Wednesday, December 13, 2006

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye 109th Congress

If you type the phrase "Miserable Failure" into the Google search engine, you'll get an interesting result. Through a technique known as "google bombing," which exploits the sites ranking feature, the White House biography of George W. Bush appears first on the results list. While it may seem fitting, it is not an honour that should be his alone.

An equally strong case could be made for the exiting 109th Congress.

The 109th embodied the phrase, style over substance, through snide, high profile legislation such as the anti-flag burning amendment" and the "defense of marriage act." No matter what the odds of failure, there was no emotional hot button topic that the 109th wasn't willing to push. Granted, none of the legislation passed, but at least they got their names in the media.

Many in the media have labeled the 109th, the "Do-Nothing Congress," but as CNN Political Research Director Robert Yoon notes today, nothing could be further from the truth. The exiting Congress was responsible for 383 pieces of legislation that were ultimately signed into law. So perhaps labeling their tenure as a miserable failure is a bit too strong.

That is until you find out that over one quarter of the legislation dealt with the naming or renaming of federal buildings!

And since the President signs legislation into law, well... you can extrapolate from there.

Sure things such as Katrina relief, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, inflated gas prices, the ballooning federal deficit and the incredible trade deficit didn't get dealt with. There apparently wasn't enough time!

On the plus side there are now federal buildingss named after Ray Charles, Shirley Chisolm and Rosa Parks. Don't get me wrong, these are three Americans who I greatly admire. Their contributions to our country and culture are well known and in many cases came from tremendous personal sacrifice. They deserve the honour that was bestowed upon them and more.

It's just that I can't help but think that they'd have gladly declined it, if doing so meant that one less family lived in poverty, or that one less child lost a parent to war...