I guess it's true. They say if you live long enough, you pretty much see everything. In the 1950's, then actor, and later President, Ronald Reagan starred in a famous comedy with a chimpanzee entitled, "Bedtime For Bonzo" With Harry Reid overseeing the Senate, another farce is being played out now, and it might as well be called, "Playtime For Prima Donnas!" And frankly, serious thought should be given to nominating chimpanzees to replace them, come next election.
As the country nears what is widely being called a "fiscal cliff," on January 1st, in which oppressive taxes, and deep cuts to essential services will severely impact the entire nation and further stagnate our economy if the Democrats and Republicans don't learn to play nice together, Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (D-NV) deemed the matter insignificant enough to stop and have a daytime version of "movie night" with his colleagues from both sides of the aisle. Meanwhile, while our elected legislative branch recreated in the middle of a work day, scarcely no one other than the Senate janitor was holding down the fort to mind the country's urgent business.
Reid invited director, and star of the movie, "Lincoln," Steven Spielberg and Daniel Day Lewis to watch the film with the senators. After reviewing several news reports, I have yet to extract what the meaningful purpose of this alleged exercise was. Reid then strongly recommended the movie to the public. I saw "Lincoln," myself, and I wholeheartedly agree, it was a worthwhile movie, and I even plan on seeing it again, but that aside, a movie rating coming from a US Senator (and obviously wannabe Hollywood critic) while on the job strikes me somehow as unethical, but then again, so is "recess" and "playtime" for adult leaders of the free world on the public dime! I can only guess that the sandbox would not hold 100 adults or perhaps the kitchen ran out of milk and cookies! And was nap time provided during intermission?
And speaking of "refreshments," the added irony to this fiasco is that a Senate Rules Committee actually had to convene and grant a waiver allowing the Senators to enjoy popcorn and snacks during their viewing. More wasted time and treasure of the already fiscally struggling taxpayers, some of whom might well be forced to have popcorn for supper tonight, and without a movie.
A Real Clear Politics poll currently lists the favorability rating of the US Congress at a whopping 18%, for reasons that bewilder me, above the single digits it was in not all that long ago. Still, when you exclude the members themselves, family, friends and staff, that means that roughly 12 people in the whole country think these prima donnas are actually doing a good job. When you further weed out those impaired by a marijuana induced stupor in the states that just recently legalized that activity, or those so clueless they thought they were voting on a reality TV show, the true number is closer to 5 people. Wikipedia lists the current salary of a US Senator at about $174,000.00 as of 2009. Call me crazy, but for that kind of coin, juxtaposed against an uncalled for $16 trillion deficit and an ever shrinking US dollar in an unstable world, these guys can go see "Lincoln," "The Hobbit," Or "Bugs Bunny" for that matter on their own time and their own dime! Euclid I'm not, but how 5 people can compose a majority to keep re-electing these haughty, utterly narcissistic and worthless overpaid gargoyles to Washington is a mystery to me.
The entire federal government now is consumed with celebrity status, and President Obama is the worst offender. Whether its with athletes or celebrities, he's been rubbing elbows, hobnobbing and wiping the drool off his chin with a deer-in-the-headlights kind of gaze and awe on his mug since he was inaugurated, and sometimes, when far more pressing and even dire matters were ongoing. The rest of the time, he has actually engaged in far more productive presidential activities, like playing golf and basketball, and enjoying several extravagant vacations.
His jet-setting cronies in the Congress are no better. This "Lincoln" travesty is one but of countless examples in which members of Congress have publicly schmoozed athletes and celebrities, (Lobbyists are now a given!) and even have called in celebrities as expert witnesses to testify in committee hearings in matters in which they have little, if any experience, but starred in a movie of the same subject, or simply have widely acclaimed name recognition and an opinion to spew. (And maybe autographs to offer, once CSPAN leaves the room, for the senatorial spouses and kiddies back home!)
As this incessant pandering and star-gazing continues, little to nothing gets accomplished, and it's not like these guys don't have anything better to do, and yet the country widely and directly suffers from the annual 6-digit-lack of work ethic from each of its so-called "representatives."
In an ABC news report, Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) questioned what is wrong with strident political debate today as it also existed over 100 years ago and was so shown in the movie. Well, Senator Brown, I'm all for strident political debate, so long as the debaters all keep their eye on the ball and not a movie screen, and that there is an actual result to that debate at some point, and in this case, preferably before the new year. And as you guys wash down your remaining pop corn kernels with your soft drinks, thanks to your Rules Committee waiver, and your work-time matinee, the clock is still ticking for the rest of us out here in the real world, outside of the glamorous and out of touch DC beltway-vacuum you and your pals "work" (for lack of a better term) in.
But then again, perhaps something has changed in the workings and priorities of our government since that time.
I just can't envision Thaddeus Stevens ever inviting renowned actor John Wilkes Booth to testify in a congressional committee hearing regarding his national vision for gun control laws.