I'm a Pundit Too

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Another Do Nothing Congress

In January of 2007, the control of Congress was handed over to the Democratic party leadership under the mantra of “A New Direction”. After 11 months of control, the 110th Congress has one of the lowest approval ratings in history. The Democrats used the negative numbers in their campaigns last year to help retake control of both houses of Congress. Just before the November elections last year the Republican controlled Congress had a similarly low approval, but after a year of Democrat control, the voting public appears to have the same level of disdain for the way that the Democrats have handled their power. Both political parties are in some serious trouble when it comes to the public’s confidence in their ability to lead.

When the Republicans were in control, they displayed no desire to control their own drunken sailor spending habits, effectively deal with the illegal immigration problems, or to police their congressional colleagues relationships with lobbyists. The Democratic leadership took over and promised to lead the Congress in a new direction. That direction holds a striking resemblance to the Congress they promised to change. They have done nothing to rein in the out of control spending. Under the leadership of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform was brought to the floor and soundly defeated (thank God for that defeat). The lobbying rules have changed to some extent, but they left enough loopholes to allow themselves to still receive their perks.

The Democrats were elected to change directions in Congress, but also in the war in Iraq. After numerous threats to withdraw all funding for the troops, and incessant caterwauling of Pelosi, Reid, Murtha, et al of defeat, the Congress has not succeeded in their stated goal of bringing the troops home immediately. In fact, the troop levels have risen to accommodate the “surge” and we have seen astounding success. Even Murtha, who has been decrying our efforts for more than a year, has been heard acknowledging that the surge is working. The Democratic party is in dangerous territory politically. If the military effort continues to go well, they are seen as the doomsayers in the face of victory. If the war goes badly, then they are seen as the gleeful recipients of war casualty numbers. The Democratic party is beholden to the anti-war establishment, who expects nothing less than a complete withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. With the failure to cause any change in war strategy, the Democrats need to appease the anti-war supporters. The question is, what will they be able to accomplish on that front without appearing to be anti-troop?

The Republicans lost their power in large part to their ties to lobbying scandals and their inability to control spending. After a year in the minority, they have shown very little improvement on the spending issue. Most Republicans seem just as eager as the Democratic counterparts to spend as if there was no tomorrow. They rush to attach earmarks to legislation to send more of our money to their pet projects. Most Republican voters consider themselves to be for a smaller, less intrusive government. The Republican party of late has done nothing to slow the growth of government, or even shrink the size. They have given the taxpayers a tax cut, which has helped, but they did nothing to ensure that the tax cuts would be permanent. The tax cuts are due to expire in a few years and there will be no one to blame but the Republicans who did not act while they had control.

Now that an election season is upon us yet again, both sides will be clamoring for the public to vote for them to lead the Congress. With the abysmal approval ratings of Congress, one might expect that a sweeping change might be in the near future, but if history serves as any indicator, the vast majority of the voting public will disapprove of all of Congress, with the exception of their elected representative. The same tired politicians will be sent back to DC to continue to disappoint us all. The leadership of both parties is to blame for not running quality candidates, but the voting public is also to blame for the sad state of politics. We complain about the way things are done, but continue to support the same people for office. We allow the media to tell us who the frontrunners are and fail to do our own homework on where each of the candidates stand. This election cycle, there is a wide variety of candidates for president. Check out each candidate and decide for yourself who most resembles your own morals, values, and beliefs.

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