Where good ideas go to die

System in Washington stacks deck against best lawmakers' ideas

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An ultra-conservative Republican senator brought the U.S. Senate to a standstill today with a lengthy and controversial one-man filibuster over what critics are saying is nothing more than a pork-barrel project for Boy Scouts in his home state.

File/Associated Press
The despair expressed by Jimmy Stewart’s character in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington likely is felt today by members of Congress whose bright ideas for saving our nation get trashed by Washington and the media.

Angry Democrats called Sen. Jefferson Smith’s actions – which included time-wasters such as reading from books and founding documents – a ploy to obstruct progress, cynically using the Boy Scouts for cover.

Spending bills that include food stamps and the Women, Infants and Children program are being held hostage by Smith’s filibuster, endangering many low-income Americans.

The White House condemned Smith’s tactic, while polls indicated Smith was losing the support of voters who want the two parties to compromise and work out their differences.

– How the media today might report on a real-life Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

You have to wonder: Does a Congress this dysfunctional, a news media this cynical, even deserve good people in Congress?

We hate to be so pessimistic, but we’re in good company: Polls indicate the majority of Americans believe this may be one of the worst Congresses in U.S. history: Only 13 percent of Americans approve of this cadre of lawmakers, an absolute scandal.

If they had anything close to the pride they seem to have, they’d resign in disgrace and embarrassment.

There are good people in Washington, certainly, a lot of them just having been elected last November. But at this point, they’re still far outnumbered by career politicians addicted to the fat living and ego-padding that go with the office.

With the notable and laudable exception of citizen-legislators such as Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Congress has largely become an imperious, impervious ruling class, the likes of which this republic has never seen.

It’s the Catch-22 of the modern Congress: The country desperately needs good people to run for office, but who in his right mind would?

The old romantic vision of Jimmy Stewart as a principled young U.S. senator – winning the day and the hearts and minds of Americans everywhere – just isn’t the case anymore, if it ever was. Today, Washington and the media chew up and spit out principled people and eat their ideas for breakfast.

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., some months ago proposed commonsense future reforms for Medicare, and was thanked for his trouble by a Democratic television ad portraying him throwing an elderly woman off a cliff. Then, President Obama on Thursday night proposed reforming Medicare. Go figure.

Sen. Coburn recently unveiled a plan to eliminate $9 trillion in overspending in the next decade – and knew in his heart it was dead on arrival because it just made too much sense and required too many difficult choices.

Washington: Where Good Ideas Go To Die.

In a television interview this summer, Coburn neatly, if sorrowfully, summed up the current situation in Washington and why the many special interests who want our money are in near-total control:

“When you get down to the details, people (in Congress) don’t want to make a tough vote because they’ll lose somebody’s support. What we ought to do is not care whether we have somebody’s support; we ought to do what’s best for the country. And that’s what’s not happening.

“I have no doubt that most politicians are self-centered. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be here.”

The bottom line is this: As long as there are no term limits in Congress, Washington will be awash in a series of power trips and ego trips, and we and our children will pay the tab.

The honest Washington character portrayed by Harrison Ford in the movie Clear and Present Danger is told at one point by a cynical colleague, “You are such a Boy Scout.”

Well, we need a few more Boy Scouts in Washington. The question is, do they even stand a chance?

There are a few Mr. Smiths in Washington. But the system – and the entire country, it seems – is allied against them.

Comments (13) Add comment
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Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 09/12/11 - 01:22 am
0
0
Good people still run for

Good people still run for office. But the corrosive influences of The Marble Palace, Hotlanta and Potomac Fever contaminate them over time. What should we expect when good folks lie down with the political dogs found at the local, state and federal levels?

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 09/12/11 - 01:28 am
0
0
privatize it!

privatize it!

Riverman1
90855
Points
Riverman1 09/12/11 - 04:05 am
0
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The criticism that Congress

The criticism that Congress has become somehow different in a negative way than it has been in the past is hackneyed. The same polls show most people like THEIR Congressman even though they disapprove of Congress as a whole. So who is wrong? Most are telling a lie, one way or another.

