I first want to apologize for being incommunicado for the last five days. My spouse and I slipped out of town to spend some “quality time” together. We actually had a wonderful time not talking about the kids or about our mortgage payment. Geez, I don’t even recall having one serious argument!
And now I’m back in the Washington, D.C. area and all anyone is talking about here is the upcoming election. You just can’t avoid all of the debates, the talking heads on the cable shows, the campaign commercials and the political predictions. Of course, the group that is probably getting the most attention is the now-famous “Tea Party.” I’ve written about these folks before. I’ve talked about how I really have no idea what they want and what they would do if they got elected. All I can gather is that they are angry at everyone and they think it’s time to “clean house.” Well, that sounds all well and good and it is a very simple phrase that appeals to a lot of folks in this country who are too lazy to think about the real issues that confront our nation. Still, there are enough yahoos in the good ole USA that some of these Tea Party candidates actually have a chance of winning.
So, let’s take a minute to think about what would happen if a “Tea Partyer” is sent to Congress in January.
The first thing that he will be asked to do is to vote for the Speaker of the House (the position currently held by Nancy Pelosi). There will be two people running for that position, one nominated by the Democratic Party and one by the Republican Party. There will not be a nominee from the Tea Party, so from the very beginning this new person will have to cast their lot with one of the established parties. And, of course, they’re going to vote with the Republican Party.
Then they have to try to get on a committee that will be of great relevance to their district. If the Republican Party takes over the House of Representatives, as is predicted, the chairman of every committee will be a Republican. So, that young, brash Tea Party person, who may have spent some time during the election bashing both parties, will then have to make an appointment with the chairman of the committee they want to be on and perhaps have to explain to him why they spent the election season bashing his party. Now, won’t that be interesting?
Then the Tea Partyer will start voting. One of the most important matters they vote on first is the budget. Generally speaking, Members of Congress get to vote on two versions of a budget – one offered by the Democrats and one by the Republicans. So, the new Tea Party person will have only two options. Oh, sure, he or she can put together their own budget on behalf of himself and the maybe 3 other Tea Partyers in the House. That budget might have suggestions like cutting all federal support for public education, eliminating the Medicare program and reducing the minimum wage. The final tally on that proposal would be in the neighborhood of 4 in favor and 431 against. Now, that is really shaking up Washington!
So, what it will come down to ultimately is that these Tea Party folks will
wind up voting with the Republican Party 95 percent of the time. Oh, sure, they’ll go to the floor of the House and give a fiery speech about the “special interests” and the old ways of Washington that need to be changed. They will then make thousands of copies of that speech and mail it to their constituents to show how they are “fighting” for the common man. Their constituents won’t know that when they gave the speech there was no one else on the floor or in the galleries except for an intern or two.
They will accomplish nothing. They will vote with the Republican Party. But their constituents will have no idea. They will just be thrilled that they sent a “fighter” to Washington, D.C. to shake things up!
Is this a great country or what?