Saturday, February 14, 2009

Congress Wants 'Accountability' From Talk Radio

It all began with surprising brilliance over two hundred years ago. Some of the most educated men in the world gathered in Philadelphia in an enterprise that ended in them laying down the few pages of laws that would be the foundation of a new kind of government. The American colonists bought more books than all of the readers in England. Cases of books continually crossed the ocean to provide these men with education in political theory and history that coalesced into the founding document of the United States. It was an extraordinary break with Europe’s dynastic past that set out protections the ordinary citizen would be guaranteed from the government. It was based on respect for each person’s freedom of action and association.
The Constitution written by these men established a two chambered legislative body that administered much of America’s government. As time passed the legislative branch ceded more and more power to the executive branch. Congress remains powerful and controls vast sums of money and legislates in more and more areas that were once left to individual freedom.
Congress has generally been respected. Many of our leaders have served there. James Monroe, Richard Henry Lee, John Quincy Adams, Davy Crockett, Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, Stephan Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Joseph Pulitzer, Horace Greely, William Randolph Hearst, Huey Long, JFK, Richard Nixon, LBJ, Edward W. Brooke III, Hubert Humphrey, Al Gore, John Kerry, Barack Obama, twenty-four men who became president and many, many others.
The House of Representatives and the Senate are two institutions that have helped shape America and keep us free. But now not so much. It is disgraceful to see the present members of congress going to great lengths to hide their actions from the public. But I am especially saddened that they would vote on a gigantic, expensive and intrusive piece of legislation without a single one of them having read the whole thing. It is as if their great goal is to destroy representative government in America. If, by chance, that is not the conscious goal then their cavalier and thoughtless behavior has caused a dangerous leap in that direction, regardless. Each of them took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. But if they do not read the laws they are voting on, how can they know if they are doing their sworn duty? They have proven that not a one of them deserves to hold their office since they are unwilling to take its duties seriously.
They quit answering their telephones and do not read their mail because they do not want to hear what their constituents have to say. But at the same time they are at the beck and call of any lobbyist who will buy them a meal. The ethical lapses they tolerate from each other are disgusting. My senator, Diane Feinstein, while chairperson and ranking member of the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee oversaw the awarding of government contracts to her husband worth billions. Senator Debbie Stabenow has demanded accountability from talk radio. If her plan for removing the market place of ideas from radio is successful her husband, who is deeply involved in liberal talk radio, will strike it rich. Where is the senate ethics committee while these sell outs plunder the government from within? If Senator Debbie wants accountability let her start with herself. Let her actually read the legislation she votes on. Let her recuse herself from voting and speaking on senate business that will bring her and her family windfall profits. Let her support an active and robust ethics committee that will bring long gone accountability back to the senate.
I am especially ashamed and angry that these men and women who hold positions of trust feel no shame for their irresponsible behavior. They work three days a week for a few hours and will not make the time to do the most basic of their duties. Rather than just reading the legislation they presume to pass judgment on they are hanging out with lobbyists and giggling in the hallways about catching planes to Italy. After this insult to the nation not a one of them deserves reelection.

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