Thursday, September 30, 2010

Should they stay or should they go?

The Democrats faced a very ugly choice. They could stay in Washington and take politically unpopular votes on measures like Obama's newest economic stimulus proposal or cap and trade or all the appropriations bill which they haven't passed. And don't forget the tax increases headed our way because the Congress could agree on a vote. Or they could recess without doing what they need to be doing and try to sell their miserable performance back home to angry voters. They chose to recess and flee leaving the GOP with ready-made attack lines, especially with the political gift they received from Zoe Lofgren of the Dems finding time to have Stephen Colbert testify in his fake persona last week.

It's not good when the Associated Press crafts the headline with the words "Congress flees DC to campaign."
Battle-weary members of Congress are coming soon to neighborhoods near you to press for re-election, more eager to campaign before angry constituents than compromise in Washington on tax cuts, child nutrition or a federal budget.

Majority Democrats facing tough re-election fights rebelled in both chambers Wednesday against their leaders' decisions to call off controversial votes, pass a temporary bill to keep the government running and head home.

"The Senate should be more concerned about doing what's right for the country and less concerned about campaign season," said Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.

The measure to adjourn passed both chambers despite the protests. In the House, it passed by one vote — Speaker Nancy Pelosi's — after 39 Democrats joined Republicans in voting no.

It was a messy end to a session fraught with partisan warfare, and it's not over. Within days of the voters' verdict, the same crew — with a few newly elected faces — will reconvene to take up a hefty list of legislation deemed toxic in the unforgiving pre-election atmosphere. Democrats will still control both chambers during the "lame duck" session.

For now, lawmakers sick of stalemate are headed home to an angry electorate.

"All 100 senators want to get out of here and get back to their states," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is locked in a tough re-election fight against Republican Sharron Angle in Nevada.

That they preferred frustrated voters to each other says something about the heavy political lifting candidates of both parties face in the month remaining before Election Day.
Those angry voters need to press the politicians asking for their votes what they plan to do when they return for the lame duck session and how they intend to vote on those issues. They can only flee for so long.