Last week the good folks over at Breitbart.com and Fox News trotted out their latest in faux outrage – Obama filled out an NCAA bracket but didn’t submit a Federal Budget. And of course good soldiers like Representative Tim Walberg were more than happy to fall in line and tweet their enmity.
I’m not sure how many brackets these people have filled out but if they are spending as much time on their NCAA brackets as they would a Federal Budget they are either investing way too much time on their bracket or way too little time on a Federal Budget.
Having said that, seeing someone like Tim Walberg call out the President for wasting time, is laughably ironic. 36 times now Republicans have voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a vote that if successful would have to get by a presidential veto from the same guy have championed the legislation in the first place. And this doesn’t just waste the time of one person. This involves valuable legislative time.
Of course this is only the tip of the iceberg. Rather than having substantive meetings working out meaningful compromises, Congress has become one big political advertisement where votes are mainly held to put the views of legislators on record. These include such symbolic votes as the Ryan budget, the Keystone XL pipeline, opposition to increasing the debt-limit, the Bush tax cuts, internet sales tax, ban on abortions for “gender-selection”, cutting DOJ salaries, and defunding Planned Parenthood, PBS, and NPR.
Not surprisingly, the complaints about what the president spends his time on are equally as symbolic since the issues surrounding the Federal Budget are significantly more involved than can possibly be explained in a tweet. But this is a sign of the times and a large part of the reason why congressional approval continues to hover in the teens. Politicians are constantly running for office which has forced them to treat members of the opposite party as combatants instead of colleagues. They have essentially become power hungry used car salesmen – willing to do anything to seal the deal.