Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Why is Congress So Lame?
By Alan Caruba
I have been wondering of late why the Democrats in Congress are so lame. It is astonishing because, having taken back control of Congress in 2006 and increased it in 2008, you would think they would have been passing laws like crazy, but all they have managed to do is borrow and spend money in a fashion that makes the Republicans under Bush look stingy by comparison.
My thoughts were prompted by the fact that one of my Senators, Frank Lautenberg, is 86 years old and the word is that he plans to run for reelection. That’s just bizarre. Of course, West Virginia still has him beat. Robert C. Bryd is older! He has been there since 1959. Let’s put in it in the context of my life, I am 72 and graduated university in the Class of 1959!
If Lautenberg runs for office again and wins, he would be 92 if he lives long enough to finish the term.
Lautenberg had served in the Senate from 1982 until 2001 when he retired. When the Democrat candidate, Robert Torricelli, ran into some serious ethical problems and bailed, Lautenberg was hastily put on the ballot and has served since 2003. He is your basic brain-dead Democrat who votes the party line.
Aside from those two geezers, the Senate is a virtual old folk’s home with people like Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii who took office in 1963; Carl Levin of Michigan, elected initially in 1979; and the youngster, Tom Harkin, elected in 1985. Senators serve six year terms.
Unless they are, in the words of the former Governor of Louisiana, Edwin Edwards, “Caught in bed with a dead hooker or a live boy”, Senators pretty much can stay on so long as they can raise a couple of million prior to their next election. Harry Reid, the Majority Leader was first elected to the Senate in 1987. The average age in the Senate is 63.
The House of Representatives is more lively because the term is only two years. The average age is 57. While there are only a hundred Senators, there are 435 members of the House. They are led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi who hails from the Peoples Republic of California, a state that is currently flirting with total bankruptcy and default. Pelosi is some poor child’s grandmother, so she is no spring chicken. Hailing from San Francisco, she is in a “safe” district.
The President, Barack Obama, is 49 years old which, by the averages of Congress, is young. Indeed, he, John Kennedy and Bill Clinton were the youngest men to be elected to the office though Obama prefers to be compared with Lincoln and FDR.
Most of the members of Congress spent much of their childhood and adolescence between the 1950s and 1970s. Many were the Baby Boomers who, it is generally agreed, were a generation of spoiled brats. They were followed thereafter by the “Me” generation who were even worse. Most became lawyers.
A few like John McCain, served in the Vietnam War with distinction, others were like John Kerry who parlayed four months active duty followed by anti-war slanders of his fellow soldiers into a political career spent largely following Teddy Kennedy around like a circus attendant behind a parade of elephants.
So it may have something to do with the sheer demographics of age that has something to do with the vast number of Congress critters who give evidence of being astonishingly ill equipped to be responsible for the fate of the republic.
The most distinguishing factor is that younger members of Congress seem to understand what constituents feel and want, but the older ones appear to take a less charitable view, having fed at the trough so long they can barely lift their snout to vote. Hence, the term “pork.”
Those that are qualified stand out conspicuously from the crowd. Republicans distinguished themselves in the Barack Obama Medicare Reform Talkathon by audaciously presenting facts to counter his vague “trust me” responses. One year into his first and last term, nobody trusts Obama
The unity of the Republicans in Congress these days will be recorded as one of the great political miracles since the Contract with America in 1994 that gained them control after forty years of being spat upon by Democrats for some four decades until then.
The Obamacare mess has generated the mass hiring of every lobbyist in Washington, D.C., assigning a dozen or so to each member of Congress in the huge tug-of-war by the pharmaceutical industry, the insurance industry, the unions, and anyone else who has a dog in the fight…which is just about everyone.
Many of the members of Congress are millionaires or became millionaires after a few terms. Being worshipped and treated like gods has inflated their egos beyond a healthy boundary of sanity.
The result, at this moment in history, are a large number of men and women who should have retired long ago and who are too busy raising money for the next election to have much time left over to actually read legislation before voting on it.
If you look too closely at Congress, it can make you queasy
© Alan Caruba, 2010