Monday, 16 October 2006
Vote Out the Entire Congress
Crabby Old Lady hasn’t been around much lately, but never fear - she hasn’t mellowed. She’s just been taking a break and saving up some complaints for a big, fat go at it all at once.
Politics has been on Crabby’s mind. National politics. Washington politics. It’s hard to avoid these days. Crabby has been in a serious snit about the current U.S. regime ever since, as one of his first acts after the 2000 inauguration, the president backed off the Kyoto Protocol. There is hardly a move Mr. Bush has made in the ensuing six years that has not been downhill for American citizens who are not wealthy – which is 99 percent of the population.
So it’s difficult for Crabby to understand why, when she read last Friday of Mr. Bush’s lavish praise, the previous evening, for House speaker Dennis Hastert, that it felt like a final straw. After all, it’s not like the president had sent another 2700 young people to die in Iraq (yet).
Perhaps it was one too many emperor’s-new-clothes moments; one time too many of stating that black is white. Here is what is known about Hastert’s involvement in the Foley affair:
- When it was revealed that Florida Rep. Mark Foley, for several years, had sent sexually provocative emails and instant messages to young Congressional pages, he resigned his House seat.
- Former Foley aide Kirk Fordham says that between 2001 and 2003, he discussed Foley’s sexually explicit emails with Mr. Hastert’s chief of staff, Scott Palmer.
- Mr. Palmer has denied Fordham’s claim.
- Mr. Hastert has publicly asserted that his aides did not learn of Foley’s behavior until the fall of 2005.
In a press conference last week, Mr. Hastert cagily deflected any finger pointing in his direction by stating that “the buck stops here.” He would deal, he said, with any of his aides found to be involved in a cover-up of Foley’s predator activities. And the press, as is its habit with cagey politicians, thereafter has given Rep. Hastert a pass in questioning his personal knowledge of Foley’s behavior.
Given the high visibility of sexual abuse and predator crimes in the U.S., Crabby Old Lady finds it less than credible that Hastert’s aides did not immediately tell him of the page’s accusations against Rep. Foley – sometime between 2001 and 2003. And even if his aides did not learn of the accusations until the fall of 2005, what the hell, Crabby wants to know, has been going on in the intervening year if not a cover-up?
These days, 16 and 17-year-olds are not sexual naifs and none were sexually harmed. So although Rep. Foley was grotesquely out of line, it is not so much his emails that spark Crabby’s ire (which, in any case, were reported by a boy who received Foley’s email, a boy who understood their inappropriate nature). It is the lying and the protection of their own, by top leaders of our country.
But that is just business as usual for this Congress and the two previous Republican-controlled Congresses under the Bush regime.
These are the men and women who cravenly gave us a prescription drug bill written by the pharmaceutical companies themselves that has enriched those corporations in obscene measure. The same Congress that rubber-stamped a pre-emptive war against a country that never harmed ours. Elected leaders who have allowed Halliburton et al (with no-bid contracts) in that war to “lose” billions of dollars into their own pockets. All without a peep from those officials ostensibly elected to represent Crabby and you.
While all that has been happening, the rich have been given tax cuts that would shame King Midas as the number of ordinary Americans unable to afford health coverage has increased to more than 15 percent of the population. Most of those are children who, it appears, Congress believes are more in danger from the sexy emails of one representative than from not having to access to healthcare.
And just within the past month, this Congress passed new legislation that makes it possible for the president of the United States, on no more than personal whim, to declare anyone – foreign nationals and U.S. citizens alike - an enemy non-combatant, have him or her tortured and “disappeared” without recourse.
In Crabby’s living memory – and she’s been a political junkie for all her 65 years - there has never been a more craven, corrupt and dishonorable, do-nothing Congress. The Foley scandal - as disgusting as he and his Congressional ass-covering cohorts are - is no more than a pimple on its foggy bottom compared to the rest of their transgressions.
But, there is a possible remedy, just three weeks away. The bi-annual Congressional elections are at hand and every one of the 435 representative seats and about a third of the Senate are up for grabs. As Crabby suggested last January, if voters work in concert, we can jettison the entire Congress – or enough to send a message.
Elders vote in far larger numbers than other age groups and if we can tear ourselves away from our computers on 7 November, Crabby Old Lady believes we can go a long way toward swinging the election in a better direction than it might otherwise go. Here’s what Crabby has in mind:
- Ignore all television commercials and print ads. They don’t say anything informative or useful about candidates and the issues anyway.
- Find out who the incumbent running in your district is and vote against him or her. It doesn’t matter if the other candidate is a Republican or a Democrat. They are all the same these days. (Remember the corruption voters rebelled against when they took the Congressional majority away from the Democrats in 1994.)
- If no incumbent is running in your district, do your best to choose the candidate who comes closest to speaking with honesty, will be accountable for his/her actions and has an idea or two that can move the country forward.
That last won’t be easy, as campaigns are deliberately designed to say as little as possible about what the candidates stand for – although Crabby has come to believe that all politicians stand for nothing but preservation of their own power and money-grubbing. But do the best you can.
What a powerful statement this could be: even if it can be accomplished in only a few states, the media will notice and they will report it – that voters are so fed up with the Washington regime they are willing to vote for anyone other than incumbents.
Crabby believes that if enough incumbents are defeated, the new members of Congress will have little choice but to do at least something that is not a rubber stamp of President Bush's inept and irresponsible regime and that should at least slow the decline we are experiencing on every important issue the country faces.
Plus, the newly elected will be on notice that if they do not do something serious about health coverage for everyone, the war in Iraq, taxes, the deficit, immigration policy, foreign policy, the middle-class economy and all the rest of the serious issues our country faces, they’ll be voted out next time, in 2008.