Congress Has Become an Institution of the Useless
By Doug Patton
April 12, 2010
President John Adams once said, "I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is a disgrace, two are a law firm, and three or more become a Congress." With the approval rating of the current congressional gaggle hovering somewhere in the single digits, one has to ask: Can't we do better than this for $174,000 a year and the best benefits package in America?
I do not contend that all members of Congress are useless. I'm not even prepared to stipulate that all congressional Democrats are useless (although no names in the current body come to mind at the moment). There are a few good people in the House and a few more in the Senate. I know because I have worked for some of them.
However, it takes one's breath away to see the blatant disregard so many of our senators and representatives have for the very Constitution they have sworn to defend. Take, for example, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, who made the following statement recently concerning the health care bill: "I love these members [of Congress], they get up and say, 'Read the bill!' What good is reading the bill if it’s a thousand pages long and you don't have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?"
This man is a lifelong lawyer and a 22-term Democrat. Do you think he cares about what is constitutional and what is not? (Oh, and by the way, congressman, this bill was not a thousand pages; it was twenty-four hundred pages.)
Last fall, when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked by a CNSNews.com reporter to cite the provisions in the Constitution granting Congress the authority to pass a health care bill, she answered with an incredulous, "Are you kidding?"
Are you, Madame Speaker?
Montana Senator Max Baucus, one of the authors of this monstrosity, said that the legislation would address the "maldistribution of income in America."
Remember Joe the Plumber?
President Obama has mocked the concerns of congressional Republicans about many provisions in the bill. At the White House dog-and-pony show dressed up to look like a health care summit, the president informed Senator John McCain, "The campaign is over, John."
You could have fooled me, Mr. President. You've been doing nothing else since taking office.
When House Minority Whip Eric Cantor confronted Obama at that same "summit" by reading from the massive piece of legislation (which looked like four New York City phone books piled on top of each other), the president responded with this: "You know, when we do props like this, and you stack it up, and you repeat 'twenty-four hundred pages,' etcetera, you know, the truth of the matter is that health care is very complicated. And we can try to pretend that it's not, but it is…These are the kind of political things that we do that prevent us from having a conversation."
As if he ever wanted to have one.
Now comes news that Illinois Congressman Phil Hare has finally let the cat completely out of the bag by revealing the constitutional ignorance of almost every Democrat and far too many Republicans. Hare was confronted by a concerned citizen with a video camera. The man asked what part of the Constitution gave him and the Congress the authority to pass these health care mandates, to which the congressman replied, "I don't worry about the Constitution on this…What I care more about, I care more about people dying every day who don't have health care."
When pressed, Hare continued, "I believe it says we have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." When another bystander pointed out that those words are to be found not in the Constitution but rather in the Declaration of Independence, Hare replied, "Doesn't matter to me. Either one."
Now that their socialist health care bill has passed, these people have no compunction about admitting their true beliefs. With just a handful of exceptions, Congress has become an institution of useless men and women.
Doug Patton describes himself as a recovering political speechwriter who agrees with himself more often than not. His weekly columns are syndicated by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Readers are encouraged to email him at email@example.com/or to follow him on Twitter at @Doug_Patton.