Posts Tagged ‘congress’

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WHERE HAVE ALL THE STATESMEN GONE?

July 1, 2011

“So are you going to do a ‘Rants and Observations’ post on the Anthony Weiner scandal?”

“I’m still too pissed off about it to write anything, but a post will be coming soon. I want to look at the larger picture, not just this one incident.”

“The larger picture?”

“Yeah. We have very few true statesmen left in congress. Most of these guys now act like spoiled rock stars.”

As I left my friend Geoff’s home, I thought about all the scandals that have plagued our government, keeping our elected officials from doing the work we sent them to do.

When I started digging, I found that no administration is free of scandals, and in the last 30 years, two administrations – Ronald Reagan’s and George W. Bush’s – were at the top of the list with Clinton’s coming in third. Obviously, one-term administrations had fewer, but as you go back before Reagan, you’ll find that even two-term (and three-term) administrations had far fewer scandals than we have today.

So this begs the question: Why? 

The answer?

Money.

In much the same way rock stars have their “groupies,” so do politicians.  Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Politicians have been playing to the cameras for decades and, if you look at the number of congressional members that are multi-millionaires, you begin to understand how these scandals originate.

As we continue down the path of larger and larger monetary contributions to campaigns with a reluctance to reveal sources and amounts, this issue will only get worse. Add to that the Supreme Court ruling that large (and often multi-national) corporations can now donate unlimited funds to campaigns as long as they are not directly tied to them, and you now have politicians working primarily on behalf of these constituents. If their efforts are successful, they are rewarded by being well-funded and most often re-elected time and again, thus exposing themselves to even more money and giving them even more power, all of which are aphrodisiacs for some women. Good looks, personality and character have nothing to do with this “attraction.” As a politician’s career continues to rise (no pun intended), so does his list of groupies. If he is younger than most of his peers, and he is outspoken enough to draw even more attention to himself, his groupie list grows exponentially.

It does not appear that the reverse is true. We seldom, if ever, hear of sexual scandals involving congressional women.

Sadly, money and power seem to be the over-arching motivator once our officials are elected to office. While their intentions may be sincere at the outset of their initial campaign, they learn very quickly, if elected, that the game is not played that way on the inside. From the time they take office, they are fundraising for their next election. In addition, they are also fundraising for others and expected to raise funds for their party as well. They must meet certain monetary goals on a regular basis. If they fall short, they will not get a seat on this or that committee or be invited to certain functions. And in the next election, they may not have the support of their party leaders. Add to this the reciprocation that must take place to the people who put them in office (large donors taking priority) by voting on their behalf and you realize the pressure is always on.

It is not surprising that under this pressure, some politicians often resort to un-statesmen like conduct (to say the least) to relieve their “stress.” This does not justify their actions by any means. It simply explains them for those of us who do not live that lifestyle. And as much as we’d like to say we would never do these things if we were in their situations, we can’t.

But we can be thankful that in the 1990’s, Bill Clinton didn’t have the ability to “tweet.” 🙂

Whew. You dodged a bullet there, didn’t you Bill?

Sincerely,

www.MichaelKontras.com

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FROM BILL TO LAW

October 1, 2009

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I’m starting to understand the frustration that our President must feel when he hears some of the uneducated, and even stupid comments coming from congressional members on healthcare. And if you believe some of the punditry, you would think the healthcare bill will be law next week. It’s understandable how lay-persons can be swayed to believe some of this gibberish.

As I watch all of the back and forth, it occurs to me that very few understand how a bill becomes law. Before anyone can discuss the very complicated issue of healthcare and the needed changes, one must first know the process. It’s exhaustive, especially when there is so much political opposition to changing the way we currently distribute healthcare in this country.

As of today, October 1st, we are far away from a healthcare bill. When you hear people say the bill includes this and doesn’t include that, they’re wrong. There is no single bill – only drafts of committee bills.

Here’s how a final healthcare bill (or any bill) moves through congress, step by step. First: all the steps.

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There are five committees looking at healthcare reform. Three in the House and two in the Senate. This is where we are right now. (Please note: I found these charts early in September. The deadline set by Sen. Baucus came and went, and the current draft did not include the co-ops seen on the chart.)

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The 23-member Baucus Committee ran a couple of what I’ll call “trial” votes earlier this week to “take a pulse” on the public option within his committee. The first vote resulted in an 8-15 vote against the draft. Five Democrats voted against it. An amendment was added, “softening” the public option, and another vote was taken. This time, it was 10-13 against. The draft gained two more Democrats. No Republicans voted for either draft.

None of these preliminary votes mean anything. We are still four big steps away from a bill reaching the President’s desk.

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So take a deep breath, fans of the public option. As I said in Strategy Over Blather, we will prevail.

Sincerely,

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www.MichaelKontras.com

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JUST GET IT OVER WITH

September 12, 2009

 

JustGetItOverWithLOGO

Is the Republican Party trying to commit suicide?

There is no other way to explain what most of us watched during and after the President’s speech on healthcare to a joint session of congress and the American people.

The “You Lie” outburst of Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) was, of course, deplorable.

Re. Joe Wilson - YOU LIE

Any publically elected official who can’t show respect for the office of the President of the United States does not deserve to be sitting in that chamber.

It's A lie - Reaction Shot

Yes, he apologized. But let’s face it, there’s no real way to apologize for being classless. His apology only came after party leaders told him to man-up. I realize a political party can’t be held responsible for every member’s actions, but they can make sure he doesn’t receive any support in the next election. They also could have denounced his actions in the rebuttal. Whoops. Never mind. That was pre-taped. (Another stupid move.)

Speaking of the rebuttal: why on earth would you pick Rep. Charles – call me “Lord” – Boustany (R-LA)?

Boustany

Obviously, the party didn’t research him any better than McCain researched Palin.

A simple Google search would have yielded enough negative information to give most leaders pause.

Boustany-Google

Boustany actually tried to buy the title “Lord” from a couple of conmen in EnglandWhen he realized he got scammed, instead of just letting it go so it wouldn’t become public, he sued them! He has hauled in $1.25M from Health and Insurance Industry. He was a “Birther.” He’s been sued 8 times for malpractice. He co-sponsored the end-of-life consultation portion of the current bill in the house (HR 3200), saying that it was a good idea – then backed-off when things got heated. Surely, the Republicans could have found someone with less baggage.

Let’s don’t leave Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) out. He could be seen texting nearly every time the camera went to him.

Rep. Eric Cantor - Twittering

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post, wrote an article highlighting the events that took place on the floor while the President was speaking.

Add the “Tea Parties,” the “Birther” Movement, the “Deather” Movement, the “Socialist Indoctrination” of our children, the ministers that believe (“according to the Bible” no less) that President Obama should die, and the staged town hall meetings on healthcare, to the above events, and you have a party that is not only shrinking, but is on a path to self-destruction.

Why prolong the agony?

Take the pills, lie down, and get it over with.

Sincerely,

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www.MichaelKontras.com