Thursday, February 08, 2007

When will my representative stop whining?

Sometimes I have to step back and ask myself, do I really want to keep expressing the deep irritation the people who are supposed to be representing me keep causing? At some point, the constant irritation will start to look like a personality defect on my part rather than a natural reaction to the irritating antics of guys like Pat Tiberi. So it's kind of ironic that I'm watching Pat fall into that exact sort of cranky narcissism when it comes to Democrats. He started launching broad partisan condemnations of the majority even before this session convened, then he complained because they didn't allow amendments on the bills that were part of the legislative plan his party had insisted didn't exist. Now, he's complaining about the schedule. As his buddy John Boehner allowed back in December:

Setting a calendar that satisfies 435 members is impossible, said the current majority leader, Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), who will become minority leader in January. "Between the travel issues, the members' work schedules, the family and district issues, it was a Rubik's cube," he said.

One solution, used by Boehner, was to give the House a 2.5-day work week, resulting in Congress being in session for the fewest total days since the Great Depression. Another solution is to create a 5-day work week. This is what Steny Hoyer has now done (well actually, it's a 3-full + two-half day schedule), and Pat doesn't like that solution at all:

Here we go again. Another campaign promise – broken. In the days surrounding Election Day, Democrats declared the return of five-day work weeks, implying that Congressmen didn’t work unless they were in Washington, D.C. voting.

See, the mean Democrats are going to make him stay in Washington and do work there. Oh no, wait, if you keep reading, he's not mad about that, he's mad because things like Martin Luther King Day have stopped him from putting in a five day work week. Oops, no, he didn't want to skip the two day Republican retreat to get more time in on the floor, he's just upset that the Democrats said they would make him work, and then, one week when they got their work sufficiently done, Hoyer didn't make them stay anyway. Of course, he didn't want Hoyer to make them stay, because the Dems would have just made him vote on more bills that he considers hardly worth his time. He wouldn't mind staying if the Dems would just let him pick out some legislation to debate. Except that he would, because there's nothing that can be done in five days by Democrats that couldn't be done in 2.5 days by Republicans anyway.

He then goes on to accuse Hoyer of keeping him in D.C. just to play politics.

Perhaps Mr. Tiberi is brilliant. We could talk about him voting against a minimum wage act that not only mirrors an incredibly popular ballot initiative here in Ohio, but would stop the supposed flow of minimum wage jobs from Ohio into neighboring states that conservatives like Ken Blackwell predicted would follow the implementation of minimum wage-hike here. We could ask him if, given that no loss-of-life is too much to reconsider our plans in Iraq, if there's a maximum dollar amount the U.S. should be willing to pour into the war before we start to worry about the much more important effects on growth. We could ask him if he believes cord-blood cells are an adequate substitute for the pluripotent embryonic stem cells he voted against using in federally funded research. We could ask him if he's among the 13% of Congressional Republicans who understand that global temperatures are rising due at least in part to human activity. We could try and get him to stop whimpering about entitlement reform and give us a detailed proposal for how he would modify Social Security.

We could actually engage him on a series of issues where his positions range from short-sighted to out-of-step to just plain wrong. Instead, folks like me get suckered into calling him out for his incessant incoherent petty moans about the mean old majority party, and how he doesn't like the way they do things. He's bratty like a fox.

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