With typical political flourish Henry Waxman highlights an attitude and tactic that demonstrates precisely what is wrong with Capital Hill. On June 26 Waxman pulled a fast one. He slipped a more than 300 page amendment at 3 a.m. to the Cap and Trade bill – which passed the house by a nose. He did not rush the amendment in at 3 a.m. because of dire circumstance… he did it for the very same reason that members of Congress have been doing it (in both parties) for years. So that no one would have a chance to read, review and counter it. Subverting, without care, the process of debate and checks and balances. Subverting, intentionally, the right of the people to know what laws our representatives are attempting to pass. He did so with the express intention of ramming something that would otherwise not pass down the collective throats of the American people.
This is precisely the type of prevalent and pervasive attitude of the elected and appointed people on Capital Hill. Theirs is an attitude of disdain instead of fear. A proper politician in any good republic fears his or her constituents. They fear the ire of the people. And while they play parlor tricks on one another they do not undermine the will of the people. However, in our current government this fear is lost. Replaced with a sense of entitled immortality. Gone is the desire or even the principle of holding to the will of the people. Here is the desire to bamboozle the opposition and sack the people. Waxman is the epitome of that spirit.
Henry Waxman is not alone.
Our Congress cares very little for us. Instead they care only for their pet projects, political payouts and power plays. Especially the Democrats – now that they have a majority. However, I am entirely too jaded and cynical to believe that Republicans (specifically the RINOs in office) would not do the same thing given the chance. To play on adage – Politicians will be politicians. But that does not excuse the behavior of Henry Waxman and those others who have used similar tactics. The entire purpose of a Congress is to openly debate policy and to heed the will of the people.
Yet that is undermined by their behaviors. Sneaking amendments in at 3 a.m. for the soul purpose of preventing discourse, debate and reading before a vote is unforgivable and malicious to the intent of a Congress. Adding pet project earmarks and other non-passable bills to troop funding is just another version of this same trick, and is equally unforgivable. And until we have solid Reagan Conservatives – who rightly fear the people’s ire – in office, these practices will continue.
It is predictable that politicians attempt to block opposition… it is expected and a given. It is, however, damnable to subvert the checks and balances system that serves to preserve this Republic and address the will of the people. It is damnable to hoodwink your opponents at the cost of the people. Just as it is damnable to vote for a major piece of legislation – like Cap and Trade or Porkulus – without even having read it… much less understood it. This Congress has committed entirely too many damnable offenses to remain. And they will continue to do so until that proper sense of fear is restored… and it will be in 2010.