"We have a totally dysfunctional Congress": Special Comment by my 72-year-old friend



My impassioned 72-year-old  friend (who is now 75, but who’s counting?), who goes by the Twitter name @42bkdodgr, would like to share his feelings about Congressional Republican buffoons and their penchant for obstructionism. I am more than happy to oblige.

But first, a personal note from 42bkdodgr:

Many of you may wonder why I chose to use the “72 year old friend” as the introduction to my Special Comments. I selected the moniker so readers could see that from my age and life experiences I give a different perspective to the issues of today.


In the last few years,  I have written several Special Comments hoping the Republican moderates would regain control of the  Party and move it back to the middle. But alas, my hopes haven't come true. In fact the Republican Party has moved further to the right.

In today's Congress there are very few moderates, if any. They have either decided to leave Congress on their own, or lost a primary race to a teabagger candidate or to a more conservative candidate. So now we have Republicans in Congress who have more allegiance to an individual than to the oath they took when sworn into office.

During the two years the Republicans controlled the house, we saw them bring bills to the floor that covered abortions, religion, marriage, guns; but zero JOBS bills.  It seems a jobs bill is the least important item on their agenda, unless it's their own.

President Obama and Democrats in Congress, are dealing with a group of people who believe the word "compromise" is a dirty word. As one teabagger congressman said,  "Compromise is when they come over to our side".

I was hoping that after President Obama's decisive victory in November things would change, but I was wrong again.

The first bill entered in the House by the 113th Congress came from Michele Bachmann, for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), followed shortly by a  fetal personhood  bill cosponsored by Paul Ryan.

Both individuals have to know these bills will never be passed. The personhood bill has many legal issues that have to be addressed before it even can be brought to the floor for discussion.

So it appears it's the same old thing with this new congress, everything related to religion and Women Rights, but for a JOBS bill, as they say in Brooklyn, "fugetboutit". I also expect obstructionism will continue in the Senate for the next two years.

In addition, Republicans in the House also seem totally insensitive to the needs of the people. It took a public outcry from members of their own party to even pass a $9 billion assistance bill passed in the opening days of the 113th Congress, to help Americans suffering from Sandy Hurricane flood damage. This amount is only a portion of a $60 billion bill approved by the Senate for Sandy Relief funds.

The reason, given by the Republican leaders  of the House for not passing the full Relief Bill during the 112th Congress was that it wasn't fully paid for. One has to wonder where these Republicans were when they passed unfunded bills for the Bush tax cuts, two wars, and a Medicare drug bill. The effect of those bills help create the debt level that Republicans suddenly seem so concerned about.

Now the Republicans are using a new tactic on President Obama: objecting to any name they hear who may be considered for a Cabinet position, before it's even announced. This type of tactic has never been used in the past. It's another type of obstructionism to prevent the Obama administration from functioning.

Now we await the fight over raising the debt ceiling to pay for the costs Congress already approved, while they try to hold the country hostage over how to cut spending.

The Republicans seem intent in driving their already poor approval rating down to zero. The Republican actions  have already and will only continue to create further divisions between the parties, while also creating a further  divide in the our nation.

We have a totally dysfunctional  Congress and I begin to wonder if these divides can ever be completely healed.

We need a Congress that works together, to settle their differences, regardless of who is president, or we will continue in our dysfunctional manner for many more years to come.

Many thanks again for another thorough, relevant piece, @42bkdodgr. You often say what many of us are thinking and feeling, and we thank you for your unique perspective.