Message to Congress: Shut up.

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“Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.” – Mark Twain

Truth be told, this is not a blog that I wanted to write. Even though the often-eccentric Republicans who seem to have taken over the institution once known as the House of Representatives seemed intent on shutting down the federal government, I didn’t think they’d actually do it. But they did, throwing more than 2 million people out of work, and causing disruptions both foreseen and unforeseen.

Here’s a brief course in representative government, AKA Civics 101.

Suppose you’re a member of Congress. Suppose you want to repeal a law that has been on the books for three years. Here’s what you do:

You persuade a majority in both houses to support your bill. The bill goes to the President. If the President vetoes it, you’ll have to muster a supermajority in both houses to override his veto.

If not, you get to work on something else. You don’t waste your time tilting at windmills. If you fritter away the days sending the same bill to the Senate more than 40 times, knowing that they’ll reject it out of hand, you’re cheating your employers – the American people.

And you know something? Some of you are cynical, hypocritical opportunists – which is maybe worse than being crazed and deluded (see Sen. Ted Cruz).

This morning my email box was full of self-serving emails from politicians. That’s nothing new, but two of them caught my eye, both from Colorado Republican Congressman Cory Gardner.

The first berated Democrats in the Senate for “refusing to negotiate” with House Republicans. The second was a plea that the government shutdown not hinder flood relief efforts in northern Colorado.

C’mon, Congressman! You voted to shut down the government, but you don’t want your constituents to be affected. And as for refusing to negotiate, that’s BS. What we have here is failure to legislate, followed by blackmail. Fine for you and your colleagues, I guess – you’re not among the hundreds of thousands of government workers whose paychecks have been stopped.

But you clearly don’t care about them. Along with your fellow GOP legislators, you don’t think much of federal employees – just a bunch of overpaid, underworked paper pushers, busy enforcing unnecessary legislation and interfering with small businesses, aren’t they?

Sure – except when they’re cleaning up after natural disasters, or building roads, or providing for the common defense, or otherwise looking after the health, safety and welfare of all Americans.

So here’s a suggestion: just shut up. You’re playing a losing hand with someone else’s money – ours. It’s time to leave the casino, stop playing your noisy games of chance, and go home.

You’ve already lost enough.

 

7 Responses to Message to Congress: Shut up.

  1. A better title for your article: “The Buck Stops With Congress”.

    Bryan Lee
    October 1, 2013 at 11:15 am

  2. Not quite that simple, John.I have never heard that it was the role of the party out of power is supposed to tuck its tail between its legs and go to the corner. Besides Republicans do have the majority in the House. While I don’t support their hardline tactics or strategy, negotiating has to be a two way street. There are aspects of the ACA that could use some work, and that means that maybe the guy who claims credit for it could say, “I’ll work with you on some fixes.” But I have heard his speech excerpts as well, and they sound very similar to Boehner’s.

    Rob
    October 1, 2013 at 12:00 pm

  3. Oh how I long for the days of unbiased journalism. BOTH parties are to blame! This constant pointing of fingers is getting us nowhere. The ACA is not constitutional. People elected are actually supposed to follow the Constitution.People seem to forget that we are a Republic not a democracy. That means the majority should not be allowed to force its dogma on the minority. The American people are losing because we keep wanting the government to provide. But we, the people are the ones who are footing that bill. It’s not the government paying for anything, it is me and you. There’s a saying that when you point your finger at someone, you are pointing three back at yourself. The fact is it isn’t a Democrat or Republican problem, it’s a citizen problem. Far too long apathy has ruled the day and now we are paying the price.

    Vikki Walton
    October 1, 2013 at 12:49 pm

  4. ……. maybe if the law in question hadn’t been rammed thru via Budget reconciliation with no ‘supermajority’ and NO support from the representatives of the other half of the country, maybe then there’d be a bit more concern for the niceties of congressional decorum & procedure.
    …. but that’s NOT what happened.
    ……. and in the intervening years we’ve seen how much the current regime cares for the various ‘laws of the land’ that they do not agree with, they just don’t enforce them, or they exempt their friends from them, or they regulate their way around them
    ………. this bunch tramples on the Constitution & then cries when the rules they’ve disregarded aren’t followed ? Well, cry me a river.

    richard black
    October 1, 2013 at 1:47 pm

  5. Republicans don’t have anything against public employees. They have a problem with the government as a business; a government which has proven it self time and time again to have the most inefficient practices on the face of the earth.

    What do you call an entity that continues to grow in size, power, and authority, taking over private business practice one step at a time (such as Obama care), all the while being the worst at delivering what the people want for a price they want it for. Whatever you call it, it’s not good. It’s not free enterprise. It’s not what made this country great. But I agree that most of the people in congress are idiots, except eccentric republicans I think you refer to. They are the few who actually get it.

    Jon
    October 1, 2013 at 2:24 pm

  6. Shame on you John Hazelhurst for blaming only the Republicans. You have heard the President and Senator Reid. They will not negotiate. John….it takes two sides to compromise. The Republicans in the House offered several compromises, the last one to delay Obamacare for one year (NOT TO DEFUND IT OR REPEAL IT). The House has offered budget after budget, and compromise after compromise but Democrats in the Senate will not budge.

    Yet you say Republicans are cynical, hypocritical opportunists who are crazed and deluded? So what side are you on John? How are we supposed to react when we get insulting comments like that? Just give up? All you served in this article is a desire to fight harder.

    Just in case you forgot, the House sent their last compromise to the Senate over the weekend and Harry would not let it enter the floor for debate or a vote. Even worse, the Senate took the weekend off. Really? Why don’t you go beat up the Senate for that? Seriously John, I can see the title you should have had. SENATE TAKES WEEKEND OFF DURING BUDGET CRISIS – SHAME ON THEM!

    And the President, who should rise above the fray and work with both sides? Not in his nature. All he says is that the Republicans are doing this because we are out to get him. Come on! Just maybe we are fighting because Obamacare is a terrible law. If he knew any better, he would encourage the Senate to take the last compromise from the House. After all even Obama’s own constituents like big unions have huge problems with Obamacare. A one year delay might actually do the President a big favor and buy him time to fix major Obamacare problems!

    John, you should note that the President says he will work with Republicans even to the detriment of his reputation in his own party….but a few sentences later says there will be no negotiation. I have duly noted you have NOT called the President a hypocrite!! John…it is the President to blame here. YES JOHN…IT IS THE PRESIDENT TO BLAME!! He won’t budge and he has emboldened the democrats in the Senate to be intransigent. The President does have some great skills – he is exceptionally skilled at dividing, agitating, blaming everyone else, generating bad policies, and creating hate for conservatives. Wake up John because you have also been duped.

    In your last statement you tell the Republicans to go home because we already lost. We are not going home John. Not going to happen. Not a chance. Maybe you should go home and re-think your one sided reporting on this topic.

    Stan VanderWerf
    October 1, 2013 at 3:35 pm

  7. What? Legislators’ paychecks aren’t being stopped? Ayn Rand was right; they’re all thieves and looters!!!

    Eric
    October 5, 2013 at 5:52 pm