Why people dislike Congress

19 Feb

Chuck-Hagel-sizedIt was a moment of insight almost unprecedented in the career of Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, “Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse, it gets worse.”


The partisan Democrat captured in one sentence how the Democratic-controlled Senate has managed to give Americans more reasons to hate Washington – as if they needed more.

Let’s count the ways:

1. Senate Republicans blocked President Obama’s nominee to lead the Pentagon during a time of war and looming budget cuts.
No one has serious concerns about Chuck Hagel’s (above) integrity.
He sin is crossing his old pals in Congress.

2. The Senate spent a day arguing over the definition of a filibuster.
Democrats said that amounted to an unprecedented filibuster of a Defense secretary nominee.
Republicans said that, technically, it wasn’t.
They don’t understand Americans don’t care.

3. Democrats postured.
According to The New York Times, “Democrats, mindful that Republicans did not want to be blamed for jeopardizing the Pentagon’s stability for political purposes, decided to press ahead and require Republicans to record a vote against Mr. Hagel, allowing Democrats to accuse them of a new level of obstructionism.”

4. Republicans postured.
“Republicans, calculating that Democrats might want to avoid forcing a vote that could result in an embarrassing setback for the president, had hoped to press Mr. Reid to back down and reschedule after the Senate returns from its recess,” said The Times.

5. One senator led.

While the circus paraded across the Senate floor, freshman Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren reminded everyone that ruthless oversight of failing federal agencies is one way to make Congress relevant again.
Sitting on the Senate committee overseeing banking, she publicly humiliated underperforming and unprepared bank regulators.
She simply and repeatedly asked them this question: When was the last time you took a Wall Street bank to trial?
The regulators hemmed and hawed but could not avoid the obvious answer:

6. And then there’s vacation.
After embarrassing themselves and giving Americans more reasons to distrust everyone, the Senate left for a 10-day recess.
In addition to an empty seat at the Pentagon, the unfinished business in Washington is staggering: Billions of dollars of haphazard cuts due to automatically take effect, immigration reform, gun control, climate change, and millions of Americans left behind in a wrenching economic transition.
If you took 10 days off with this much work undone, you’d be fired.

Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, asked how he felt about his retirement being delayed by Senate gamesmanship, “I feel like it’s Groundhog Day around here”.

We assume you seen the movie where the guy keeps reliving the same 24 hours.


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