Two newsworthy things have happened in Washington over the past 48 hours. The first is the Iraq Study Group report analyzing the strategy in Iraq. Surprise! It’s not going well. The second is that House Majority Leader Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D, MA) has made it clear that he expects congressmen to put in a full week’s work in Washington in the coming months. (actual surprise!) Both of these are good things, and I have little to say about them substantively. While I feel the study group information might be put to as good a use as the 9/11 commission report, and the 5-day work week might only last until March, it’s nice to make it actually look like things are changing…and isn’t that what we all voted for? What stunned me were some of the responses to the breaking news.

Iraq Study Group Report

In response to the Iraq study group, an earlier version of CNN article reported this:

“’The country is tired of pure political bickering,’ Bush said.”

I can only imagine they were talking about President Bush – and not some burning bush, which would have made more sense. In context, this was referring to the “common ground” that Bush urges Congress to find in assessing the reports blah blah blah. But seriously – he said that? Bush practically created “pure political bickering” from scratch. That would be like me waking up in the morning and being like “My friends are tired of unadulterated sarcasm – you therefore must stop being sarcastic.”

Talk about the pot calling the kettle a scum-sucking, mud-slinging, dirty politician…I wonder if afterwards he also noted that democrats should seriously lay of the scare tactics and pleas to blindly follow because American’s think it’s really getting old. I think he’s just afraid that if more people are purely politically bickering, people will catch on to his strategy and the country will be prepared for it come ’08. That, or he’s reached that docile point in his presidency where he can just pretend he didn’t do anything wrong and that he knows that he’s talking about. This is kind of like a crappy father telling his son how to raise his children. Give grandpa a cookie and get the microphone out of his face…

Nine to Five

The Washington Post covers this story exceptionally well…including my favorite quote of the hour:

“’Keeping us up here eats away at families,” said Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), who typically flies home on Thursdays and returns to Washington on Tuesdays. “Marriages suffer. The Democrats could care less about families — that’s what this says.’”

How do you think that you can make the argument that working for a living is harmful to your family? Is that for real? I’ve got news for you, Congressman – my father hasn’t been home before 7pm on a weekday in 25 years – and if you tell him that his work ethic is demonstrating a lack of consideration for his family you’re likely to get punched in the face…by him or my mom.

How thick can you be? According to the Post, last year the House barely met three days a week and that was during the scant number of weeks that it was actually in session. That’s just downright egregious. When I worked my way through college at the Holiday Inn, I put in more hours than that. Geez, I put more hours than that into hygiene on a weekly basis. Here’s another winner expressing the twisted sense of perception through Republican glasses:

“’They’ve got a lot more freshmen then we do,’ he [House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)] said of the Democrats. ‘That schedule will make it incredibly difficult for those freshmen to establish themselves in their districts. So we’re all for it.’”

If Conservatives are at all confused about the “change” that Americans supposedly voted for this past November, let me help them along – It wasn’t because we missed you during the week that we didn’t vote you back into office – it’s because while you were there you did jack sh*t. Do you have any idea how hard you have to work at doing nothing to be called the “do nothing congress?” Congress has barely lifted a finger over the past 70 years – and the 104th took all predecessors to school on absolutely uselessness.

Congressmen need to be in their home town to win elections like I need to be at a football game to know the score. Just saying so out loud makes me seem like a complete moron. Can you see that political debate? “Sure, he voted consistently in favor of increasing minimum wage and diligently helped to eradicate corruption in Washington – but he was so busy, I never even saw him…” While that might work with your marriage counselor, I can’t believe it’ll help you win your next election.

Like I said before…this might just be a show. After 3 months in the big chairs, Dems might decide that not working is way cooler than working, and slip slowly into the worthless abyss of Washington Politics. But who cares? At least they’re trying – they have an agenda and they want it passed, and someone in charge was smart enough to know that showing up to work was a key aspect of said passing-policy.

In closing, anyone who thinks that 9-5, 5 days a week for ¾ of a year is too much time to put into their job needs to be doused in cold water until they come to their senses. Every working person in this country who would kill for those types of hours (like I know I would) might as well get a head start by helping these congressmen’s careers.

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