May 26, 2007

The Soft Pathos Of Low Expectations

The Democrats finally passed something this week in Congress, 150 days after the start of the 110th session and the beginning of their leadership. They got a minimum-wage hike attached to a supplemental spending bill for the troops 108 days after they first took up the funding issue, indirectly getting the first of their 100-hour priorities passed ... just short of Memorial Day. And the most pathetic aspect of it is the self-congratulatory attitude of the Democrats in managing to eke this out:

The new Democratic Congress has finally banked a legislative win, fulfilling a promise to pass a $2.10 increase in the federal minimum wage and marking the first of its "Six for '06" campaign pledges to become law since the party's January takeover.

"We are making progress for the American people, governing effectively and getting results. Our work is not over, it has begun," said Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland.

"I've been here 26 years; I think this first five months may be the most productive five months that I've spent as a member of ... Congress," he said.

The most productive? Until this week, the only accomplishments that Pelosi & Co could highlight was (a) a funding bill left over from the last session, (b) a minor NATO restructuring plan that had no opposition, and (c) a number of bills that renamed federal property like post offices. The Democrats spent almost four months playing around with the Iraq supplemental, trying desperately to craft it in such a fashion as to force a withdrawal and blame it on George Bush, only to get outplayed by the White House.

Even this one accomplishment is hardly noteworthy. The Democrats could probably have passed the minimum-wage hike on its own months ago. All they had to do to get White House buy-in was to include tax relief for small businesses to offset the costs, which they did in this bill anyway. Bush indicated early in the session that he would not veto a package that included both, and the wage hike has enough Republican support to carry the day in the Senate.

Steny Hoyer tried hard to sell the first four months of this session as a proud moment in Democratic history, but it has been a complete embarassment. They folded on Iraq, they dithered on ethics legislation, and they accomplished almost none of their rapid-fire agenda that they claimed would pass within the first 100 hours of the 110th. Over 150 days later, most of it remains on the table, and the "Do-Nothing" insult they threw around freely during the midterms has stuck to them with a vengeance.


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Comments (19)

Posted by Gary Gross | May 26, 2007 9:53 AM

Dang you, Captain Ed. Just after I titled a blog post (Do Nothing) Politics As Usual?

People, should I rename the post to (Do Almost Nothing) Politics As Usual?

Posted by Fight4TheRight | May 26, 2007 9:54 AM

Politicians often wonder why they meet with bigger challenges than they expected when it comes to getting re-elected. Left to their own excuses, Congressmen will site things as corruption, aisle against aisle warfare and complacancy as some of the reasons "the people" get upset with them.

But that's a story. The REAL story is this example, portrayed so clearly by Steny Hoyer. This Representative, makes this statement about how productive this Congress has been and more than likely he said this with a straight face. And in essence, what he is doing is treating the American people like idiots. It's condescending. These Congressmen, I don't care which party they are from, operate from the position of "I'm a shepard of sheep."

Steny Hoyer and the rest probably won't ever get it but the American people, you know, the ones that run their own businesses or put in quality work at their employer's business day in and day out...the same ones that balance their budgets, make capital expenditures, put their kids thru school....those American people are SICK and TIRED of this condescension.

I'd rather have Steny Hoyer lie to me than have him stand up and act like i've never had an original thought in my life. You'll be gone next time, Hoyer and while you'll spend the next 20 years asking yourself ...."what happened??!!" - just go to one of your constituents and ask them. Believe me, they'll tell you.

Posted by Angry Dumbo | May 26, 2007 10:16 AM

Win election, claim mandate, bring home the pork and then preen like prize pigs.

Sounds familiar.

Posted by MarkJ | May 26, 2007 10:17 AM

Definition of the modern Democratic Party

"A group of like-minded individuals, who, after having been beaten to a bloody pulp by Reality, concurrently deny they've been attacked, thank their assailant, and claim, through their broken teeth, that they actually won the fight."

Posted by onlineanalyst | May 26, 2007 10:54 AM

And the Dems still have a remarkable number of representatives and senators who are unethical, if not downright criminal, keeping their seats warm year after year. Too many of these hypocrites sit in positions of power as committee chairs when they should be "spending more time with their families" or writing their memoirs in a federal prison.

Posted by Lightwave | May 26, 2007 11:14 AM

The Dems is this Congress will forever be known for what they DIDN'T do.

One for six in 4 months, and the one was a rider on an Iraq war funding bill that spent months wasting time about passing. Wow. At that rate, they won't actually get that 100 hours legislation even to the President's desk before the 08' elections.

Bush's numbers may be in the low 30's, but that's still ahead of Congress or the number of Americans who want to see war funding cut off. That's why the Dems lost on this issue. In a record span of what, 120 days, they've managed to create a civil war that has split the party: the Dems who voted for the funding and the moonbat fringe.

All the major Democrat presidential hopefuls and square in the moonbat camp. The GOP just won the White House. The rank and file Dems know this and are *pissed*.

But I think the biggest losers here are the moonbat bloggers. I know a lot of them read CQ or have readers who do, so the rest of the post is dedicated to you, the nutroots lurker.

