The pandas, you see, were headed back to China. On loan and now called back. So many in this country had come to rely on them for so much and suddenly, reality, and Beijing, wrenched them away.

Tai Shan was not the only panda at the National Zoo. He leaves his parents behind, at least for a few months, until their lease also expires and we could lose them, too. But Tai Shan was an American creation, or would it be better to say "PROcreation”?

No matter. Even though the nation's capital went bonkers when he was born two and a half years ago, so small he was nicknamed "Butterstick,” and unleashed millions of "Aaaaaaawwwwww"s, he's out of here. He was always an American dream owned by China, which was now taking him back. Talk about the analogist's dream.

So the opportunists and their flock can do their thing this weekend, dancing to their silly songs at the Opryland Tea Party hoedown this weekend. The organizers can rake in their cash from the live ones willing to pay 500-plus dollars, largely for the Sarah Palin Stimulus Fund (She says the money will go to the " Movement,” whatever that is). But they're missing the panda point.

"Tai Shan" translates to "Peaceful Mountain.” And while the no-longer-little-guy always provided such joy to people in D.C., many in Washington and elsewhere are starting to get mighty nervous about the mountain of debt the U.S. owes to China.

The sadness we're feeling now that zoo loan is being called is infinitesimal compared to the pain we might experience if the decision is made to pull the plug on all the money from there that is helping to keep the U.S. afloat.

In that regard, we're a captive of our excesses. Many of the changes we should make are the very ones they'll be screaming about as the Tea Partiers are incited into their frenzy by their panderers.

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