Pick Wayne's Brain

April 26, 2008

Congress Critter On My Corner

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Wayne A. Schneider @ 12:21 PM

Today, as part of his ongoing “Congress On Your Corner” program, my US Representative, John Hall (D, NY-19), was at our local post office to listen to constituent views and help people who need the help of their Congressman. I was willing to wait until he had helped all of the people who actually needed their congressman’s help, but one of the people helping him out insisted that I get in line to speak to him. So I did. And I have to say I was thoroughly dissatisfied with his responses.

I reminded him that when I met him two years ago, I told him that the two most important things to me were ending the war in Iraq, and holding the president and vice president accountable for their many violations of the constitution. And while I appreciate all that he has done, I was disappointed that he and his fellow Democrats have failed to do those two things. His reply, to both of these issues, was, essentially, that the Democrats didn’t have enough votes. That’s a weak excuse. I told him that that didn’t mean they couldn’t try, but they acquiesced on virtually everything when it came to the war. He corrected me and pointed out that the president had, at one point, wanted money for nuclear weapons development (bunker buster bombs?) and that they had managed to strip that out of the bill completely. It is no longer being considered. While that’s all well and good, that hardly required courage. It was a no-brainer (which would seem to explain why the president thought it was a good idea – he is an acerebralist, and has no brain), and a lot of people in Congress would be out looking for work next year if they did pass it. He also started going into a spiel about all the things they have done, and they are good things, and some of them even benefitted our local area. But that’s not the point. On the two most important issues, the two issues that are the primary reasons why the people threw the Republicans out of power and installed the Democrats, they were missing in action. Not only do Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid still allow votes to come to the floor that contain any funding at all for the war in Iraq, but they have both decided not to bother with impeaching the president or vice president at all. It is this very Do-Nothing-And-Hope-He-Doesn’t-Start-Another-War style of Constitutional Accountability that has failed the American people.

Congressman Hall’s excuse that they didn’t have the votes is just a way of shifting blame for their inaction away from themselves and onto the American people – we didn’t send enough of them to DC, so they couldn’t do anything. Well, Mr. Hall, I call bullshit on you. I might be able to accept that if the Democrats tried harder, but they refused to. The Democrats should have introduced bills every week to end the war and impeach the president and vice president. They should have forced every Republican in Congress to stand up and say why they think it’s okay for a president to issue signing statements along with the bills he signs into law that say he won’t obey the law he just signed; why it’s okay to constantly lie to the American people about the threats we face just so he can have his own way; why it’s okay to continue to wage a war at enormous cost to us in blood and treasure that was started on false pretenses, and has no justification for continuing to be waged today; and why the interests of corporations should supercede the interests of the people. But they wouldn’t. Because they didn’t have enough votes to override a certain presidential veto. So they didn’t try.

This is not what I would call “supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States.” I would, in fact, consider what the Democrats have been doing to be “aiding and abetting those who would harm it.” I am very dissatisfied with the job the Democrats have done and said as much. I told Mr. Hall that unless he gets the nomination of another party, such as the Working For Families Party, I would not vote for him. And, Mr. Hall? I mean that.


  1. You have every right to be angry with your Congressman. But don’t vote in a Republican in the Fall. We need more Democrats in Congress, not less. I’m not always pleased with my Congressman Tim Holden. The alternative would be a Republican and coming from “Stupidistan” that Republican would be a the worst of the worst. So, I continue to support Tim Holden. He has come through on some issues, such as, stem cell research.

    Comment by Cats r Flyfishn — April 27, 2008 @ 9:01 AM

  2. I’ll be heading up to the Catskills the last weekend in May. If you and Jane want to meet up, send me an email. Maybe we can get together for coffee and politics. 🙂

    Comment by Cats r Flyfishn — April 27, 2008 @ 9:03 AM

  3. Cats,

    With all due respect, I have tried to warn people about this trap of believing that your only two choices are between the Democratic and Republican candidates. I realize that they have been runing for president for well over a year now, but November is still six months away. Other third party candidates could emerge.

    We have other political parties active in New York. We have a Conservative Party that sometimes fields candidates the Republicans won’t (I won’t vote for them, either), and a Liberal Party that nominates independent of the Democrats. We also have a Working For Families Party that has been known to nominate both Democrats and Republicans. We also have a Libertarian Party that nominates people from other planets, but they’re nice people.

    Cats, it is the Democrats and the Republicans that want you to think of them as your only two choices, which is why they continue to dominate the political landscape. As Americans, we have become to entrenched in bi-lateral thinking, where there are always two and only two choices – you’re totally for it or you’re totally against it. This is because we have allowed our government officials to rig the game so that they are our only choices. And, while I can prove nothing of the sort, I would not be surprised if they have made clear to the media that they go along with this or they lose access to people who could make their lives a lot easier if they cooperate. And that is why you hear so little about third party candidates who are not multi-millionaires able to tell the parties where to stick it, and I also believe that is why good, decent people like Dennis Kucinich get tossed aside from the first day they annouce they are running. I believe that it was the Democratic Party who told the media who had a chance and who didn’t, but it wasn’t because of who was the best candidate (meaning the best ideas), but who they felt could win in November. In my mind, this is a corruption of the process because they are putting their own party’s interests (controlling the White house) above what’s in the best interests of the country. They choose the candidate that they think they can figure out how to win with (without promising things they don’t want to deliver, like universal healthcare that doesn’t bankrupt Americans), not who is the best choice for the people. This is why we don’t get the people we want, because the people we want won’t go along with the party leadership (and maintain the corrupt system), so they get pushed aside as “fringe candidates” right from the start.

    We keep believeing that we have to choose freom among only two because they have tried so very hard to limit our choices to just those two. That’s why they make it so hard for third party candidates to get in and possibly (quite probably in some cases) steal their seats away from them. So they change the rules to discourage people from running for office. And both major parties are guilty of this kind of corruption. That is why we need other choices, but we have to teach people that they can vote for whomever they want, not just who the two major parties parade in front of them.

    We also have to do away with the “winner-take-all” system of Electoral Vote distribution (it is not in the constitution that way, so they don’t have to do it), while working toward abolishing the Electoral College altogether in favor of straight popular vote. It is “winner-take-all” that makes it hard for third parties to emerge.

    Comment by Wayne A. Schneider — April 27, 2008 @ 12:13 PM

  4. BTW, I find it hard to believe that I will EVER vote for a Republican, given the current platform and philosophy of today’s Republican Party. Liberals are no longer welcome in that party, as they once were.

    Comment by Wayne A. Schneider — April 27, 2008 @ 12:14 PM

  5. Wayne,

    Thanks for your post. I have spoken out over the past two years about this very issue and the reward for that was to be dropped from Hall’s media distribution list, to be ignored when asking for a meeting with the Congressman and lambasted by those Democrats who think any Democrat is better than no Democrat. I call that the “politics of apology” and it rewards bad behavior in those we elect.

    So, keep up the good work, Wayne.


    Comment by Jeff Green — April 29, 2008 @ 9:48 AM

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