Congress doesn’t know when to stop digging
January 13, 2012
[Excerpt]: John Boehner’s got a problem — a statistical trap that’s going to take some real work to get out of.
His drive to completely discredit the institution of the Congress has stalled: 9 percent of Americans still somehow approve of the way our legislature functions. And those 9 percent must be kind of stubborn: I mean, 16 percent of Americans approved of the way BP handled the Gulf oil spill, and 13 percent approve of polygamy. If that hard-core 9 percent didn’t mind, say, threatening to shut the government down three times last year, it’s going to be next to impossible to turn them off.
Happily, the House Speaker seems to have a plan.
Having attached a rider to the payroll tax cut that forces the President to make a decision on the Keystone pipeline in the next 60 days — a rider the administration says will force it to deny the permit — he now is attempting to punish those representatives who didn’t go along. The National Republican Campaign Committee last week sent out press releases to 55 recalcitrant members of Congress, insisting they speak out against the president.
In other words: Boehner wants those “vulnerable” representatives to join the harem he maintains on behalf of the fossil-fuel industry. Yes! That should do it — get everyone in Congress in bed with the industry everyone hates the most and maybe you really can persuade the last 9 percent to pack it in.
Because here’s the deal: the reason, above all, that everyone despises Congress is because they think it’s bought and paid for. And Keystone is the perfect example. When the House took its vote on the issue in December, 234 members voted to “expedite” the pipeline. They’d taken, between them, $42 million dollars from the fossil fuel industry, as compared with only $8 million for the 193 on the other side.
Originally published January 12, 2012 at The Hill.