The Trouble With Congress

Both Digby and Glenn Greenwald beat me to the punch, but Dana Milbank was out Wednesday in The Washington Post with a little piece on Nancy Pelosi’s performance at a recent lunch with reporters in D.C. that shows clearly why, as David Byrne put it so well, “this is not my beautiful wife!”

Does anyone remember the heady afterglow of the 2006 midterm elections, when every single Republican incumbent was routed and the American electorate stuck its collective purple thumb in George W. Bush’s eye?

After six interminable years of deceit and incompetence — not to mention criminality — at the highest levels of government, the people indicated a yen for change. And though the Madame Speaker had preemptively taken the idea of impeachment off the table, some believed Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress would at least stanch the flow of blood from the gaping wounds in our body politic.

Alas, P.T. Barnum knew the lay of this land.

Here we have the most powerful woman ever in the federal government, a pro-family grandmother birthed from a great California liberal political machine, who rose to prominence on the strength of her fearless progressive rhetoric, against torrents of ridicule and vilification from god-fearing, prurient scolds across the aisle and across the country, to whom she is the antithesis of all that is good, and right, and holy about America — and it’s activists and advocates for the very ideas she once championed who wipe the beaming smile from her face at a D.C. luncheon.

Ms. Pelosi is annoyed at advocates who’d like to see the Democratic party make good on its promises to end the war in Iraq, who question Congress’ willingness to fund that failed abomination of foreign policy in perpetuity.

She is bothered by activists who cling to the torn and frayed remnants of their First Amendment rights in protest of Congress’ capitulation to administration demands for unchecked powers of surveillance over American citizens, who blanch at the idea of retroactive immunity for wealthy corporations that illegally abetted the government’s own abrogation of the laws of our land in spying on American citizens.

I’m afraid Ms. Pelosi drank the Kool-Aid. She’s now an entrenched member of the Beltway Elite. She believes she must act in concert with all the other Serious people who live and work there.

She is one of the Leaders, whose job it is to make Responsible Decisions about things that activists and advocates who build Buddhas on the sidewalk or believe in the literal language of the U.S. Constitution cannot possibly understand.

She has become a Decider.

Meanwhile, activists and advocates who happen to be registered lobbyists, who are handsomely compensated by corporations that make generous contributions to the campaigns and political action committees of Serious Responsible Leaders like Ms. Pelosi, well, they don’t upset her quite so much, or cause her megawatt smile to dim.


  1. “Open” Mike - October 12, 2007 @ 12:26 am

    To quote another Talking heads line, “Same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was”

  2. Chevalisa - October 12, 2007 @ 1:15 am

    Have you ever thought about writing a book, brother?



  3. jeannie b. bright - October 12, 2007 @ 7:39 am

    As “the/my” stomach churns. I am SO DAMN disappointed….again.

    I am asking the same ? as Cheva, how bout a book brother, this sister would buy it.

  4. lonbud - October 15, 2007 @ 7:50 am

    Interesting update to the retroactive immunity for telecoms portion of this story, as Congress moves closer this week to action on purporting to make warrantless surveillance legal:

    The Bush government was spying on American citizens in violation of FISA a full six months before 9/11, according to Joseph Nacchio, former chairman of Qwest Communications, who says his company was punished by the Bush administration for failing to cooperate.

    In addition, AT&T apparently budgeted for and began building in-house spying facilities for the NSA within days of Bush’s inauguration.

    These revelations ought to be major problems for the Bush administration on at least two fronts: they give the lie to the fiction that 9/11 somehow changed everything, and they indicate our President has been engaged in criminal activity from the outset of his administration.

    It’s no wonder they are pushing so hard now for this retroactive immunity provision. If Congress goes along with it, well, who loves ya, baby?

    Cheva and Jeannie, thanks for the props, sisters. Know any literary agents or editors you can introduce a brother to?

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