A reign of error on Capitol Hill

By DOUG THOMPSON

Here we are, nearly a month and 10 days into the Democratic reign of error on Capitol Hill, well past the vaunted “100 hours” of legislative activism, and the legislative branch of the federal government is, as usual, mired in gridlock.

We still don’t have a resolution, one way or the other, on the immoral and illegal debacle called President George W. Bush’s failed Iraq war. The Senate, which laughingly calls itself “the greatest deliberative body in the world,” can’t even reach a conclusion on whether or not to debate a resolution that is nonbinding and useless. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is better at using his office to fatten his bank accounts through shady real estate deals than he is at running a gathering of goons on Capitol Hill.

In the House, the imperialism of Speaker Nancy Pelosi is mired in a controversy over her desire to jet home and back on luxury military planes just like the buffoon who preceded her, Dennis Hastert.

The debate over “Pelosi One,” as Republicans have dubbed it, has reached such ludicrous proportions that John “I didn’t take a bribe but I leave my options open” Murtha threatens to hold up military funding if Nancy doesn’t get her plane perk.

Bush’s White House, which believes royal treatment is a right not a privilege, weighs in on Pelosi’s side on this one, putting them at odds with National Republican Committee Chairman Tom Cole, who is cranking out sound bites like “with a ticket on Pelosi One Airlines costing taxpayers thousands of dollars per hour, it’s no wonder the Democrats are so eager to raise taxes.”

This is, of course, the same National Republican Congressional Committee that issued press releases supporting their Speaker of the House when he started using military transport to to back and forth to Illinois after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

And he Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s strident defense of Pelosi’s request is a direct contradition of the criticism they hurled at Hastert’s use of military planes in 2005.

So much for change in Washington, so much for a breath of fresh air and so much for ethics and responsibility. Like Republicans before them, Democrats prove they aren’t capable of managing a Taco Bell, much less the affairs of a nation.

If you buy into the excuse that either Hastert or Pelosi needed the “protection” of military transport, then you also have to buy into Bush’s use of far of terrorism to justify his rights-robbing USA Patriot Act and other abuses of the Constitution. You can’t have it both ways.

There was no earthly reason why Denny Hastert shouldn’t have had to wait in line, take off his shoes and then squeeze his fat butt into a coach seat of a regularly scheduled United Airlines flight between Washington and his home in Illinois.

And there’s no justification for giving Pelosi use of a gussied up Boeing 757 military jet just so her shapelier, but equally pompous, ass can ride in the lap of luxury nonstop between DC and San Francisco. Both are supposed to be representatives of the people, not royalty or overpaid celebrities.

Pelosi, as Speaker, has the authority to decide how she travels. She is not required to follow anyone’s advice and the Sargeant at Arms of the House is not going to request military transportation unless she asks for it. The Sargeant at Arms reports to the Speaker and doesn’t make such request without her approval.

Like so many before her, Pelosi has already let the trappings of power go to her pretty little head and she and her Democratic compatriots are so wrapped up with the lust of being in charge that they forget why the voters gave them the keys to the place.

Same thing happened to Hastert and his rabid, rogue Republicans. The party that once stood for limited government and personal responsibility allowed the madman of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to turn government into a bloated, rights-robbing, deficit building, all-powerful monster. Hastert, whose girth expanded with his power, became a demanding demagogue.

Nancy Pelosi established herself as a snotty, acid-tongued, bitchy despot when she was just an unknown Congresswoman from San Francisco. Now, with the power of the Speakership, she is the diva of the Democrats, demanding every perk of office she can suck into her corner of the Capitol and we, as taxpayers, aren’t even getting kissed first.

This is not the way our government should be run. Our leaders should not be debating whether or not to debate while our troops die at record rates. They should not demand to be treated like kings or queens while our nation’s debt spirals out of control and a crippled auto industry sends hundreds of thousands to the unemployment line.

This nation deserves better than George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid.

Each violates the oath they swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Each forfeit any right to respect and all prove themselves unworthy of the office.

Like too many other Republicans and Democrats, and the clueless partisans who follow them, they forget their first loyalty is the nation they serve, not themselves, and the oath they took was to that nation and not to any personal or political agenda.

Comments

  1. Calico_jack

    So I found this interesting

    Partisan-n.

    a fervent and even militant proponent of something

    devoted to a cause or party

    enthusiast: an ardent and enthusiastic supporter of some person or activity

    wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

    According to these defnitions, everyone’s a partisan…even you Doug. Or should we all simply not believe in or support anything? How is that productive?

  2. I have a problem with the moral equivalancy of Speaker Pelosi’s access to a military airplane for security reasons (she is third in line for the presidency) and what the R congress has done to enable this dysfuntional presidency. By not providing checks and balances to this administration when there was a clear need, the country finds itself in a deadly, costly war incompetently run from which there is no cost free exit.

    If you call that partisanship, than so be it. Should Pelosi get imperious the consequences are nothing like the imperial presidency we suffer under.

    We will be paying for years for the unwillingness of the R congress to hold the Bush administration accountable.

