Bundles of cash in his freezer

Why is it we hate Congress? Polls tell us we like it as much as oil spills and leprosy. Only 32 percent (and rising) of us approve of our president. But a mere 18 percent (and falling) of us approve of our congress. Well, why is this?

Bunch of things, my guess.

One is this ear-marking that has hit the fan lately. And the fact that when the congress guys fashioned “reforms” of ear marking, the reforms were rubbish. They will allow as much of the ear marking as in the past. Message to voters: “Stick it in your ear. We are not going to reform.” I don’t believe many Americans like behavior like that.

And I don’t believe they like ear-marking to begin with. It allows members to shove a lot of spending down our throats. Without any debate or amendments. Certain laws circulate like a Christmas tree. Each member gets to attach a decoration or two.

Problem is, the decorations pilfer billions from taxpayers pockets. For bridges to nowhere. And for duck museums and other pet projects that most Americans would disapprove of. And for buildings to be named after congress guys. Guess which congress guys.

This is not how legislative bodies are supposed to play with voters’ money. And a lot of voters scorn congresses that do so.

I don’t believe a lot of Americans like the spectacle of congress guys voting for the Iraq War. Then voting against it. Then voting against it in a concocted bill that they know will not pass. Then voting for the real thing. They want to fund the war. They want to defund.

In truth, they paw through the fog and smoke and mirrors to try to see where the public seems to be drifting. That is what determines for them what their rock solid principles are.

Too many Americans don’t like that behavior. They would prefer a congress made up of people who stick to a belief or two for more than a month. Especially when the stakes are so high.

I believe a lot of Americans hate the spendthrift ways of the congress. They know that record amounts of money have been pouring into Washington’s coffers. They know that if Congress had increased spending by, say, 6 percent a year we would have enjoyed a huge surplus a few years ago. Congress spent hundreds of billions more, of course.

Most Americans don’t live that way. They don’t like it when Congress does.

I believe most Americans dislike the congress making tax cuts, then taking them away. Then tinkering with the tax code to add another thousand pages to it.

I don’t believe most Americans like the fact that Congress has lumbered their lives with tons of regulations. While they have exempted Congress and its members from those regulations. It is a question of fairness. And of sharing in any suffering they inflict on their fellow Americans.

I think most Americans look upon some of Congress’s rules and traditions as contemptible. One example is the Senate’s rule that a single member can stop an issue from being considered. Period. And can remain anonymous.

Most Americans expect corruption. But the recent congresses have reeked of it. And when the corruption arises, the members ignore it for too long. One of theirs gets caught with bundles of cash in his freezer and his colleagues shrug. Too many Americans don’t.

Most Americans don’t like to read how much money and favors congress guys accept from special interests. And they hate to read, then, how often the same pols fashion laws that reward those special interests for their contributions.

I suspect Americans grow weary of the petty viciousness of congress guys. And the posturing. And the exaggeration, the hyperbole. The pols find a tiny scrap of information and rush to find the cameras. “This proves conclusively that this is one of the most inept, most corrupt, most wayward administrations in the long history of this country.”

In other words, many Americans recognize bull tweety when they hear it. And Congress is wallpapered with it.

I don’t believe many Americans appreciate the slipperyness of congress guys. When the war is going well, why they’re for it. When ten soldiers get killed, why, they despise it. “Two-faced” doesn’t begin to cover the number of faces some of the pols show us.

Truth, painful truth, is usually the basis for jokes. Like the one about the girl who writes to Ann Landers about the abominable family of her fiance. She cites the back-alley abortionist, the embezzler, the prostitute, the child molester, the pimp, the smuggler/gambler, the thug who’s in jail for the 10th time. She is not worried about these future relatives. She asks Ann how she will ever be able to face her parents when they discover the sordid fact that her fiance is - oh my God - a congressman.

Evidently, to lots of Americans this ain’t a joke.

From Tom... as in Morgan.

For more columns and for Tom’s radio shows (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.

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