Has the Khmer Rouge Taken Over Congress?

Pol Pot, Tea Party Darling

Pol Pot, Tea Party Darling

The news from Congress is so very strange these days that I am beginning to think that they have been taken over by some extreme guerrilla faction such as the Khmer Rouge or the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path). The Senate is about to host a three- or four-day pajama party—all night long!—just so they the GOP can express their snit about Harry Reid invoking the “nuclear option” on their right to filibuster Obama’s nominees. As for the House of Representatives, Speaker John Boehner is now aiming daggers at special interest groups that want him to oppose the budget deal put together by Paul Ryan in the House and Senator Patty Murray … even before the details have been released.

Why does it seem that the news from Congress is always bad? The legislative branch of government seems to be permanently broken.

But how does one fix it? Get Mitch McConnell a new burnished turtle shell? Get Boehner a better grade of liquor? Or more handsome and complaisant pages for the Southern senators? What about changing the cooking oil used to make Freedom Fries? (It’s been the same old stuff since Ike was President.) Softer toilet paper for the Congressional stalls? Something’s just gotta give.

One cannot run a government in which two of the three branches of government (yes, I’m including the Supreme Court) are dysfunctional. As Lincoln said:

A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.

We don’t have slavery any more, just a lot of snarky behind-the-scenes racism. Maybe Lincoln was right: One way or the other, Congress will cease to be so divided. But before that happens, we’ll all need some industrial-strength antacids,