Congress knows how to ruin any good thing

Congress knows how to ruin any good thing

October 1st, 2013 in Opinion Times

The sun begins to set against the Capitol dome as the budget battle continues on Monday, Sept. 30, 2013, in Washington.

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Tick tock. Tick tock.

Americans feel betrayed this morning, and they would have with or without a shutdown.

We sent 100 senators and 435 representatives to Washington, D.C., to govern. We did not send them there to posture, to extort, to blackmail and to fail.

But that's what they've done. They have failed us, leading this country right up to the last minute bickering and blaming, and, at best, stymieing the hard-fought beginnings of economy recovery.

Who's to blame? Every single member of Congress. Even those who some time back urged sensible compromise. Why? Because this Congress has never been able to stop gazing in the mirror -- either seeing themselves as primp stars instead of leaders or using the mirror for a rear-view look at who in the radical right might be running to the polls to get their jobs.

With deliberate falsehoods and a skit of continuing "repeal Obamacare" votes in the House, Ted Cruz and his gang have acted like frat boys prepping for an Occupy pep rally. Paul Krugman with the New York Times aptly called them "rebels without a clue."

But even the saner and more moderate Republicans are just as selfish. Mitch McConnell and Lamar Alexander have waved the far-right flag in podium talk and campaign ads, hoping to attract Libertarians and tea party supporters as the GOP divide widens.

Now, at a put-up or shut-up moment, Congress -- and the country -- finds itself a day late and dollar short. This Congress has always had the votes to pass a budget and fund the Affordable Health Care law and avoid a shutdown. But moderate GOPers, fearing the wrath of the radicals, haven't been willing to allow full votes. The Democrats, meanwhile sat by fairly quietly to let the GOP eat itself alive. The trouble is, it's chewing on the country, too

Could anything be more selfish?

Only in myopic Washington would debaters on both sides stand and say they are taking their action -- or inaction in this case -- because they have a mandate from the people.

A mandate from the people was that a majority of Americans overwhelmingly reelected Barack Obama president, despite the GOP's constant whine about the Affordable Care Act, then about two years old. And, yes, the House of Representatives (thanks to outrageous gerrymandering) had a GOP mandate that is includes 60 radical-right members, but the House GOPers still make only a majority of a subset.

So this morning, as Americans wake to our newspapers and news shows, we'll have the hangover of a do-nothing Congress, led on a disgraceful wallow by a bunch of delusional rebels without a clue.

Eve our coffee is going to leave a bad taste this morning.