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November 22, 2011

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear

Shawn Burns

The “Super Committee” is a super failure. This bunch of inept career politicians exemplifies and epitomize the overall failure of the 112th Congress. And both sides of the aisle are to blame.


The entire idea of this super committee was ill conceived and – quite frankly – stupid from its inception.


The 112th Congress, and all of the active participants, is raising “party-before-the-voters to an all time high. And they are not apologizing to anyone.


This is our generation’s “do-nothing” Congress.


The members of the super committee are as follows:


From the Senate: Pat Toomey (R., PA.), Jon Kyl (R., AZ), Rob Portman (R., OH),Patty Murray (D., WA), John Kerry (D., MA), and Max Baucus (D., MT).


From the House: Jeb Hensarling (R., TX), Fred Upton (R., MI), Dave Camp (R., MI), Chris Van Hollen (D., MD), Xavier Becerra (D., CA), and Jim Clyburn (D., SC).


President Harry Truman first used the term, “do- nothing” Congress to describe the 80th Congress, with whom he had numerous battles.


The 112th Congress makes the old 80th Congress look pretty good when you compare their legislative accomplishments.


So far this year, the 112th has passed only 89 bills that the president has signed into law. As a comparison, last year Congress passed 258 bills that President Obama signed into law.


And among those 89 bills passed and signed into law this year, 21 renamed federal buildings and post offices.


Are Congress and the super committee members refusing to take action because they truly cannot come to a consensus on anything?


A recent national poll found that nearly seven in 10 Americans think Congress has done nothing to address the problems facing America.


A majority of Republicans, Democrats, Independents, along with all major demographic groups, view Congress negatively.


Congressional term limits won’t fix all of the problems in Washington, but enacting term limits would force change on this bunch.


There is still much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving in spite of the ineffectual leadership in Washington.


A congressional resolution and a proclamation by President George Washington established the first national Thanksgiving Day on November 26, 1789. The reason for the holiday was to give “thanks for the new Constitution.”


1789 was a monumental year in the early history of the recently ratified Constitution. The first presidential election was held; the first Congress under the Constitution convened; Congress establishes the Supreme Court, district and circuit courts; and the Bill of Rights was proposed and sent to the states for ratification.


That was government in action. Those original members of Congress would be ashamed and embarrassed to have any association with their contemporary counterparts.


Of course, our founders did not agree on everything and, of course, there were political games being played back then. From the very genesis of the Constitution there was a battle between believers in a strong centralized national government and those who preferred stronger state governments.


In fact, in 1788 an election was held in Rhode Island to vote on the ratification status of the Constitution. 237 votes were in favor and 2,945 voted against ratification.


Our founders were by no means perfect. But what they possessed, far more so than their contemporary counterparts, was a sense of duty and responsibility to their fellow citizens in making decisions in the best interest of the country.


The career politician today is much more concerned with self than the best interests of those they supposedly represent. Sadly, that mentality isn’t confined to the Halls of Congress.


Again, term limits can’t entirely fix the problem, but term limits will help reduce the amount of damage some of these people can inflict on the rest of us.


Thankfully we still get to vote in elections. But unfortunately, elections are rigged for Congress in the form of redistricting, also known as gerrymandering. Just go ask anyone in the Sixth District of Maryland how they feel about the new boundaries.


One last thought… Eating turkey on Thanksgiving Day may not have had the same appeal if Ben Franklin’s proposal had been embraced. Franklin wanted the national bird to be the turkey.



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