Monday, December 12, 2011

As It Stands: PAB Award: What Congress deserves for Christmas


                 By Dave Stancliff/for the Times-Standard
  Welcome to the first annual As It Stands contest for Politicians Acting Badly (the PAB award). This year we have a lot of candidates to choose from. Based upon most Americans disgust with them, members of the current Congress, have to be considered the frontrunners for this special citation.
   Still, we can’t overlook the likes of ex- Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) and his cell phone shannigans, or Rep. Spencer Bachus’s (R-AL) inside trading behavior which recently came under fire in a 60 Minutes report. 
   This year’s long shots for the award are: Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) who in the heat of a political debate in August crossed the line when he said being associated with President Obama would be similar to touching a “tar baby.”  Another contender is ex-Congressman David Wu who resigned amid allegations he engaged in "aggressive and unwanted sexual behavior." He also came under fire for possible mental health issues after he mailed a picture of himself in a tiger costume to his staff.
  Here we go. Are you ready? Pass the envelope please... (tense pause). This year’s winner of the PAB Award is…the 112th U.S. Congress!
  Santa will leave rocks for every member of Congress this Christmas. The normally jolly old elf is as sick of partisan politics as most Americans.
Congress' supercommittee conceded ignominious defeat in November, setting the stage for another new low. Even for them. Neither side shows the spirit of the season.
 Our lawmakers are a pack of Scrooges stealing holiday cheer. None of them are comfortable about automatic cuts going into place if they don‘t come up with a plan. Yet the no-compromise committee, formerly known as the supercommittee, threw up their hands in defeat in time for the holidays.
  Political divisions over taxes and spending have cast a cloud of uncertainty over the U.S. economy while Greece, Italy, Spain and other European countries are reeling from a spreading debt crisis and recession worries.
  Congress continues to act as if they don’t care if their approval rating in the polls is well below 20 percent. It’s amazing to me. It’s as if  our elected officials don’t understand there will be an accounting when they’re up for re-election.
   Based on accounts provided by officials familiar with the talks, it appears that weeks of private negotiations did nothing to alter a fundamental divide between the two political parties.
   "Despite our inability to bridge the committee's significant differences, we end this process united in our belief that the nation's fiscal crisis must be addressed and that we cannot leave it for the next generation to solve," the panel's two co-chairs, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Tex., said in a recent AP report.
  Don’t feel alone if this statement makes you want to vomit. Have you ever heard a bigger bunch of baloney? United in their belief? They’re not united enough to decide when to take a coffee break let alone solve problems for future generations!
  Has there ever been a worse Congress? I can see political historians comparing it with some in the 1880s, but unless someone proves otherwise, our current Congress must be considered the worst of the worst. Thus the PAB Award.
  I know what Americans want for Christmas. A Congress that can balance the budget. A Congress that is proactive about stimulating jobs in this down economy and passes bills with real teeth. A congress that doesn’t enrich its members with inside stock trading. A Congress committed to doing what the American people really want. A Congress that doesn’t appear to the rest of the world as a bunch of greedy partisan clowns.

  I don’t think those are unrealistic expectations. When our lawmakers took their oaths of office they promised to serve their constituents. That means they should represent the voters wishes and not those ideological demigods who demand partisan pledges that prevent compromise.
   The good news during these holidays is that things can change. Americans are rising up across the country demanding real change. I can’t wait until this time next year. I suspect we’ll elect a more responsive group of lawmakers who’d like to avoid getting my PAB award.
  As It Stands, for Christmas this year, members of Congress deserve a rock signifying their stubbornness, and they should also receive a pink slip from their constituents.  

This column has been picked up by the following websites:

#1 Politics Daily #2 Silobreaker #3 David Wu News #4 Global Associated News 

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