How do you folks feel knowing now that you don't matter to the Dems and never did? They used you for votes and tossed you on the heap, because *unlike* the Christian groups you're so quick and eager to attack as "patsies for the GOP" America does NOT support your position. You're out in the cold. Yes, you helped change Congress, but what did you really get for your efforts?

Nothing but ridicule. Oh, and your candidates lined up to support the war funding, along with the MAJORITY OF AMERICANS. Who is in fact the "patsy" now?

Let me know how that third party turns out.

Posted by Okonkolo | May 26, 2007 11:32 AM

I would argue that oversight of the White House is a pretty darned big accomplishment, and the DOJ debacle is a rather large example of that. Really, now, your post would have more teeth if the DeLay/Hassert Congress hadn't set the bar so low. This lame congress is still an improvement.

Posted by Joshua | May 26, 2007 11:41 AM

I kind of like the fact that one of the Democratic Congress's main achievements so far this year has been to name a courthouse after Rush Limbaugh Sr. (the talk show host's grandfather).

Posted by DubiousD | May 26, 2007 12:07 PM

"All they had to do to get White House buy-in was to include tax relief for small businesses to offset the costs, which they did in this bill anyway."

Captain, please clarify: are you saying that the War Funds legislation is also a tax cut bill?

Posted by quickjustice | May 26, 2007 12:13 PM

So with 12 million illegal workers here in the U.S. undercutting U.S. labor laws, including the minimum wage, the Democrats think that this meaningless gesture is a great victory?

I guess the labor unions have to tell their constituents something. If the unions supported border enforcement and enforcement of penalties against employers who employ illegal workers, I'd believe them!

At this point, their credibility is shot. I don't believe most of the congressional Republicans, and I don't come close to believing the Democrats. I have a feeling I'm not alone!

Posted by SkyWatch | May 26, 2007 12:18 PM

DubiousD, I believe what he is saying is that the minimum wage hike would have passed months ago as a stand alone bill as long as the tax cuts for small business was included in it. The dems could have just wrote it out and passed it instead of playing games with it.

Posted by Papa Ray | May 26, 2007 1:28 PM

The Crats have spent most of their currency and their credibility with the American people in this short time. But don't count them out or down.

When it comes to dirty politics, they are masters at it, they just haven't gotten really serious yet. They thought that they could pull this crap with our troops money off, but they were playing softball, compared to what they could have done.

Be prepared for the next crat offensive.

Papa Ray
West Texas

Posted by Carol Herman | May 26, 2007 1:46 PM

Status-quo rarely last "forever." If anything? Once we get through 2008; and see the way the government shapes up, following Bush's departure?

Something tells me, BECAUSE of the low expectations we now have from the graduating high shool senior classes; where academics do not thrive ...

Let me guess? I think we'll see a return to the draft.

True, Nixon, in charge of an unpopular war in Vietnam, cancelled the draft. But it didn't help him at all!

And, if you saw the mess we have because we have even OBAMA showing up in the Senate; without an idea of how to spell well ... What choices are we going to have, huh?

One of the miracles of WW2, is that it solved a lot of lingering problems. It also took ordinary kids; some who never dreamed, back then, of "going onto college." And, except for the 5% that died in the war; 95% of the boys became MEN, due to our military.

Okay. It's just an idea. I can't flesh this out. Becaues it's gonna happen in the future. But it's one of the ways to take what's been so heavily damaged by Bush; a sense of FAITH IN WHAT'S RIGHT! That there are few other things that would work as well.

There's nothing else out there that will improve on the current mess.

One reason we have this mess? We don't let the drop outs leave school. They once did. In droves. Because they couldn't keep up.

In other words? Once upon a time, teachers had the ability to leave kids back. When they didn't comprehend the year's worth of work that went into advancing them "to the next level."

And, there were always ignoramouses in the classroom. Every teacher sees with their eyes, that some kids just don't get it. And, we don't even teach other skills. Why not? Because there are no jobs out there, any longer, for those who can sew. Or do "shop." Those jobs dried up when Detroit died. When the unions failed to protect workers. And, they did this by protecting the WORST IN THE LOT!

No. I can't know the future! But neither can you.

That we have a "manpower" crisis? Well, we have shortages when it comes to raising enough soldiers "to keep the peace."

For war? For that you need equipment. You need ships that fill the ports day and night. And, off-load American made goods. Bombs. To trucks. Airplanes. Whatever it takes to keep the bases LOADED.

I also don't know "who'll be in charge?" Because I don't see the Ma and Pa Kettle Show holding their positions, when there's restive behinds belonging to Blue Dogs. Right now? I think both teams are worried about who reaches the nomination stage.

There once was a time the quality of the candidate was so good! Think Ronald Reagan. That he was able to bring in voters from all over the map! And, he was no John Bircher!

So, the right in the GOP changed. The John Birchers are gone, now. And, the social conservatives? After Bush finishes; you'll see what a price was paid to let him come "to the top."

No. I can't imagine the donks run with a flying pig. Or the media, so entrenched in their views, they're not reflecting America; will get to pick the candidate that hobbles out of the donk's circus tent. You don't think they're looking for better meat?