I believe the low "ratings" of Congress are nothing more than a media driven theme mainly by liberals to take some of the heat off Obama. Conservatives who want Tea Party like changes fall into the trap and repeat the falseity that Congress is even worse than Obama.

harley_52
25117
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harley_52 09/12/11 - 07:56 am
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0
I think liberals have so

I think liberals have so damaged and so corrupted our political system it will be difficult, if not impossible, to recover.

billyjones1949
1
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billyjones1949 09/12/11 - 08:12 am
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Amen Harley.

Amen Harley.

seenitB4
93942
Points
seenitB4 09/12/11 - 08:24 am
0
0
Today, Washington and the

Today, Washington and the media chew up and spit out principled people and eat their ideas for breakfast.

That is exactly what happens...chew & spit----some media talking heads are experts at it....probably that is the reason Palin is still going strong---she is showing the media that they can't keep her down.
I don't want her as President but I admire her toughness.

Chillen
17
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Chillen 09/12/11 - 10:16 am
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0
What we need is part time

What we need is part time politicians. Congressmen & Senators who go to Washington just twice a year (for a week or two) to work on a few of the large issues. Their pay needs to mirror that - $4-5000 plus a few minor travel expenses (they can stay at the Courtyard by Marriott instead of the Ritz). No pay for life & certainly no benefits.

They need to live at home, hold down a real job & interact in the community they serve.

We also need term limits. Total of 12 years Federal public service (for example in any combination 4 years in House and 8 as President or 6 in Senate and 6 in House).

We also need to ban corporate & business political donors (including unions) and ban all lobbyists. Limit political contributions to only individual Americans - and max it out at $100 per person. They are living a lavish lifestyle from donations.

These ideas are the only solution to clean out the sewers in Washington DC.

seabeau
33
Points
seabeau 09/12/11 - 12:08 pm
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0
TERM LIMITS!!!

TERM LIMITS!!!

Jane18
12332
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Jane18 09/12/11 - 12:30 pm
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0
I would vote for you

I would vote for you Chillen!!

FalseHopeLooseChange
5
Points
FalseHopeLooseChange 09/12/11 - 12:42 pm
0
0
"If it ain't broke, don't try

"If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it" they always told me, but if America is indeed as "broke" as most social and economical benchmarks suggest, the country needs scrapped and completely rebuilt as the Founding Fathers and Founding Principles intended, OR abandoned and left to die a horrible death at the hands of the liberals/progressives. Question is should citizens be throwing money at an unrepairable clunker?

America may never be 'fixed' until the liberals and their false prophets are dealt with (converted or deported) as appropriate.

burninater
9799
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burninater 09/12/11 - 12:46 pm
0
0
I always suspected there was

I always suspected there was a portion of the electorate that confused Jimmy Stewart movies with reality.

"Privatize it"? It already has been! Campaigns are funded by private interests, who then get to sway votes and write legislation. Selfishness is a problem for public servants but not for private groups with capital and profits on the line? Riiiiiight.

Wake me up when Clarence gets his wings.

omnomnom
3964
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omnomnom 09/12/11 - 01:38 pm
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0
word burninator. Sure, I'll

word burninator. Sure, I'll let you know asap when Clarence Thomas leaves a hair on his empty Redbull can.

harley_52
25117
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harley_52 09/12/11 - 02:05 pm
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burninater said... "Campaigns

burninater said... "Campaigns are funded by private interests, who then get to sway votes and write legislation."

I thought President Obama promised to end all of that and to get rid of all lobbyists.

Is it legal for someone other than legislators (and their staffs) to "sway votes and write legislation?"

rmwhitley
5547
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rmwhitley 09/12/11 - 03:41 pm
0
0
Associate with good, honest
Unpublished

Associate with good, honest people and the chances are you will be a good and honest person. If you are a good and honest person, hang out with obama, congress and other corruptocrats, you're doomed to be one of "them".

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