  3. Joe Lawrence writes:

    Doug writes, “…snotty, acid-tongued, bitchy despot,” but, even up on the Blueridge, such would never be said of a male legislator, would it? I think someone is far too anxious to swallow Rethuglican talking points as fact when they reinforce and already existing bent.

    Of course I wouldn’t. I’d write something like this about a man (which is exactly what I did write about Hastert on October 3, 2006):

    Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert is a perfect poster child for the Republican Party: Bloated and out-of-control. With his multiple chins spilling over a too-tight dress shirt collar, Hastert is at once buffoon and bluster – a belching dispenser of contradictory hot air spilling out of an out-of-shape mass of fat. But he’s also very, very dangerous.

    Spare me the usual partisan pap about how I’m following one party or another’s talking points. The only talking points I follow are my own and my talking points are based on the realism that both parties are corrupt and neither deserve to be in office.

    –Doug

  4. Funny Doug, but in my first post I encouraged you to criticize Pelosi so partisanship isn’t the issue here in fact:

    here

    and here.

    Notice even Republican hack Tony Snow says this is a bogus issue. By the way this last election was the first I ever voted Democrat in. Like you I believe they are all tainted. I just think it is important to level just criticism or we come out looking like fools.

  5. Jace

    A quick thought on this:

    If she wants the big non-stop jet, she can have it. But-

    Figure out the cost differential between flying a smaller commuter jet and the larger one. Mme Speaker pays the difference out of her own pocket. Fiscal responsibility?

  6. Martin writes:

    Notice even Republican hack Tony Snow says this is a bogus issue. By the way this last election was the first I ever voted Democrat in. Like you I believe they are all tainted. I just think it is important to level just criticism or we come out looking like fools.

    Of course the White House is going to defend Pelosi. They have to because they’re the ones who insisted Hastert use a government plane. Doing the same for Pelosi furthers the illusion that terrorism is rampant in this country and helps them justify Constitutional abuses like the USA Patriot Act.

    I’m sorry but I see any defense of Pelosi for her stupidity on this as blind partisanship. The first rule of politics is to avoid the “appearance” of impropriety. She seems to have forgotten that is her lust to get special treatment.

    BTW, I fixed the links in your previous reply. Ultimate BB code does not work here. You need to use the and tags for links.

    –Doug

  7. According to my links (above) from crooksandliers.com the SGT. at arms insists the non stop flight is also a security issue and is out of Pelosi’s hands.

    The worst part about all of this is that it originated from the Moonie owned rag the Washington Times who make Fox News look fair and balanced.

  8. Now here I agree with you. Terrorism should be a non issue. There are so many more important issues affecting Americans. I think they should all be using commercial aircraft. I still don’t buy that this is Pelosi’s fault.

  9. Calico Jack writes:

    So I found this interesting

    Partisan-n.

    a fervent and even militant proponent of something

    devoted to a cause or party

    enthusiast: an ardent and enthusiastic supporter of some person or activity

    wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

    According to these defnitions, everyone’s a partisan…even you Doug. Or should we all simply not believe in or support anything? How is that productive?

    I believe in America. I’m a partisan American — nothing more, nothing less.

    And I believe that anyone — I say again ANYONE — who swears allegiance to a political party is putting America second.

    –Doug

  10. Laurence

    Astronauts wear diapers, and Speakers of the House are provided non-stop transportation to their home district.

    I guess we could ridicule all astronauts as “poopy-pants”. I don’t think it adds much to the discourse, though.

    I think Pelosi must be doing pretty well if you have to dig this deep and twist this hard in order to make her fit into the “there all the same!” meme.

  11. Martin writes:

    Now here I agree with you. Terrorism should be a non issue. There are so many more important issues affecting Americans. I think they should all be using commercial aircraft. I still don’t buy that this is Pelosi’s fault.

    If it is not her fault then she could easily end the issue by refusing any form of military transport. The fact that she doesn’t just shows she is just another political hypocrite.

    –Doug

  12. california rick

    re: Gridlock

    As we saw with an ALL REPUBLICAN Executive Branch and Legislative Branch – “Gridlock” is a good thing.

  13. Doubtom

    I stand squarely with Doug on this matter and I can see the blind partisanship that so easily flows from leftist ideologues when protecting their own from criticism.

    Pelosi’s image (her projection) of all smiles is a far cry from her true disposition. She has more allegiance to outfits like AIPAC than to her own constituency.

    She wallows in money so what makes people think that she differs so much from the rich elite of the other party? Are we really so naiive that we believe millionaires give a royal shit about the common man? She doesn’t care about the average joe any more than fat-assed Hastert does.

    They’ve just rearranged the furniture, the game is exactly the same.

    And Doug is right on to point that out–that is the real essence of his service to the public. Look for a yes man elsewhere.

  14. almandine

    RIGHT ON DOUG! No need to carry water for any of these sorry self-righteous politicians… no need to appeal for rationale to Tony Snow, OF ALL PEOPLE, and no need to back off anything you said! It’s clearly not just about the plane… it’s the whole sordid mess we find that we have elected to endure again and again and again. And we’re only stuck with them if we choose not to do anything different. Wake up igmos.

