Jonathan Zimmerman is an author who teaches history and education at New York University. He has an op-ed in today's Los Angeles Times that tracks the sometimes entertaining, mostly frustrating, and often astonishing history of United States Congress members. Or as fiction writer Rex Stout put it in 1942, "The Illustrious Dunderheads."
Today the Senate reached a deal to re-open the government and avoid default... for now. Senator Rafael "Ted" Cruz decided he wouldn't block it, because hey, that's just the kind of low key, reasonable, go-along guy he is.
However, as MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell just said, "The Speaker has lost control... What have they won after putting this country in such misery?"
A few of Zimmerman's descriptions of the clown car in which our lawmakers reside are as follows:
[C]omedian Jimmy Kimmel recently noted. "Congress is still getting paid," Kimmel jibed. "I want the names of the idiots who elected these people.... Oh, wait. It was us? Never mind."
For the last two centuries, we have asked members of Congress to advance our personal interests and do the best thing for the nation. When that doesn't work out, we mock and malign them. It's a whole lot easier than looking in the mirror. [...]
"Suppose you were an idiot," wrote Mark Twain. "And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself."
Back in the 1920s, Speaker of the House Nicholas Longworth, "realized, everyone wanted something from their legislature: a job, a tax break, a benefit. But they also wanted congressmen who would look out for the nation as a whole, not just for the narrow concerns of their constituents."
Tell it to the Heritage Foundation-controlled conservative extremists.
Zimmerman goes on to say that, "That's how we arrived at our current predicament."
If we really hated Congress, we'd vote the bums out. But we like the loot we get, so we send them back. Then we start the cycle again, ridiculing our representatives for lining their own pockets at the expense of the national future. It's enough to make a grown man laugh. Or cry.
Hence the genesis of my pseudonym. GottaLaff... or you cry.