson, you missed the irony here. Oh, well.

      You wrote,

      But come Jan 2014 at least everyone is now suppose to actually fork over money to buy health insurance, want to do so or not.

      Hmm. Most people already “fork over money to buy health insurance,” Anson. You know why? Because most people realize that going without health insurance is not a good idea, even though they could go to the emergency room and get treated without it. And most of those who don’t have insurance don’t have it because they can’t afford it. They want it, but can’t afford it. And those folks, when they go into an emergency room for treatment, usually when their problem is very serious, are costing all of us via higher hospital and doctor charges.

      Then there are some relatively small number of people who refuse to buy insurance when they are young and healthy but who want the guarantee of treatment available and the expectation that when they do get older and sicker that they can get affordable insurance. In other words, they want to gamble now that they won’t get sick and spend their money on other things, thus making rates higher on others by shrinking the risk pool, and then they expect to buy into the system at a later date. What I find strange about your position, and the position of other Republicans, is that the individual mandate was invented by the right-wing Heritage Foundation as a way of making folks, the relatively small number of people who could but don’t buy insurance,”responsible.” 

      My how things have changed on your side. You’ve now become the champions of irresponsibility. Congratulations.



  2. LisaF

     /  September 25, 2013

    I heard about his reading of “Green Eggs and Ham” on the radio today and could not imagine why he would chose this book. Did he never read the last page? And Dr Seuss of all authors. a liberal democrat who supported the New Deal . His books were anti-consumerism and greed as well as pro environmentalism and equity. This clears up a lot of of questions I have had about these heartless Republicans. To quote a line from Spielberg’s Hook, “He’s just a mean old man without a mommy” or at the very least, without a mommy who read him Dr Seuss.

    Thank you Dr Seuss and thank you for this post. It made me smile.

    “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not! “


    • I find it amazing that a man with an Ivy League education is unaware that he is reading to his children books that were written by a subversive left-winger! What the heck are they teaching at Princeton and Harvard these days!


  3. Beautifully written, Duane, and right on target. Dr. Seuss would be proud.

    I went to the dentist yesterday and couldn’t help but overhear parts of a conversation between the Dr. and a new patient in the next cubicle. She was a middle-aged woman who had a whole mouthful of problems, cavities and several extractions. She was apparently a patient who had put off the unpleasant until it could no longer be ignored.

    That’s the same dilemma faced by the 30 million or so younger people who will be affected by the ACA. They don’t want to pay for healthcare before they need it, and of course when the time comes, and it comes inevitably for everyone, it turns out to be more expensive than they can afford. That of course is where insurance comes in. You don’t wait until the tornado hits, you collectively prepare to cover the possibility.

    There’s always EMTALA of course. That’s where the taxpayers are obligated to pick up the ER bill anyway. But even that only covers care to the point of stabilization. Thus, we are all locked into this problem and all the Party of No can do is endlessly demagogue the issue. They truly have lost their way.


    • Jim,

      My story from yesterday is this: I was in the company of a veteran who is having trouble getting his pain medication because of some kind of mandated “review” of prescribing narcotics to patients. This man, with a straight face and with much earnestness, told me that it was all due to ObamaCare!

      I have found that ObamaCare causes a multitude of sins these days, even though it has yet to kick in! My guess is that after January 1, the law will be blamed for such things as falling bridges, potholes, and other examples of crumbling infrastructure that Republicans don’t want to fix.



      • Exactly right, Duane. But if the GOP should take over control of all three branches of the government in 2016, they will be like the dog that finally caught the car. What then? 🙄


        • Jim,

          If the GOP takes control of all three branches in 1916, or just the White House and Congress, consider what they did the last time they that control.

          In the six years the Republicans controlled the White House and both houses of Congress – 2001 through 2007 — budget outlays increased by 45.6%*. In the six years from 2008 through 2014 (with 2013 and 2014 estimated), budget outlays are expected to increase by 14.8%

          That means expenditures increased by an average of 7.6% per year when the GOP was in total control, but only 2.5% per year when the Houses were split and the Democrats held the White house for 5 of the last 6 years.

          So, based on past performance, which party is it that can keep spending down, reduce the deficits and the federal debt, and trim the size of government? Hmmmm.


          *Data was calculated from OMB – Table of Outlays by Agency 1962 – 2018, Table 4.1,


          • Holy budget fodder, Batman! Now you’re resorting to actual arithmetic? How low can you go? 🙄 😆 😆 😆 🙄


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