You mean you didn't know BOTH PARTIES were courting Ike back in 1952?

But there ya go. Things won't remain static. There's just no pithy way to say it, either. As much as you think things will remain the same. They won't. PRESSURES WILL BE BROUGHT TO BEAR. (Hey! Like Labor. Ignore the pain. Bear down.)

Posted by Bob Smith | May 26, 2007 2:47 PM

Can somebody describe these supposed "tax cuts"?

Posted by DubiousD | May 26, 2007 5:34 PM

Skywatch, the way Capt. Ed is phrasing it, it sounds like the Dems had the choice of either passing

a) a minimum wage hike + tax relief bill


b) a war funding + minimum wage hike + tax relief bill.

Again, same quote, different emphasis:

""All they had to do to get White House buy-in was to include tax relief for small businesses to offset the costs, which they did in this bill anyway."

Now maybe my reading of Capt. Ed's post is wrong (it probably is), but that's why I'm asking for a clarification.

Posted by Conservative democrat | May 26, 2007 11:02 PM

Hey Ed, Bush had 6 long years of a rubberstamp congress, you know it, I know it, and yes my parties reps are slimy politicians just like your is. But finally there is some oversight with this bunch of keystone cops (Bushco), isn't that a good thing or do you think Gonzalez is a brilliant AG? Just wondering.

Posted by Eg | May 27, 2007 3:08 AM

Republican House Leader John Boehner’s list of Democrat legislative accomplishment’s(H/T: NRO’s Corner by Kathryn Lopez):

NOTE on the Democrats’ list of accomplishments: As of today, only 26 bills have been signed into law; the war funding bill that was carried by Republican votes will make 27.

The “new direction” Democrats have taken in the last five months breaks down as follows:


H.R. 49 - To name the “Gerald R. Ford, Jr. Post Office Building”
H.R. 335 - To name the “Gale W. McGee Post Office”
H.R. 342 - To name the “Rush Hudson Limbaugh, Sr. United States Courthouse” [!!]
H.R. 433 - To name the “Scipio A. Jones Post Office Building”
H.R. 514 - To name the “Sergeant Lea Robert Mills Brooksville Aviation Branch Post Office”
H.R. 521 - To name the “Lane Evans Post Office Building”
H.R. 544 - To name the “Santiago E. Campos United States Courthouse”
H.R. 577 - To name the “Sergeant Henry Ybarra III Post Office Building”
H.R. 584 - To name the “Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Building”
H.R. 753 – To name the “Clifford Davis & Odell Horton Federal Building”
H.R. 1129 - To build and maintain a road in St. Louis County, Missouri
S.159 – To name the “Robert T. Stafford White Rocks National Recreation Area”
S. 521 – To name the “Gerald W. Heaney Federal Building & United States Courthouse & Customhouse”


H.R. 137 – Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act (passed last year)
H.R. 188 - To extend the Thomas Alva Edison Commemorative Coin Act
H.R. 434 – To extend the Small Business Act and the Small business Investment Act of 1958
H.R. 1003 – To extend the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy
H.J. Res. 20 - Revised Continuing Appropriations Resolution


H.R. 475 - House Page Board Revision Act
H.R. 727 – Trauma Care Systems Planning & Development Act
H.R. 742 - Antitrust Modernization Commission Extension Act
H.R. 1130 – Judicial Disclosure Responsibility Act
H.R. 1132 - National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program Reauthorization Act
H.R. 1681 – American National Red Cross Governance Modernization Act
S. 494 – NATO Freedom Consolidation Act
S. 1002 – Older Americans Reauthorization Technical Corrections Act

Barring that one exception, it’s doubtful the free worlds enemies could hardly be happier than with our new Democrat controlled congress.

Posted by TyCaptains [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 27, 2007 3:08 AM

Not that I think this is a brilliant Congress (it's Congress after all, when was it ever brilliant in our lifetime?) but I fail to see how they should be excoriated for bills not making it into laws.

Once they send up the bill (and there have been quite a few from their promised agenda already), it's "out of their hands".

In other words, blame them for not sending bills up, not if the bills fail to make it into law. For that, some of the blame belongs to the Pres as well.

Posted by docjim505 | May 27, 2007 5:25 AM

It doesn't take much to make the dems happy, does it? The politicians that they sent to DC with an alleged mandate and who clearly represent the will of the people (or so they constantly tell us) have managed to do just a little more than nothing, but they're happy because SanFran Nan, Dingy Harry and Co. are "providing oversight".


What does that look like, exactly? Is that when loudmouth dem congresscritters haul Alberto "I don't make decisions" Gonzales up in front of a committee, make big speeches, and prove... that he's kind of a dumbass? Or is it when SanFran Nan can't be bothered to meet with General Petraeus even while she and her party are trying to pull the rug out from under him? Oh, wait! Was SanFran Nan exercizing oversight when she met with Assad and misrepresented Israeli foreign policy to him?

"The Pathos of Low Expectations", indeed: dems are so mentally feeble that they confuse bitching and moaning with actual accomplishments.