And they say Democrats have no ideas and don’t stand for anything. After watching the spectacle in which the Republican-run Congress is engaged it is obvious that these folks’ ideas consist of rubber-stamping even the most outrageous presidential behaviors and shamelessly supporting lobbyist-inspired legislation. In the matter of domestic-related surveillance Senator Roberts and the rather inaptly-named Intelligence Committee he chairs, have just phonied up a response to the president’s warrantless wire tapping by allowing him to continue his unfettered intrusions under the rubric of requiring him to inform a congressional subcommittee in a more timely manner and to obtain a FISA warrant after 45 days.
The subcommittee favors Republicans which is standard for committees formed by the majority. However, one would have hoped in this instance, that this particular committee would not have been constructed along partisan lines. One would also have hoped that members of both parties subscribed to the notion that if it isn’t right for the president to go around the FISA law, it isn’t any more acceptable for Congress to codify his ability to do just that.
Senator Roberts has stood in the way of a many things about which the American people are curious, one of which was the final analysis of the 9/11 Commission regarding national preparedness on that fateful day, the other of which is a report detailing the genesis of information provided to Congress before the invasion of Iraq. Both of these matters were stalled so as not to intrude on the presidential election, a rotten idea to which the Democrats acquiesced after being assured that such reports would come before Congress after the election – – so far nothing doing in either case thanks to Mr. Roberts.
One of the other great ideas Republicans embrace is allowing lobbyists to write legislation they later bully through Congress. This is no doubt a time-saving method for developing bills, but it hardly serves the American people well. Senator Santorum is, from all reports, still attending his regular meetings with those K-Street lobbyists he insisted he wasn’t aligned with in the first blush of the Abramoff scandals, and Congress has before it now a bill that must surely be the work of lobbyists for the food industry.
Deviously maintaining that uniformity is its goal, The House has passed a law that would supersede existing state laws regarding labeling standards about substances in and treatment of foods. Uniformity may indeed be a worthy objective but not if it waters down or withholds important information. Basically, in any rational consideration of the reasons for passing such a bill, one has to conclude that it is designed solely to help the food industry cut corners in its labeling procedures, both in terms of having to adhere to differing standards in various localities and, more generally, in terms of full disclosure about substances affecting the public’s health and well being.
Lobbying and total partisan control threaten our national interests. Limiting lobbyists’ gifts and meals is hardly a bump in the road for powerful influence peddlers as they continue to write laws and fund campaigns. If the majority in Congress simply rewards itself and the president by falsely claiming to own issues of national security and embracing narrow self-serving principles they call values, the country will continue to be ill-served.
We should all be calling and writing our representatives to voice our disapproval of the way our country is being run, a consensus already reflected in national polls. We can understand Senator Roberts’ approach to things; after all he comes from Kansas. But he only represents the congressional majority, not the majority of the American people.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *