Congress: Delta House Without the Fun

"Every fall the trees are filled with underwear, every spring the toilets explode."

Congress: Delta House Without the Fun
Fat, dumb and stupid is no way to serve your term in Congress.

I want to begin with a kind word for House Speaker Mike Johnson. OK, he's way more teavangelical than I prefer, but he shows signs of common sense in a political body that is coming to resemble the Faber College homecoming parade.

What in the Googly Moogly is THAT? ~ | Mama Boe
Remain calm. All is well.

And of course, by agreeing to a $1.2-trillion funding bill to keep the government functioning, Johnson crossed the line for some of his own members like our own Chip Roy (R-TX) who, fun fact here, actually has chip for brains. He prefers that the budget address the issues that he has made up in his head like the US Army turning basic training into some sort of Carmel, California Falun Gong yoga session. He also wants the border issue solved immediately, you know, like it wasn't under the last President.

That is actually true. The Cato Institute, a very conservative/libertarian think tank said this...

President Trump’s top policy priority was supposedly “border security.” But government data show that he failed to improve it. Border Patrol recorded 41 percent more successful illegal entries in fiscal year 2019 than in 2016 and was on pace for 47 percent more through four months of 2020. As he left office in January, reports indicate that the numbers have reached even greater heights.

And obviously, they have, since Cato points out, Trump's policies were continued by President Biden. Cato concludes...

If Trump’s policies aren’t improving security—in the only sense that matters—there’s really no reason for Biden to maintain them. He should stop expulsions and restore order to the border.
"Chip says you're all here to register to vote, right?"

And despite Chip's declaration that the bill does nothing for the border, it includes over $9.5 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Close to 5 thousand new police-type vehicles. For the Department of Homeland Security 7,500 police-type vehicles, money for marine vessels, aircraft, and unmanned aerial systems. And, funding for over 22,000 new border patrol officers.

That might allow Governor Ironside to send those Texas National Guard troops home to their jobs and families. Of course, he won't because there is an election coming.

But, in spite of the fact that the bill does all that, it also sends money to help Ukraine fight for its freedom. And of course, the House "Freedom" Caucus can't have that, right? So, in what has become a semi-annual celebration of our self-governing democracy, the HEIC (Head Equine In Charge) of the caucus, Marjorie Taylor Greene, has called for Speaker Johnson to be removed. Yes, again.

Marjorie Taylor Greene files motion to oust Mike Johnson as House speaker :  NPR
"No, really. Let's start over again. The voters will love it."

In fact, when a symbolic resolution was introduced condemning Russia for abducting Ukrainian children and taking them from family and homeland, 9 Republicans couldn't bring themselves to vote for it. The Huffington Post reported...

The resolution was approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee in November on a unanimous 44-0 vote. It was brought to the floor Tuesday under a procedure specifically used for noncontroversial legislation, which requires a two-thirds majority vote instead of a simple majority for approval.
The resolution listed the number of Ukrainian children that have been transferred to Russia so far — an estimated 200,000 to 260,000, according to Ukrainian and U.S. officials.
It also said the House held Russian President Vladimir Putin responsible or the abductions; that facilitating Russian adoptions of Ukrainian children “amounts to genocide;” that Russia is trying to “wipe out” a generation of Ukrainian children and that the invasion raised the risk of Ukrainian children being exposed to trafficking, violence and child labor.

These statements went too far for nine Republicans, including Chip and Marge.

I mean, really people. If you live in her Georgia district, she has done (checks notes), yeah, exactly nothing for you. Her goal is self-regeneration each election day. She even talked with another House member about raising campaign money on her motion to vacate the speakership.

And to his credit, Speaker Johnson has maintained that, admittedly, somewhat creepy calm that reminds us less of Sam Rayburn and more of Klaatu introducing Gort to the gathered dignitaries.

5. Klaatu and Gort depart in their flying saucer. A screen shot from the trailer of the science fiction movie The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) by 20 th Century Fox. The film depicts a humanoid alien emissary called Klaatu and his fearsome robot Gort who come to earth in a flying saucer to give humans an ultimatum regarding their violent ways. This movie had a major influence on UFO contactee discourse during the 1950s. 
May I introduce the new House Majority Whip?

But, so far it works, like staying calm when someone is fuming, red-faced at you in an argument. This guy worked with the normal humanoids in both his party and the other one and actually got it done. With his conservative bona fides, he just might pull it off against a crowd that would settle for going down with flags flying.

For example, even though the former President said he wouldn't do it, and the loud boos at the last couple of State of the Unions enforced that, it turns out Republicans are willing to cut Social Security and Medicare. According to the Associated Press...

WASHINGTON – A symbolic Republican budget proposal introduced this week includes cuts to future Social Security retirement benefits, despite former President Donald Trump’s pledge to leave the program untouched.
The Republican Study Committee, a group encompassing a majority of GOP House members, put out a budget outline on Wednesday calling for spending reductions in Social Security and Medicare.

Even though the absurdly simple fix of removing the cap for income on which you pay SS taxes would insure the system for, oh, pretty much ever, they'd rather cut benefits than bother Elon and the Koch brothers with a tax hike that would amount to lunch money for them.

And the very people who would depend most on SS and Medicare will in large part, simply shrug and mumble that it must be necessary. There was a popular book several years ago called "What's the Matter With Kansas" by Thomas Frank whose thesis question asked why people vote against their own self-interest? Well, it isn't just Kansas anymore, Toto.

An actual Freedom Caucus meeting. I think I'm right here.

And now, as I pour a little dressing on my kale and arugula salad, how are Democrats doing in this year's contest? Well, they, of course, benefit from President Gramps running against the single worst human being on the planet, barring Putin.

But even with that, they are still so concerned with the pettiest infractions of the liberal code of conduct, that the Biden slip of the word "illegal" in reference to an undocumented criminal at the State of the Union caused much brow furrowing and finger-wagging among those of the lefty grammar police.

That, of course, produced no end of serious pseudo-concern from the perpetually punchable Jesse Watters. So why lob him that idiotic softball? Because Democrats just can't help themselves anymore.

The problem is that Democrats have lost touch with what used to be their base, blue-collar, hard-working, often union folks who have gravitated to those who would disband unions and freeze the minimum wage while cutting workplace safety rules. It takes a true confederacy of dunces to pull that off.

An evening for only the strongest among us.

James Carville, who actually knows how real elections are won, talked about it to Maureen Dowd of the NY Times. She wrote...

"Carville has been sounding an alarm about progressives getting too censorious since he advised Hillary Clinton in 2016. He disparaged liberals’ snooty, elitist “faculty lounge” attitudes long before he blew off the faculty lounge himself. He complained that “woke stuff is killing us,” that the left was talking in a language that ordinary Americans did not understand, using terms like “Latinx” and “communities of color,” and with a tone many Americans found sneering. 'Don’t drink beer. Don’t watch football. Don’t eat hamburgers. This is not good for you. Everything you’re doing is destroying the planet. You’ve got to eat your peas.’"

Carville's advice for Democrats?

“If you say, ‘You dumb son of a bitch, how can you ever think that this fat, slimy, rapist, criminal, racist should be president?’ they’re going to recoil,” he said. “I think Democrats should say: ‘Look, you believed in him. You felt like you weren’t being seen, you were being culturally excluded. But he betrayed you. You thought he was going to be for you and helping you, but he was really for TikTok and tax cuts to the rich.’”

Will anyone on the national scene take that advice? Frankly, doubtful. For example, Democrats who support Israel and those who support Palestinians are now sniping at each other, threatening not to vote and all the while refusing to acknowledge the bloody actions involving both parties. This my way or the highway attitude mirrors the absolutists in the GOP House for whom actual governing takes a back seat to a spot on Hannity, or Maddow for that matter.

When I interviewed Joseph Califano on his book about Lyndon Johnson, he repeated an anecdote told by other biographers. When the leaders of black civil rights organizations started talking with the young legislator from Texas back in the 1930's, he allowed that he was sympathetic to their concerns, but he was not in a position powerful enough to make it happen. He implored them to be patient and stick with him as he cozied up to some fairly nasty, but influential colleagues.

And when he got to the leadership, he could help make it happen. And, incidentally, he did. That kind of reach across the aisle, even if you want to wash up afterward, cannot be tolerated today. Democrats are just as guilty of shunning those apostates who are willing to work with the Ted Cruz's (R-Cancun) of the world. I know, it gives me the creeps as well, but we'd rather shout across a hearing room than reach some sort of half-a-loaf compromise. You can shower later at the House gym. I'm looking at you, Swalwell.

And, yet here is Mike Johnson, willing to act as official spear catcher for the House, keep things going, and the government functioning. I even heard the Democrat who replaced George Santos (R-Oz), Tom Suozzi, tell a reporter that if a motion to vacate was actually offered, he'd vote to keep Johnson.

I see that as a faint ray of hope for the institution. But, just watch. He'll sit down with Raskin and I'll be completely wrong next week.

Roger Gray has toiled at the journalism trade since 1970 and his first radio news job at KTRH in Houston. Over those woefully misspent years, he has worked in radio, TV and written for magazines. He was twice elected President of the Texas Automobile Writers Association and was elected to the Texas Radio Hall of Fame. He covered the first Persian Gulf War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the reunification of Germany, Oslo Accords in Israel and peace talks in Ireland. He interviewed writers, actors, politicians and every President from Ford to George W, and none of them remember him.Now, he is part of the Texas Outlaw Writers, and if this doesn't pan out, the outlaw part will still work as he will indeed resort to robbing banks.