So imagine showing up to work late for a couple of months in a row, not doing any of the things your boss asks you to do, then waltzing into your boss’s office on August 1 and asking to take a five-week vacation — paid!
Well, that’s exactly what’s happening in Washington, D.C. Even lawmakers, like my good friend Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, realize it.
Look, I hate to add to the long litany of “Congress isn’t doing its job” tirades, but at a certain point it really does force you to think about this in a whole new way.
Just look at the record of the 112th Congress. Bills to provide tax relief for American workers and businesses; take care of teachers and first responders; repeal big-oil tax subsidies; reduce the deficit; help students in debt; remedy gender-based wage discrimination; bring transparency to spending; and deliver jobs outsourced oversees back home — all killed in the Senate by a GOP minority through the threat of filibuster.
Just these past few days, Congress failed to move on a cybersecurity bill supported by senior officials in both parties. They failed to pass an agricultural bill desperately needed to help an agricultural sector being destroyed by a horrific drought. They did nothing on the approaching expiration of the tax cuts for the middle class, nothing on the fiscal cliff that approaches, punting on all the appropriations bills by merely passing a continuing resolution to kick the can down the road for six months.
They’ve done almost nothing on any of the serious issues facing us.
What to do? “Throw all the bums out” is the simplistic and wrong-headed answer. Throw out the rabid, right-wing tea-party voices is the right answer.
They — led by Grover Norquist on finance and Jim DeMint and Ron Johnson on the social issues — have led to a polarization that defies the more centrist views of the public and refuses to permit the sensible joining of forces in compromise that is required in a legislative body.
We are an avowedly progressive voice on this network and often disagree with the compromises that emerge when legislative bodies work, but at least those compromises are designed to address the issues facing us as a society.
Now, the rabid, fact-defying, history-ignoring, logic-avoiding tea party right wing is stymying even the slow march forward of Congress. It is time to face down the tea party–driven gridlock that has engulfed Washington.
That’s “My View.”