Maturity: Dems lock GOP out of committee room

Posted on October 20, 2009


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In the latest example of how seriously lacking in leadership Congress has become, one needs to look no further than the actions of Rep. Edolphus Towns, Democratic chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, who locked the Republican members out of the committee room so they couldn’t meet there when Democrats weren’t present. His reasoning: “They don’t know how to behave.”

Exactly how the Republicans aren’t behaving adds more eye-roll factor to the story. Apparently Towns is upset at numerous attempts by ranking Republican Rep. Darrell Issa to ridicule the majority for failing to look into Countrywide Mortgage’s reported sweetheart deals to VIP’s. The Hill describes the situation fairly well:

For months Towns has refused Republican requests to subpoena records in the case. Last Thursday Committee Republicans, led by Issa, were poised to force an open vote on the subpoenas at a Committee mark-up meeting. The mark-up was abruptly canceled. Only Republicans showed up while Democrats chairs remained empty.

Republicans charged that Towns cancelled the meeting to avoid the subpoena vote. Democrats first claimed the mark-up was canceled due to a conflict with the Financial Services Committee. Later they said it was abandoned after a disagreement among Democratic members on whether to subpoena records on the mortgage industry’s political contributions to Republicans.

A GOP committee staffer captured video of Democrats leaving their separate meeting in private chambers after the mark-up was supposed to have begun. He spliced the video to other footage of the Democrats’ empty chairs at the hearing room, set it to the tune of “Hit the Road, Jack” and posted it on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s minority webpage, where it remained as of press time.

The lockout is retaliation for the embarrassment, which seems a bit petty and childish for the behavior of supposed grown men and legislators. I’m sure you could play the moral equivalence card and legitimately say that Republicans pulled the same kinds of antics when they were in power, but that defence is itself immature as it essentially boils down to, “Well, they’re just as bad as we are!”

It would be my belief that a party that was swept to power in 2006 promising to end the culture of corruption and usher in a new era of civility and bipartisanship would aim for the high road and eschew grade-school tactics like this. Unfortunately, the episode is just another example of the disingenuousness of Nancy Pelosi when she promised the nation the most ethical Congress in history.

At the very least, America deserves a Congress that acts like grown-ups. Seems like quite a few of them need a nap … or a time-out.

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Posted in: News, Politics