While I certainly understand that for many it’s just talk for the sake of providing soundbites and appealing to casually attentive voters in home districts, on Capitol Hill, isn’t bipartisanship something most election officials claim to strive for? Heck, for the better part of two years now, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama and Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer and seemingly everyone else on the left has been complaining to anyone who will listen that the Republicans just aren’t interested in bipartisanship at all.
Well, in a truly bipartisan fashion, 39 House Democrats sided with a unified Republican front in voting against adjournment after House Minority Leader John Boehner gave a phenomenal speech from the House floor. This came after a number of House Democrats sided with a unified Republican front in arguing that the Democratic Party majority extend the current tax rates by extending the Bush tax cuts.
“It is irresponsible for them to leave town without giving us a fair up or down vote,” said Boehner. “There’s a bipartisan majority who want to extend all of the current tax rates. If Democrat leaders leave town without stopping these tax increases, they’re turning their backs on the American people … The idea that we are going to leave here and not extend all of the current tax rates to end the uncertainty is an irresponsibility on the part of this Congress. And how any member can vote to adjourn and punt this into a lame duck session I think is putting your election above the needs of your constituents.”
Instead of celebrating the bipartisanship, however, the Democratic Party leadership ignored its obligations with regard to powers and authority with which Congress is actually vested by the Constitution, and instead continued a pattern of delay, obfuscation and overreach by addressing a number of ancillary matters. Through our founding documents, in our constitutional representative republic the federal government is provided with very limited and specific authority. And yet Nancy Pelosi’s Congress decided to punt its constitutional obligations while injecting itself into realms beyond the scope of the authority granted in our Constitution.
The Constitution, for example, specifically charges Congress with the passage of a budget for the federal government. This year, the Democrats refused to pass one because the astronomically out-of-touch numbers and policies exposed in the process of doing so would inevitably adversely affect the Democratic Party during an election year.
The Constitution also specifically grants Congress the plenary power to tax. It’s right there in Article I, Section 8. And yet, faced with the reality that January 1, 2011 could bring with it the largest tax increases in American history with the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, the Democrats chose to adjourn Congress in order to (a) save face with a dwindling base that would be displeased with any attempt to not soak the so-called “rich,” and (b) take more time to personally smear Republican challengers in doomed elections from coast to coast because the policies espoused by the Democratic Party just aren’t anything to run on.
And yet, despite being specifically vested by the United States Constitution with an obligation to pass a budget and the plenary power to levy taxes, and instead of taking time to investigate glaringly egregious ethics violations by folks like Charlie Rangel–who, by the way, sounds like an emphysemic muppet–and Maxine Waters, in the alternative the Democrats chose to address a number of issues which fall outside the purview of congressional authority.
Just yesterday, for example, Congress took the time to recognize the Washington Stealth as champions of the National Lacrosse League. I’m looking and looking and looking through those 17 enumerated powers in Article I, Section 8 and, by golly, I just cannot seem to find the one which justifies congratulatory resolutions. Damn. My soon-to-be World Series Champion Philadelphia Phillies are out of luck.
Also taken care of yesterday, by the way, was the passage of legislation which requires satellite and cable television providers to ensure that television commercials are kept at the same volume as the programming which they break into. I have three problems with this one:
First, the new law would not go into effect until after the November 2 election, which means that despite the hurried congressional action yesterday, we’re still going to have to endure super-loud, merciless and tasteless attack ads by embittered Democrats completely devoid of legislative accomplishments to run on.
Second, I can’t seem to find anything about regulation of television commercial volume, either, in Article I, Section 8.
And, third … pardon the change in volume, but IS THIS REALLY MORE IMPORTANT THAN EXTENDING THE BUSH TAX CUTS?!?
And then, of course, there’s the matter of taking the time to arrange and endure the testimony of Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert a week ago.
All in all, we already know that the legislative priorities of this Congress are all sorts of out of whack. What is perhaps most maddening and best able to be translated for the sake of those voters who only casually pay attention to the process, however, is that the Democratic Party leadership has abdicated responsibility for that which they are actually charged by the Constitution, and instead have unconstitutionally interfered in areas of American life which lie outside of the authority granted to the federal government.
In other words, not only are they not addressing what needs to be addressed, they simply are not even permitted to do the things which they do in order to waste time.