In Case You Forgot: Congress Is Not The Hero

I share the amazement that Boehner and other GOP “moderates” are going along with the shutdown. While I have no clue about what is a wise strategy in such matters, it seems that they have realized that there is a sizeable portion in the country that wants Obamacare stopped, and that, as more people suffer from the sticker shock, the number is likely to grow. They are fighting for the good of the American people at the moment.

But let’s remember that the Congress that is now resisting raising the debt ceiling is the same Congress that voted for the spending that is  forcing the government to borrow more money. The “sequestration” did not even cut the spending; it merely slowed down the amount of spending from a plan to spend even more.

Likewise, while the President has done some horrible and hypocritical things in this fake “shutdown,” Congress has demonstrated they don’t take it seriously either.

“A House aide confirmed to ThinkProgress that the House member’s gym is open. The House gym features a swimming pool, basketball courts, paddleball courts, a sauna, a steam room and flat screen TVs. While towel service is unavailable, taxpayers remain on the hook for cleaning and maintenance, which has been performed daily throughout the shutdown. There are also costs associated with the power required to heat the pools and keep the lights on. According to the aide, the decision to keep the gym open — even while other critical government services were shelved — came directly from Speaker Boehner’s office. Meanwhile, the staff gym available to Congressional staff has been closed.”

Apparently, bringing their own towels and washing them at home is too much of an imposition, at least for the Senators and their gym which also remains open. Lindsey Graham complained it is getting “increasingly rank.”

So while Americans are worrying about getting a job, these people need their heated pool. Lovely. The fact that both Houses each get their own exclusive gym, not even open to their own staff, should be a scandal by itself.

We keep hearing that Congress is wildly unpopular. That is a misleading statement. Yes, the vast majority disproves of Congress and, yes, they are right to do so. But the whole people of the nation don’t elect all the members of Congress. People in one district vote for one candidate.

And each member of Congress, on average, has a much greater approval rating in his district, than does Congress as a whole. So while everyone complains about Congress, most people blame everyone else’s Representative, not their own.

We have a long way to go. We need a Congress that fights for a limit on debt by fighting for a limit on spending when they make the budget in the first place. And we need voters who are as skeptical of “their own” Congressman as they are of the rest of them.