Monday, October 23, 2006

turnabout and the new Congress

"We haven't had any oversight hearings in six years, except for cheerleading sessions," said Rep. Pete Stark of California, who is in line to chair the House health subcommittee should Democrats become a majority.

"Over the years," writes Associated Press writer Laurie Kellman, "majority Republicans have developed an all-purpose reply to Democrats' gripes: When they gain control, they can run Congress as they please."

Two things worth noting from where I sit West of the 101 in California:

1. There has to be a Demcratic majority before anything changes substantively. Which means getting out the vote come hell or high water to put people in the House and Senate who will initiate oversite hearings in earnest. I can imagine the Current Occupant standing before a stacked house on November 8 saying something like, "The American people have retained a Republican majority in the Congress; I have some political capital now and I intend to spend it." In which case, God help us all -- and I really mean that.

So, vote first and no champagne until the ballots are certified.

2. Turnabout is not fair play. This Congress and those immediately preceding it have been models of what not to wear in the halls of government. Should we in fact deliver a Democratic majority to Capitol Hill only to have them behave as poorly as the Republicans have behaved we will sooner than later face a different version of the same awful mess we're in.

This is not about that. This is about fixing what's broken, not leaving it broken in a different way.

This may be an opportune time to read or review Al Franken's Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them wherein he reminds us of the liberal conscience that has over the years attracted skeptical folk like me. Mr Franken doesn't have to run for the Senate if he keeps delivering funny, reasonable on our political lives.

Just a thought on the way to the polls two weeks from now . . .

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