Our Congress is broken!

It has been some time since it functioned as the Framers intended. Serious people no longer want to be there. Many who believe they have been elected to pass laws and hold hearings of substance are quickly cured of those ideas. The only thing that matters is how many appearances a congressman or senator has on cable news.

At one time, a successful legislator passed bills and brought home money for his state or district. They did constituent work such as making sure a veteran received his benefits or fixed a problem for a senior with her social security check. Now, a senator or congressman’s main concern is becoming a regular on Hannity for Republicans or on Morning Joe for a Democrat.

The poster boy for a congressman that is more commentator than legislator is Matt Gaetz, who represents Florida’s 1st district. Matt even has his own makeup kit and is pleased to give tips on which powder to use before appearing. My research shows that not one of the bills he has introduced has become law or passed in the House even when the Republicans were in the majority.

Similarly, the Democrats have their star do-nothing in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez representing New York’s 14th district. She too would rather be on the news than pass legislation. Ocasio-Cortez, just elected to her second term in the House, already has her eye on the Senate. She would have to go some to push another showboat out of the news eye, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

When he was a lowly Brooklyn congressman, Schumer would do anything to be in front of that news camera. And it was a running joke that his colleagues knew not to be between him and a camera if they didn’t want to be run down. Schumer, as majority leader, is now in the shoes of Lyndon Johnson, Mike Mansfield, and Robert Byrd who, when they were the majority leader for the Democrats, knew how to pass legislation.

The now-Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, was an expert when he was in the majority of passing no legislation. The only bill of policy substance to pass in Trump’s term was the tax cuts under McConnell’s stewardship. He is an expert at delaying bills being passed and ramming through judicial appointments. McConnell would never be mistaken for Bob Dole, Everitt Dirksen, or another Tennessean, Howard Baker.

Members of Congress are not political commentators though they may play one on cable news. Gaetz’s stunt of going up to Wyoming to shame Liz Cheney because she voted for Trump’s impeachment was ludicrous. How does that serve the interest of the people of Florida’s 1st district? I guess Gaetz really believes that being in office is like being on a reality television show. All flash and no substance.

Article 1 gives Congress enormous power to set the course for the country. Through delegation and abject disregard for their duties, they have abdicated that power to the executive. If Congress is not going to be serious in setting the course for the nation, then what is the point. The clown shows of Ocasio-Cortez and Gaetz are detrimental to our democracy. The idiotic jousting for imaginary wins by Schumer and McConnell breed conspiracy theories instead of true legislation.

Our democracy is slipping away. Who we elect to office matters! If you elect clowns, you get circuses. Politics is not a blood sport but a way to find acceptable compromises to govern. If we don’t start governing, we won’t have a nation to govern.

Photo by A. L. on Unsplash

Currently lives in Stuart Florida and former City Commissioner. His career has been as a commercial real estate owner, broker and manger in New York City.

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