Sunday, August 03, 2014

Sunday Morning Comin' Down

This week, two scary and seemingly unstoppable viruses dominated the Mouse Circus: Ebola and Beltway Media dumbfuckery.

Since I know nothing about the former other than I respect enormously those people who work on the front lines to keep the rest of us safe in the fight against infectious diseases, I will confine my remarks to the latter...

On the extended wake for "Meet the Press", it was Chuck!Todd!Reads!Poll!Numbers!At!You! Day, which differs from from the regular weekday fare on Chucknado's "Guess That Soup!" show in that he did not tell you what soup they were serving in the White House today..

I'm not sure if anyone has ever done a poll of how many people like having Chuck Todd excitedly rattle off random poll numbers at them, but I'm sure there are shut-ins out there for whom the sound of any human voice is comforting, and there is no more unassailably beige-neutral way of "discussing" a subject that cries out for context than to have Chucknado reel off a bunch of meaningless, snapshot statics as if he were reading the morning farm report or regional high school baseball scores.

So this is what we got, piping hot and, as always, served up with a generous side of "Both Sides Do It" (emphasis added):

We are back with our roundtable. But first, just how angry are Americans at Washington? Shall we count the ways? Our political director Chuck Todd has some exclusive new poll numbers.



More bad news for a Congress already blistered by a bad reputation. New polling from NBC News, The Wall Street Journal, and Marist, that we're revealing exclusively today shows that three out of four voters agree that Congress hasn't done much this year. This includes 50% who say they've been very unproductive. And guess what? The public's right.

Congress hasn't been productive. In fact, this Congress, with Republicans in charge of the House and Democrats in charge of the Senate is on track to be the least productive in history. 142 bills passed into law so far. That's fewer than even the last Congress at this same point. And they have set a record for inaction themselves. And it's a lot less productive than the most famous do-nothing Congress of all time, the one Harry Truman ran against in 1948.


This country can't afford another Republican Congress.


That do-nothing Congress actually pushed through more than 900 bills into law. So what does it mean for the midterm this year? Well, Americans are divided on who should control Congress. Our polling shows that in both the House and the Senate, there is a virtual tie over which party they want in charge, with Republicans holding a slight edge.

The Democrats are starting to feel like they have something to run on, or run against. Take the House Republicans and their own struggle to pass even small bills, like one to deal with the emergency at the border.


So that's not a disagreement between me and the House Republicans, that's a disagreement between the House Republicans and the House Republicans.


Now it's a sprint to November with both parties pointing the finger at the other for Washington's dysfunction, which itself was on full display this week. With the House voting to sue the president, senators not even showing up to do their job to confirm a new ambassador to Russia. And now Congress leaves town for a five-week vacation, unable to address a slew of major issues.
And here is how David Gregory frame the debate over why the United States Congress is fucked in the head:

We are back. I mentioned a flashpoint on the House floor this week, a display of anger in the House on Friday. Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi actually crossed the floor of the House chamber, considered kind of a break with protocol to confront Pennsylvania Republican Tom Marino. He accused Pelosi and Democrats of not doing anything about the immigration crisis when the Democrats controlled the House just a few years ago.

The theme was sadly representative of why this is one of the least productive congressional sessions of all time. 
It was, in short, another useless, bankrupt waste of the scant few minutes each week when the major broadcast networks are required to offer programs in the public interest.  So I leave you instead with 56 seconds of film from 75 years ago in which John Ford very efficiently lays bare the essence of modern Conservative mindset (Important contextual note:  Unbeknownst to his fellow passengers, the banker making this indignant speech has just looted his own bank and is making his escape from the territory with a valise full of other people's money.)


Cirze said...

I loved that clip.


If only everyone read your blog.

Love ya,


steeve said...

Dear god, the "center" is just so effing boring. Even if somehow midway between democrats and republicans is the objectively correct position on some issue, i would still find a way to disagree with that position just so i don't pass out from the inanity of it all.

People actually eat this gruel. "Today, our panel asserts the existence of a current event and responds to it with the words 'uh', 'whatever', and 'i don't disagree'. And coming up next, we declare that all fundamental issues are eternally unknowable but talk about them anyway."

Kathleen said...

I am requesting that you add "Chuck Toddler" to your pantheon of photo shopped ghouls. "Toddler" (attired in a Ronald Reagan one-sie) would always be sucking his thumb, bawling and sniveling that Democrats and Obama are so MEAN to Republicans. Great post as always!

Unknown said...

Attaboy, Chuck, you got that ''both parties'' pointin' the partisan finger at each other, didncha?

Robt said...

All I can tell you is that the American people are Tea Party mad a Washington.
They are so upsett with the lack of taking care of business.
Sure the House republicans employed the Haastert Rule but the public is too dumb to know it.
Republicans say they have passed plenty if legislation. It is that Wascally hairwy Weed that will not bring the Houses legislation to repeal ObamaCare. The Senate could have brought to the floor any of the 57 repeal ObamaCare bills.
But because of the socialist liberal control of the Senate it died.
All of the House republican post Offices where named. What does the people want?
Us House republicans came together bi-partisanly Tea Party and establishment republicans alike. We worked across the street with Ted Cruz.
We passed funding for Boehner's lawsuit.
Ansd those ungrateful liberals started to raise campaign money talking about "Impeachment".
Yeah republicans raised campaign money on the 4 dead in Benghazi.
So you see David, Ithat is why I came to your round table today when you asked.
So I can explain how both sides do it!

Equus said...

"In fact, this Congress, with Republicans in charge of the House and Democrats in charge of the Senate is on track to be the least productive in history."

This *shit* drives me crazy!!
By framing it like "One party controls the House and the *other* party controls the Senate" it makes it seem like what is going in the Republican controlled house anywhere *near* approximates what is going on the Senate. *AND* the mere fact that a bill *has* to pass *both* the House and the Senate reveals that if you can stop bills from every being voted on in the House that have passed the Senate and, conversely, filibustering a bill in Senate even though a majority of Senators have voted for it.

Bottom line, Republicans have proved that if you control the House and more than 40 seats in the Senate, you can effectively stop all legislative progress, and some diplomatic progess yet the media continues to frame it as "Repubs have the House, Democrats have the Senate *and* the White House so it most be *both* sides or a little more of the Democrats".

Maybe the fact that is takes that long to explain it is the problem,

The narrative has to change.

Yastreblyansky said...

I'm not seeing enough people, or anybody really, mentioning that when 74-year-old Nancy Pelosi behaved in such a threatening fashion to poor Tom Marino who only outweighs her by a hundred pounds or so he had just told an absolutely bald and vicious lie about her (claiming the House had done nothing about immigration when she was Speaker in 2009-10, although they did passed the DREAM Act for one thing).