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When insanity walks the halls of Congress, America is the loser

By DOUG THOMPSON - A Capitol Hill Blue Commentary
October 7, 2013

The "real" symbol of The Republican Party.

The “real” symbol of The Republican Party.

Before forcing the United States government into a shutdown that nobody but the extreme right wing of their own party wanted, Republicans were warned by just about everyone that such action would hurt the GOP most of all.

But the party of the elephant apparently lacks the memory attributed to the animal that serves as their mascot, forgot what the shutdown 17 years ago cost them and followed the conservative naysayers into the valley of political doom.

“Democrats must pick up 17 seats to win control of the House,” says Jim Williams of Public Policy Polling, where a new poll shows the shutdown is seriously hurting the GOP in two dozen “battleground” districts.  “These poll results make clear that if the election were held today, such a pickup would be well within reach.”

Republicans, who tend to ignore realities like voter anger, think gerrymandering of Congressional districts around the nation makes them immune to losses at the ballot box.

But polls after poll shows voters blame the mess in Washington more on the Republicans.  Only about 20 percent of those polled hand out equal blame to both sides of the prolonged budget battle that threatens to bring the government to its knees and the nation to economic collapse.

Republicans also put ending Obamacare at the head of their list of things that must happen to get a new budget and an increase in the nation’s debt limit, but poll after poll says that while some Americans still have questions about the President’s signature health plan, a clear majority of them didn’t want the government shut down over the issue.

Long Island Republican Gabriel Abram, who writes for The Jewish Post and Yahoo, thinks his party is nuts.

Writes Abram:

This is a dangerous and politically detrimental move. The GOP-controlled House has tried many times to pass a bill that would defund Obamacare and each time it has failed in the Senate. However, the funding of the U.S. government is not something to play around with. This a move that holds our government hostage to my party’s whims.

On principal alone, this action is wrong. It is an attachment of an issue that is totally unrelated to the matter at hand. They have also attached a bill that would fund the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which Obama has repeatedly refused to sign. Such attachments, known as riders, would not pass on their own, so they ride on the back of a bill that must pass in order to get these laws through. For the Republican Party to do this means that they endorse the same type of political trickery being done to them. This may hurt them later on.

Abram correctly points out that such action by Republicans is unabashed hypocrisy since the GOP, as part of their “Contract With America” used to win control of the House in 1994, promised to end the practice of adding “non-germane” legislation to bills.

Of course, much of the Contract With America was based on hypocrisy and lies.  The GOP also promised to enact term limits but abandoned that lie as soon as they won control of the House.

Of course, lying in politics, is not limited to the GOP.  Barack Obama lied so much in his now forgotten campaign promises that keeping track of all the falsehoods is impossible, but the actions by the Republicans who control the House and listen, without question, to the questionable and treacherous demands of the rabid right wing border on outright insanity.

Sadly, the current actions of the Republicans in the House of Representatives cannot be corrected by voters until the 2014 mid-term elections.

For America, that time may be too late.

___

Copyright © 2013 Capitol Hill Blue

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6 Responses to When insanity walks the halls of Congress, America is the loser

  1. bryan mcclellan

    October 7, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Too many feet to hold to a fire long since extinguished. Llamraf..

  2. Keith

    October 7, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Doug,

    Switch the word “Democrat” for “Republican” in your tome and I think you’ll agree that members of BOTH political parties have been guilty of these same crimes against the American people at one time or another.

    And, while I certainly agree that, this time around, the Republicans are probably more to blame for the current fiasco, I firmly believe these seemingly recurring bouts of (as you call it) “insanity” have FAR more to do with the way our US Government is structured rather than the people trying to function within it.

    Indeed, because the overriding concern of our founding fathers was to avoid an “elected King”, they split power amongst not one but TWO houses of Congress, as well as a President and a Judiciary.

    Over the years, as the (mostly urban and therefore more liberally Democratic) welfare state has grown, it now pits the largely rural parts of the country whose representatives tend to be more conservatively Republican, against the urban areas of our nation, which tend to be more liberally Democratic.

    This is why our current House of Representatives (with its “Tea Party” wing) have far more power to muck up progress than their numbers would otherwise support.

    And thanks to the “winner take all” nature of our electoral processes for both the Presidency and the Senate, these parts of the government’s split power base tend to be far more liberally Democratic (reflective of the urban welfare state) a fact that tends to overpower the more conservative vote for those arms of the government.

    And, because our founding fathers were so obsessively fearful of electing a King and split power amongst so many elected bodies (and now with a 2/3 majority to make anything they vote on “stick”), the end result is absolute, total gridlock.

    So, again, while I certainly agree that we now have more than our fair share of crooks in both the Congress and the White House, I also firmly believe that it’s the SYSTEM they are working within that largely prevents any one faction from gaining enough power to make these absolutely crucial economic decisions that are so neccessary for a country to long survive in the modern world.

  3. James M. Grandone

    October 7, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Two things: First the ACA is not, as you correctly pointed out “germaine” to the budget bill (CR) or the debt ceiling vote. As such, I do not see how it was attached to the legislation. This speaks to the Republican leaderships misfeasance in office.
    Second, while this is out of left field so to speak, if we had a more parliamentary form of government, this could be fixed immediately. I do not know how it could be done, however, a vote of confidence in the government if taken today, would certainly throw it out of power and call for new elections. I can understand in 1789 that the terms of office made sense. Messages too weeks to be delivered and months to get from other countries. In a 24/7 news and instant information world, however, too much can happen in two, four or six years to justify people staying in office for those lengths of time. We need a more responsive government oor a means to discipline it to act according to the will of the people on major issues+. Since the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives seems to care not at all what the public thinks about their irresponsible actions, the time for consideration of this idea is now.

    • Keith

      October 7, 2013 at 1:57 pm

      Quote from response: “Second, while this is out of left field so to speak, if we had a more parliamentary form of government, this could be fixed immediately.”

      I disagree.

      The issue would have NEVER COME UP IN THE FIRST PLACE!

      That’s because, under a parliamentary system , budget bills are usually considered “votes of confidence” of the current governing party (or coalition of parties). And if such measures fail to accumulate enough votes for passage (usually a simple majority) the current government dissolves and new elections are held.

      But the REST of the government doesn’t “shut down” in the meantime. Indeed, the “failed” government continues to govern until a new one is elected (or re-elected) by the people.

      This continual “brinkmanship”, and shutting down portions of open ocean, barricading outdoor monuments and memorials (such as the viewing pullouts at Mt. Rushmore) and (now) even tossing 70 and 80 year old people out of their homes on Lake Meade simply because they just happen to sit on federal land is, as the Chief says, absolute insanity.

    • CA Leeson

      October 8, 2013 at 9:35 am

      A bill or amendment allowing Re-Call elections of any member of Congress should be voted on by the citizens of the US.

  4. Senegoid

    October 9, 2013 at 6:59 am

    “Even a small-time gang of hoodlums has its own melodramatic ideology and pathological romanticism. Human nature demands that vile matters be haloed by an over-compensatory mystique in order to silence one’s conscience and to deceive consciousness and critical faculties, whether one’s own or those of others.

    If such a ponerogenic union could be stripped of its ideology, nothing would remain except psychological and moral pathology, naked and unattractive.”

    –ANDREW M. LOBACZEWSKI, Political Ponerology