Monday, September 10, 2007


Ed Lasky writes at The American Thinker about how voters in Chicago continue to elect to Congress the representation that most provides them with what they want. Mr. Lasky's outrage speaks well of him personally, but rings a little hollow as political analysis.

Members of Congress (in either chamber, party affiliation notwithstanding) have only one first priority: remain a Member. That's it; all else serves to advance that position. The justification (not to mention outright obfuscation) of measures taken to that end can give the concept of convolution a serious strain as well.

The issue of earmark reform that Mr. Lasky writes about provides a timely example. Seemingly everyone is up in arms about Congressional earmarking of funds into legislative acts having nothing to do with the matter being earmarked.

Not too surprisingly, Congress has responded by "reforming" the earmark process. Since earmarks came into being as a means of advancing Members primary issue in the first place, how naive does one have to be to believe that any attempt to reform such a process would take any form other than to improve its function?

To that end, Congress has acted swiftly and only as to be expected. The membership of both chambers is organised along lines that can only express success to their electoral constituents by being seen to be "doing something" about the issue of the moment. Since Congressional action involves legislation and the Federal budget principally, that's how they "do something" so as to be seen by the voters.

If We The People want to redirect Congressional support away from themselves and back to our joint, national interest, then we might want to re-structure Congress to that end. Since Congress has never been structured toward any other end then it has now, maybe it's We who are the problem and in need of a little structural adjust ourselves. Most likely the problem stems from a combination of the two and the only solace I have to offer in that case is, "This too shall pass".

Be all that as it may, it seems more than a little disingenuous to berate those who only make more efficient the process they can legitimately claim they have been elected to perform. From their strategic position, greater efficiency in the earmark process is a positive reform. It's not even all that convoluted as Congress measures these things.

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