Ezra Klein Presents The Do Less Than the Do-Nothing Congress

Rachel Maddow was off yesterday but that doesn’t mean her show wasn’t still good: the Clown Show Parade stops for no woman – or man.

Fortunately, sitting in for Rachel was Washington Post columnist and blogger Ezra Klein, who goes after stupidity with the same zest we have become accustomed to from Rachel.

After pointing out that the Senate almost did something yesterday but actually didn’t because the votes they actually took didn’t actually count on a constitutional technicality, and that the House argued over a typo, Klein makes the argument that this Congress is worse than pretty bad (a point he earlier made in his Washington Post Wonkblog on July 13).

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“I wish I was kidding. I am not kidding. So that was Congress today. The Senate voted on a pair of totally meaningless bills; the House fought about a typo and if any of this comes as a surprise to you, you probably have not been paying enough attention because this is not a just bad Congress or even a pretty bad Congress. I think a case can, should, and probably must be made that this is one of the worst congresses we have had in this country.”

Hyperbole? Klein doesn’t think so and he is willing to prove it:

Klein looks first at Congressional productivity: the number of public laws they have passed, on a graph dating back to the 80th Congress in 1947- Harry Truman’s infamous “Do-Nothing Congress.”

Klein asked, “Ready for this Congress? Yeah, that’s it. That tiny little bar over there on the right; the one with the arrow.”

He is no doubt right that having five months remaining will not appreciably change the fact that as he says, the 112th Congress is the “Do less than the Do-Nothing Congress.”

(And though Klein doesn’t mention it, we can mention it here: that many of those pieces of legislation were aimed at attacking Women’s Reproductive Rights. Putting people back to work? Not so much.)

Which brought him to congressional popularity. Ouch.

“That sort of legislative ineptitude has also led the 112trh congress to become the single most despised Congress of all time in the eyes of the public.”

He presents a graph put together by Michael Bennett (D-CO):

“This particular congress is less popular than the IRS, the airline industry, lawyers, less popular than Richard Nixon during Watergate, than the banks and oil and gas industry, than BP during the Gulf Oil Spill, than Paris Hilton; this congress is less popular than communism and Hugo Chavez. The only thing less popular than Congress? Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro. And he’s not even much less popular.”

Did I say ouch? I think it’s much worse than ouch.

And it gets worse, not better.

This brought Klein to the “measurable” damage Congress is doing to our country beyond the damage they have done to their own reputations – both to job growth and consumer confidence, as well as our loss of our AAA credit rating for the first time in our history:

“This Congress has been so incompetent it can barely even keep the lights on in its own building, and I mean that literally.” Take a look at his next graph if you don’t believe him:

Congress, he reminds us, has to past 12 annual appropriations bills to keep the government funded and they have to do it by October 1. The average Congress gets three of these bills passed on time, not an impressive number but as he points out, “I said this congress was bad; I didn’t say others were good.”

The 112th congress passed “exactly zero appropriations bills on time last year.”

The curve can’t get much lower than 3 out of 12 but this Congress managed to not even reach that low level of expectation.

“This is not normal. This is not how it is supposed to work. This Congress has not only been historically unproductive, it has taken steps that have directly harmed the country, that have directly harmed our economic recovery.”

All of this is true. The numbers don’t lie. The evidence of your eyes don’t lie. The GOP will try to make this all Obama’s fault; they’ve been trying all along. Romney is running on this false pretense: that he is not the man (Obama) who, they allege, put us in these dire straights.

But the problem is not Obama and the problem for Romney is that he is not Obama: Why? Because he is a member of the same party as the people who have put us in these dire straights: the Republican Party. And this Congress is visible and persistent evidence of that Republican malfeasance, a living reminder of who is to blame. And a millstone around Mitt Romney’s neck.

Remember when Obama said we don’t want to let the people who drove the car into the ditch to get back behind the wheel? Yeah, we really don’t. We really, really don’t.

9 Replies to “Ezra Klein Presents The Do Less Than the Do-Nothing Congress”

  1. And how much of this is caused by the tea party backed freshmen who rolled into Congress from who knows where? How many of them had any experience as elected officials?* How many of them had ever had to actually govern? How many of them had the (sorry in advance for being elitist) intelligence and education needed for the complexities of being able to effectively govern a geographically huge country of well over 300,000,000 people?

    How many of these goobertastic clowns got to Congress and got a taste of the whole $174,000 salary, private office, expense account, and their very own staff deal, and never realized that there was more to the job than just continuing their stupid three-cornered hat rants against the Negro in the White House, and all those vagina people and gayz?

    *I think I will check the Google machine for this. I will be astounded if the majority of these people arrived in Washington with years and years of solid state or local electoral experience, effective bipartisan legislation abilities, and diplomatic people skills.

  2. Does it seem coincidental to you that when the Tea Party, that group of people funded by the Koch brothers, took office all of this took place. They have shown that they will do everything they can to get the black man out of the white house. Is this a race issue? You can bet it is. Check out the KKK, the Koch brothers and the Tea Party. The links are there and they date back long before Barack Obama took office of any kind.

  3. Bravo, well-done! Goobertastic Clowns?!! Fantastic!

    (I was having dinner while listening to Klein…it was over-whelming at the time; I could hardly get my head wrapped around the gravity of the situation, and the facts are still making my mind spin…)

  4. What did anyone expect? People in their 70’s elected a group of idiots who know less than the morons who voted for them. Any high school student who passed government class is more capable, and informed, than the group of teabaggers decimating this country.

  5. When our grandchildren ask ” when did democracy die and why?” We probably will be answering ” Well the 112th Congress got everything started with the Debt limit debacle and it just got worse from there” This Congress truly has hurt Americans, all in the intrest of making President Obama look bad. And we may be stuck with this group for awhile, plenty of time to really do some damage.

  6. It as a great presentation by Ezra Klein and I hope the Obama team uses it to also run against this travesty called the GOP. The Congressional races may turn out to be even more important than the Presidential race.

  7. I am PAYING these idiots? This is a travesty, and the REAL prob is that they KNOW it. This in turn is arrogance of the first order. The teaparty is responsible for a good part of it, and I would like to witness them all being keelhauled, with a duration of about five minutes.
    Being basically a decent sort, I would give them the option of briny or fresh water.
    T. Glenn Ellison

  8. We must have total removal of all tp peeps. We cannot afford to pay for a balky work crew. The US is in trouble, even with a very decent and effective pres.

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