The Silence Of The Lambs Congress
Time to finally turn tough talk into action.
Let’s compare what President Trump has accomplished since the inauguration (with that enormous crowd!) with what congressional Republicans have done.
In the past three weeks, Trump has: staffed the White House, sent a dozen Cabinet nominees to the Senate, browbeat Boeing into cutting its price on a government contract, harangued American CEOs into keeping their plants in the United States, imposed a terrorist travel ban, met with foreign leaders and nominated a Supreme Court justice, among many other things.
(And still our hero finds time to torment the media with his tweets!)
What have congressional Republicans been doing? Scrapbooking?
More than 90 percent of congressional Republicans kept their jobs after the 2016 election, so you can cross “staffing an entire branch of government” off the list. Only the Senate confirms nominees, which they’ve been doing at a snail’s pace, so they’ve got loads of free time – and the House has no excuse at all.
Where’s the Obamacare repeal? Where are the hearings featuring middle-class Americans with no health insurance because it was made illegal by Obamacare?
The House passed six Obamacare repeals when Obama was president and there was no chance of them being signed into law. Back then, Republicans were full of vim and vigor! But the moment Trump became president, the repeals came to a screeching halt.
After the inauguration (gigantic!), House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put out a plan for repealing Obamacare … in 200 days. They actually gave their legislative agenda this inspiring title: “The Two Hundred Day Plan.”
TWO HUNDRED DAYS!
What was in the last six Obamacare repeals? If we looked, would we find “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” carefully typed out 1 million times? Seriously, what does Paul Ryan’s day look like?
This is the Silence of the Lambs Congress. They’re utterly silent, emerging from the House gym or their three-hour lunches only to scream to the press about Trump.
To the delight of the media, these frightened little lambs are appalled by nearly everything Trump does. They’ve been especially throaty about Trump’s temporary travel ban from seven terrorist nations – as designated by the Obama administration (and by everybody else who hasn’t been in a deep freeze in a Finnish crevasse for the past decade).
Just like the six Obamacare repeals, a refugee ban was already written and passed by one house of Congress. Then suddenly: the Silence of the Lambs. McConnell and Ryan are hiding under their desks, as Trump is being attacked from every side.
Way, way back, 15 long months ago, congressional Republicans didn’t have a problem with a _total_ ban on Syrian and Iraqi refugees. Not for a mere three months like Trump’s order – but permanently, unless the director of the FBI, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and the director of national intelligence personally certified that a particular refugee posed no danger to the U.S.
That bill passed the House with an overwhelming, veto-proof majority, including 47 Democrats. Then it went to the Senate to die.
But when President Trump imposed a comparatively mild three-month ban on immigrants from Syria, Iraq and five other terrorist nations, the same Republicans who had voted for a limitless ban on refugees whiled away their days calling reporters to denounce Trump.
A little more than a year ago, Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, bragged in a press release that he had introduced the House’s refugee ban, calling it a bill that would “protect Americans from ISIS.”
But when it came to Trump’s three-month pause, McCaul told the Post that Trump’s order “went too far.”
I guess that ISIS problem just sort of faded away. (Or maybe we should check with Mrs. McCaul, inasmuch as it’s her family money that makes Rep. McCaul one of the richest members of Congress.)
Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., who voted for the House’s permanent refugee ban, demanded that Trump immediately rescind his travel ban, babbling on about the “many, many nuances of immigration policy” – which he must have learned about on one of his congressional jaunts to a Las Vegas casino.
Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., said that Trump’s order “overreaches and undermines our constitutional system.” Evidently, he was suddenly struck by the realization that it’s “not lawful to ban immigrants on the basis of nationality,” despite having voted to ban refugees on the basis of nationality just 15 months earlier. (I’m OK with this, provided the Syrians, Somalis and Yemenis are sent to live on Justin’s street after being told about his support for gay marriage.)
Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Ben Sasse, R-Neb., both rushed to The Washington Post with this refreshingly original point: NOT ALL MUSLIMS ARE TERRORISTS! _Why, thank you, senators! Where would the GOP be without you?_
The Post also quoted spokesmen – spokesmen! – for Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Rob Portman of Ohio and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina complaining about not having been briefed on Trump’s order. The senators themselves were far too busy to talk to the press because they were – wait, what were they doing again? Words With Friends? Decoupage?
Since the election, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., has been mostly occupied polishing his anti-Trump quotations to get a pat on the head from an admiring media. He complained about Trump’s order, saying it was “poorly implemented” and that he had to find out about it from reporters. (I wonder why.)
This is the moment we’ve been waiting for our entire lives, but Republicans in Congress refuse to do the people’s will. Their sole, driving obsession is to see Trump fail.
I am not presently calling for these useless, narcissistic, Trump-bashing Republicans to be defeated in their re-election bids, but they’re on my Watch List. To be cleared, they can start by getting off the phone with The Washington Post and passing one of those six Obamacare repeal bills.