  15. There are 9 Gulfstream business jets at Andrews AFB that have the range necessary for a non-stop flight from DC to SF. All of these should cost about $5000 per flight.

    All it takes to grant the request is for some general to be bumped now and again so Nancy can fly. Big Deal.

  16. Pat

    The administration and the republicans are having yet another bad news week and if they can’t come up with a positive story to end the week, they put out a negative one on their opponents. Then instead of talking about “Iran offered comprehensive talks with the U.S.”, we’ll be talking about Pelosi’s transportation issues.

    There are SO MANY important issues at hand right now and this distraction is intentional and damaging. I’m sure Karl Rove is smiling right now.

  17. Lynda

    As a consultant who commutes to other states for work at least once per week, I can say the overriding desire for extremely frequent travelers is NON-STOP flights! Non-stop flights eliminate stops that can last several hours, which have the added potential of leaving you stranded far from home with few options to go home or get back to a work location. In a tight schedule, like a weekend commute all the way across the country, I can really understand expecting a non-stop flight, as the commercial airlines schedule just such flights.

    All of what I’ve heard leads me to believe that Pelosi only wants the same thing any extremely frequent air commuter would wish for.

    Please give her a break. I think this is a piddly issue when we have so much more meaty issues to pick on.

  18. If I understand you correctly, Doug (and most of the responses have served to make me wonder if I do), what you are saying is that essentially “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”. Many of us had high hope that the “grand change” would make things different in D.C. Obviously, all politicians seem to be cut from the same cloth. Increasingly, that cloth seems to be royal purple. The rest of us can just eat cake!

  19. Gerald Sutliff

    Dear Doug,

    Nancy is asking whether she, a woman, may be required to take second rate service after the first rate service was provided to a man. It’s a gender thing. There’s no winning either way she goes. Accepting second rate shows she “knows her place.” Demanding equal service makes her into a demanding whinny hysterical bitch.

    Save the grousing for the petty minded R’s.

    Keep up the good work.

  20. bryionak

    “may be required to take second rate service after the first rate service was provided to a man. It’s a gender thing.”

    the Pentagon has guaranteed her the same plane Hastert used. The Pentagon went further to say she can use the larger plane if it is available, if it isn’t and she doesn’t want to stop she can get her own transportation like she has to if she is travelling for fundraising or other political activity.

  21. Fred P

    Actually, I like this article (unlike the McFeatters article, which got major facts wrong, and appeared to be little more than expanding on one side’s talking points).

    Unlike the MeFeatters article, this one:

    1) Complains about people for substantiated reasons, and 2) Actually mentions multiple sides of the story.

    So, good work, Doug!

  22. ross

    While I partially agree that this is not a HUGE issue right now, Doug is completely right to point this out, and his critics today have completely ignored this key fact: the Democrats whined and whined when the Republicans were up to this same garbage.

    Look at how overnight the Republican survivors in Congress have changed their attitudes on almost every issue, and even admit that they do so because the public has changed their minds.

    When the next election comes around, the R primaries are going to be all about how these guys caved to the democrats and your going to have presidential hopefuls backtracking on every word they say right now, just like John Kerry in 04.

    Parties have turned our political process into complete Bullshit. Vote for change, and when it doesn’t come, say that’s just how it works. Democrats need to get off their victory lap and make sure these guys do what they said.

    After years of all R rule, such a sharp turnaround should yield some results, and soon. We’ll see. But maybe its time we start questioning the validity of our broken system, at its core, where elections mean nothing and representation is nonexistent, where the goons can fundamentally change the country at a whim, while we (the people) must convince 100 million people that something is wrong.

  23. Kent Shaw

    Doug wrote: “Of course the White House is going to defend Pelosi. They have to because they’re the ones who insisted Hastert use a government plane. Doing the same for Pelosi furthers the illusion that terrorism is rampant in this country and helps them justify Constitutional abuses like the USA Patriot Act.”

    BINGO! And if there is another terrorist attack here the perpetrators walked or drove in over the southern border, which neither party has any interest in protecting. All the fuss over who flies how is nothing more than smoke and mirrors to distract from the REAL issues as Jennifer just stated.

    ITS THE ILLEGAL WAR! IMPEACH NOW! CUT OFF WAR FUNDING! What is happening in Iraq is an abomination and thousands are dying needlessly while political parties in the U.S., manipulated by Israel and AIPAC, fiddle about with their petty concerns. Disgusting. Just plain disgusting and unconscionable. And hopeless. If I don’t go back to the bottle soon it will be a true miracle.

  24. Nicholas H.

    Doug and Jennifer/Wisdomkeeper are right.

    I’m old as dirt, got here shortly after the Earth cooled, and I have watched the same patterns in both political parties in DC for a couple of generations. Same old same old. And today, it’s even worse. Can’t sqeeze half an iota between either party.

    The last decent president the U.S. had was John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and he was far from perfect.

    ‘nuf said, time to move on.