“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.