Americans don’t like their elected federal officials very much. A few months ago Congress’ approval rating hit a rock-bottom 9%. While their rating has rebounded slightly, President Obama’s just hit an all-time low. Granted, the approval ratings are a pretty dumb measurement: I might dislike a given official because she is too liberal, while my neighbor might disapprove because she is not liberal enough.
Still, it’s fair to say we don’t think all is going swimmingly in Washington, DC.
I think a major contributor to our disrespect is the daily reporting of corruption in our nation’s capital. It permeates the White House. It fouls the air in the Senate chambers. It slimes the floor of the House. The Republicans smell. The Democrats stink. The reflecting pool on the National Mall has become a cesspool.
While government corruption is not a new phenomenon, it sure seems to be more widespread lately. Our president shamelessly funnels wads of cash to campaign bundlers. The administration’s leadership posts are filled with party hacks and cronies whose only qualification is the ability to extort money from corporations. Most of our congressmen have “leadership PACs” which allow them to accumulate ridiculous sums with no strings attached to their spending on lavish lifestyles and backroom political deals. Many, like Democrat Harry Reid and Republican Roy Blunt, have armies of relatives at the public trough through questionable employment, purchased political offices, or shady lobbying relationships. Our DOJ and SEC choose (or are assigned) political targets and then find (or write) obscure regulations to either punish them or take their lunch money. At the same time, proven billion-dollar thieves like Obama cash-bundler John Corzine slither past the enforcers scot-free. The IRS blatantly targets conservative political opponents, an Obama campaign contributor is assigned to investigate, and then the head honcho pleads the fifth.
Corruption was once driven by outsiders seeking favors from vulnerable DC politicians. Now the mojo is on the other side. Peter Schweitzer points out in his blockbuster book, “Extortion”:
“In Washington today corruption is driven more by extortion than by bribery . . . Our reform efforts have been almost exclusively devoted to restricting the activities of these special interests – in other words, ourselves – as opposed to the activities of the Permanent Political Class”.
Schweitzer suggests bans on contributions and solicitations involving lobbyists and government contractors, and contributions from anyone during congressional sessions. He would restrict the selling of votes (which, believe it or not, is now perfectly legal), prohibit family members from employment and lobbying, and ban leadership PACs.
I would take it a step further. We need to get our congressmen out of Washington, DC and back to their home districts to face their constituents the majority of the time. In this era of instant electronic communication, elected officials no longer need to schmooze face-to-face with their counterparts and with the concentrated purchasing power of DC lobbyists.
The Corruption Cake, frosted with seemingly endless layers of DC money, must be replaced with something healthy. Soon!
Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side
Cut the cake!
Don’t you know that I’ll do the best I can
Funkiest . . . band . . . ever! and man, have they aged well. Enjoy this great video by the Average White Band from Scotland.