Bob Schieffer delivered an epic smackdown of Congress on Face the Nation this morning, giving special attention to the House of Representatives and their complete inability to get anything productive accomplished. He called them “disconnected to the rest of us” and pointed out how “they can’t do anything even when they want to.”
Here’s the video (via CBS), along with a full transcript of his comments:
Say one thing for Congress — no matter how bad you thought they were, they will always find a way to show you they’re even worse. Last week’s defeat of the farm bill was an example of how they can’t do anything even when they want to. House Republican leaders thought they had the votes to pass the bill, but 60 Republicans suddenly turned on their leaders because they thought federal programs needed to be cut even more. They joined forces with a group of Democrats who opposed the bill, because they thought the programs had been cut too much. So the whole thing collapsed, nobody got anything and nothing got done — a sentence you could use to describe most Capitol Hill weeks. Washington has changed since I came here 44 years ago. There are some exceptions, but many House members especially have come to live in a world unknown and disconnected to the rest of us. They work 3 days a week, they take long and frequent vacations and busy themselves with things that have no connection to the rest of us — fundraising to ensure reelection, traveling, issuing press releases and more fundraising. But nothing that affects the rest of us ever seems to get done. It’s obvious they want to be something — a member of Congress. But when I came to Washington, most members wanted to do something. When did that go out of style?
Schieffer is one of the smartest people in TV news, and with over 4 decades in the business he knows what he’s talking about. When Bob Schieffer tells you that you “can’t do anything” even when you want to, you should probably listen and think about what needs to happen for that to change.
But let’s be honest with ourselves here — House Republicans couldn’t care less about what Bob Schieffer or anybody else has to say about their ineptitude. Just take a look at what they’ve been focused on — attempting to repeal Obamacare 37 times (at a cost to taxpayers of around $55 million), unconstitutional abortion bans that seek to skirt around Roe v. Wade, demonizing food stamp recipients and refusing to pass a single jobs bill. (Contrary to what House Republicans believe, pushing for more tax cuts for billionaires does not constitute a “jobs bill” — remember how that worked out during the Bush administration?)
Of course, they’ve also been focused on pushing scandal after scandal in the hopes that one will stick. First it was Benghazi, which we later found out that they had purposefully passed off edited emails as fact to try to make the Obama administration look bad. Then we have the IRS scandal, which Darrell Issa knew wasn’t a scandal from the beginning yet he continued to perpetuate the lie in the hopes of swaying public opinion. As I have said previously, the biggest scandal of all is how Republicans seem to be sabotaging their own party. They’ve proven that they’re not “fiscally conservative,” they’ve proven that they don’t care what the public wants and they only seem concerned with pushing the agendas of their corporate overlords.
Sure, Democrats aren’t perfect and deserve to be called out on their nonsense as well, but Republicans have taken “nonsense” to a whole new level never before seen in politics. Schieffer’s commentary should serve as a reality check to House leadership and the Tea Party caucus that has pushed Republicans past the point of no return — rediscover the art of true “compromise” or face permanent damage come 2014 and beyond.
Be sure to check out his archives on Forward Progressives for more of his viewpoints.