Notes passed between Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, July 2011

I'm sick of going around in circles about this. We're not getting stuffed crust.

Hey–Me and the other guys say we keep this thing going as long as possible–the longer we stay here, the more free pizza/donuts/etc. they have to give us.You can get those mushrooms you wanted last time if you refuse to meet us halfway on the debt ceiling.

But in return, can we please order from somewhere other than Dominoes? At least we can all agree that shit’s disgusting. I don’t care if Cantor wants chocolate lava cakes.




I only want mushrooms if at least six of the other pizzas are pepperoni. I’ve made that clear from the beginning of these negotiations.

And I will not drink Diet Pepsi, only Diet Coke, something a socialist like you wouldn’t understand.

– J.B.



We’ll drink Diet Coke over my dead body. Get me a Fanta.



Listen, I don’t give a crap what red soda you like. All I know is, we’re ordering Dominoes. Best value. And they’re fast.



Their cheese tastes like playdough. Fascist.


Mixed pepper-loving jerk-off.


Vegetables made this country great!


Get off your high horse and admit you’d rather eat meat.


You can do whatever you want with the debt thing. We’re going out for Thai.



Many of our younger readers may be shocked to learn that the United States Congress can be startling ineffective at dealing with certain issues. It seems as though the recent negotiations to raise the debt ceiling, a normally unimportant formality that was hijacked by conservatives to use as leverage to implement draconian austerity measures, has reminded us all what exactly it is that makes our system of government great. And although we may not be greatest country in the world at solving important issues, when we all put aside our differences, we can sometimes accomplish very minor and unimportant things after long and embarrassing delays.

When Barack Obama and Harry Reid first came together to discuss negotiation strategy, they decided to offer one major concession from the start: the meetings would have pizza, but only one topping per pizza would be allowed. Progressives immediately complained, suggesting that if they thought Barack Obama was the sort of person who only had one topping on his pizza, they never would have voted for him. When details of the pitch to Speaker John Boehner leaked to Fox News, Tea Party interests immediately complained as well, suggesting that Americans could make do with no toppings on their pizza. Rep. Paul Ryan was brought in to explain that the Republicans themselves would actually be eating the pizza, not ordinary Americans. After intense an intense closed-door meeting (in which Rep. Allen West was heard shouting “Fuck America, man. Why can’t I get CANADIAN bacon?”), the frazzled leaders of the House Republican Caucus emerged with sketchy details of their “Pizza for All Americans” plan.

A week later, the Congressional Budget Office scored the plan very badly, saying that the amount of pork (the plan contained bacon, pepperoni, and sausage pizzas, with an automatic trigger to include a meatlovers pizza if the negotiations dragged on past a certain point) completely canceled out savings from Obama’s concession of extra cheese. Although it was apparent the Boehner plan was never going to have the votes to pass the Senate, he insisted that the PAA was the only order that could pass his caucus in the House. Obama and Reid countered with a proposal that all but eliminated vegetable-heavy pizzas, a major sticking point among the Tea Party caucus, while continuing to offer systemic changes to future pizza orders. Progressive interests decried what they saw as a major dismantling of a key tenet of FDR’s New Deal. accused Obama of selling out to corporate interests, and while the counterproposal was able to keep a great majority of pepperoni for all, it soon became clear that it would not have the votes to avoid a filibuster in the Senate.

Taking a different tack, Boehner now began working with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, which is where our series of letters above originated. Again, though, fissures in the Republican party were exposed as establishment Republicans in the Senate, including John McCain, accused the Tea Party of trying to sabotage negotiations by demanding to completely eliminate buffalo wings from the order. Buffalo wings had been ordered 18 times for debt negotiations under Ronald Reagan, yet now Republicans demanded their removal in the face of widespread public disapproval. Despite polls showing that the public favored including buffalo wings by a healthy 72-22 margin (including 51% of Republicans), the Tea Party took a hard line, forcing Boehner and McConnell to again reach out to the White House to lead a compromise.

The Senate Republicans did order Thai one night, as suggested by McConnell above, leading many analysts to suggest that talks had completely broken down. However, at the stroke of midnight, Obama and Boehner emerged with a compromise plan. One pizza would be ordered now, with triggers to order 3 more pizzas for future negotiations in December. The pizzas would be half pepperoni, half plain, but a special committee would be formed to discuss changing the toppings for the future pizzas. Orders for the rest of the 26 pizzas would begin in 2014, with another committee to be formed to ensure soda and breadstick distribution would not be interrupted. It remains to be seen whether the watered-down proposal can pass either House.



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2 responses to “Notes passed between Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, July 2011

  1. marianne larson

    well done. highlights the absurd and phony nature of this debt crisis

  2. Laura

    But in return, can we please order from somewhere other than Dominoes? At least we can all agree that shit’s disgusting.

    Great line and a great post!!!

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