We journeyed to Capital Hill today. It was the day the Congress changed hands and Nancy Pelosi was elected to serve as Speaker of the House. We watched the ceremonies from Congressman Murtha’s office. He has a wonderful staff and they made us feel right at home.
We saw many old friends and made a few new ones. There was a real sense of ‘things about to change’ and I enjoyed it. What I did not enjoy was the talking head repartee that preceded and followed the exciting activities.
Where the Congress seems to have changed from right to left (or I prefer a little left of center) the media have not changed at all. As a matter of fact, I thought the most accurate assessment was made by a supposed political expert who finished her diatribe (that means harangue or invective) about the bad old days with a series of “blah blah blahs.” I mean she actually said “blah blah blah”—and she gets paid for that. Where did I go wrong? I say blah blah blah all the time.
Anyway, it’s the same old crap. “So and so” definitely lost the election because he did such and such. It’s kind of like someone saying Jerry Ford definitely lost the election because he pardoned Nixon. That discounts the possibility that people just wanted change. They saw all Republicans as business as usual and they no longer liked the business. There is no ‘definitely’ about politics or political elections except that you know the talking heads are definitely going to be jerks. I used to tell my students that regardless of polls or predictors there was no way to know who would win or lose. Sometimes it’s as simple as one spouse having a fight with their partner and deciding there is no way in hell they are going to vote for the same candidate. Sometimes it’s as complicated as liking one issue and not another. Oft times it comes down to a gut feeling or the hope that candidate they choose can still offer some truth.
But that’s not what I wanted to blob about – although it comes close. Tonight when I was watching the news—Charley Gibson is my anchor of choice. And why wouldn’t he be. He is likeable, honest and a real news person. I never feel like his main goal is to entertain. He actually appears to know what he’s talking about. He seems to know something. And when I am spending 30 minutes listening to anything, I’d like to feel that I have either learned something or at the very least, my time was well invested. I know, I am going on and on but I’m saying something nice and it is so rare. Charley was interviewing three newly elected Democratic Representatives about their position on the war. He was interested in whether they would support the President in his new Iraq policy. (What I can’t figure out is why it should be considered new since sending troops into a senseless war is something we’ve been doing for three years. But let’s not quibble about the rhetoric.) He interviewed Heath Shuler of North Carolina, Nancy Boyda of Kansas and Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania. They all agreed that sending more troops into Iraq was not something they wanted to do. However, it was so breathtakingly unbelievable I wanted to share it with you. Below is the exchange:
Gibson: Would you vote in favor of money to support another 20,000 to 40,000 troops in Iraq?
Boyda: I think we're going to vote to support what the commander in chief and head of military asks to do. At least, I am certainly going to vote to support it.
Gibson: If he wants the surge, he'll get it.
Boyda: Yes... He is the commander in chief, Charlie. We don't get that choice. Congress doesn't make that decision.
Gibson: But the polls would indicate, and indeed, so many voters when they came out of the ballot box, said, "We're voting because we want something done about the war and we want the troops home."
Boyda: They should have thought about that before they voted for President Bush not once, but twice.
What do you think would have happened if in the campaign she confessed that although she was against the war, Congress couldn’t do anything about it so she would continue to vote to support it. And further, we must all do what the Commander in Chief wants us to do. If we didn’t want to follow his lead we should not have voted for him a second time. Do you think she would have been elected on a “Congress must do what the President wants” ticket. “We don’t get that choice... ” Is she kidding? Did she take Congress 101 before she was sworn in? Did her staff brief her about what to say on the ABC news? I thought we elected Representatives to represent US. Maybe I’m mistaken but unfortunate as it can be, I think the Congress has some power with regard to war and stupid expenditures. I even think we have gotten to the place in this country where not supporting the President’s macho folly, does not mean we don’t support the troops. I think it’s probably quite the contrary.
There are probably five people who think we should send more troops to Iraq. And I mean five people in the whole world: McCain, Lieberman, Bush, Cheney, and.... there must be one more... If she really believes all the things she said tonight then maybe she should go have a conversation with Mr. Murtha. Maybe he should take her by the shoulders and shake some sense into her. Maybe, she’s actually the 6th person on that ‘whole world’ list and she’ll be waving goodbye with, instead of to, her Commander in Cheif. We’re just sayin... Iris