I just love the talking head media. They’re on it now! Anti-incumbency fever sweeping the nation! The common reportage; “It’s because so and so voted for such and such.” Perhaps true, but deeper than that. It may not be so much a case of a particular individual. It may be more about what Congress has made itself into and the perceptions associated with that evolution.
Average Americans are changing their definition of corruption, viewing it more broadly and in a political sense; Fannie and Freddy, stimulus, millions to airports no one uses, bridges to nowhere, prosecution of Navy Seals on questionable testimony, debt, broken promises; the list goes on. The list gets more attention from the general public than ever before with corruption as the context and the guiding point of consideration. The assumption of corruption in combination with the arrogance demonstrated by Congressional leadership as they comfortably engaged in name calling and devaluation of voter’s opinions and values is a toxic mix.
Public displeasure with legislation passed over significant public opposition has not faded in the case of health care. Congress, in the minds of many appears to be well on their way to creating a semi-permanent ruling class”, cemented by the ongoing centralization of critical American industries and capital sources and supported by a burgeoning bureaucracy. It looks like a mad rush to get beyond the point where it can be easily dissembled.
Names change, D’s and the R’s change but the sins appear to be fairly consistent. On any given day we find Congressman X saying or doing the exact same thing that he so vehemently castigated in others, as long as they’re from the other party. It flip-flops if the reins of power change hands. It’s the same rhetoric, change being nothing more than different players and the direction of the incoming fire. The lack of credibility associated with such rhetoric is perhaps the most transparent thing going on in Congress.
Common sense is too often trumped by ideology, both sides. The case of legislators not reading major pieces of legislation was an inescapable symptom, details and public opinion be damned we’ve got an agenda to plug here. Members of Congress slide on ethics issues if their party is in power, heaven help you if you’re on the other side.
Symptoms all! The base line is that only Congress can reform Congress. There is no hint of that occurring in the present; reform and transparency are long on rhetoric, short on results. Only Congress can truly hold Congress accountable and focused. Reform is not in Congress’s self interest, too many entrenched pieces of turf and too much power in one place.
Therein lies the basic frustration driving the “anti-incumbency” trend, the most fundamental question; how do you get a cultural change in Congress, with the same folks driving the bus?
Answer; you don’t!