By Michael Baker
A recent Washington post piece shoots some fish in a barrel, arguing that the current US Congress is the worst in history. Bitching about Congress has always been a popular American pastime, but the hard data suggests that the current session really is worse than any other – it has the lowest approval rating, has passed the least legislation, and votes along partisan lines more than any that came before.
So yes, Congress sucks. Finally, something we can agree on. So now it’s time to play the blame game. Whose fault is it that Congress is terrible?
The obvious answer to that question is that it’s Congress’ fault – they’re too damned partisan and would rather put on a good political show by stonewalling legislation than work to find agreeable solutions. It’s all on them, so let’s do something drastic, something that hasn’t been done since the last Congressional election. Let’s vote the bums out! We will, and we’ll replace them with new bums – new bums who are elected because they promise us the Sun and Moon, and because we love their hard-line stance on pretty much everything. So the new bums will take over where the old bums left off, and they’ll stick to their campaign promise of holding firm, even if it means getting nothing done. Then they’ll start their own version of the blame game – it’s not their fault, they wouldn’t need to compromise if everyone else would just smarten up and agree with them on everything. Then we’ll all start to get annoyed because they’re too damned partisan and nothing is getting done, and the media will start to talk about how they’re the worst Congress ever. Next thing you know, we’ll vote the new bums out.
So the bottom line is that the problem is us, the American Electorate. We all say that we want compromise, but only on our own terms – I shouldn’t have to make concessions because the real problem is with all the idiots who are too dumb to see that I’m right. That’s the current state of politics on the national scale, and it’s what we demand of our elected officials, so the current do-nothing Congress is really just a symptom of the disease. And of course it doesn’t help that pretty much everything is politicized; it’s nearly impossible to find a major issue that isn’t the subject of ideological bickering.
The media doesn’t help either, what with all the talk radio and cable news pundits who predict the downfall of the world as we know on a daily basis. Not to mention all these whiny blogosphere types who love to point out the problem but don’t seem to know what the solution is. By the way, I don’t seem to know what the solution is, but it’ll have to be more drastic than voting the bums out.