So, all the talk of the need for "congressional oversight" for the drone program has got me to thinking about our most talked about and dysfunctional branch of government - Congress.
And while I agree with many of the arguments that have been made in favor of establishing clear guidelines for the use of drones, this diary is about the role of Congress, and how I feel that the Obama presidency has actually increased Congress' power and in fact forced the body to slowly move toward becoming a governing body instead of just a lobbying body.
President Obama has actually received quite a bit of criticism because of his preference to give broad outlines for the policies he would like to see enacted, but leaving the actual drafting of legislation to . . . wait for it . . . the legislative branch.
Before President Obama, many members of Congress seemed to be quite comfortable waiting for the Executive branch to send them legislation, often pre-written with the help of lobbyists and interest groups.
In fact, many members of Congress loudly complained (and many still do) that they needed more "leadership" from the White House in order to fulfill their constitutional role of writing and passing legislation. Can you imagine any other job where you could simply sit back and wait for someone else to "inspire" you to do your job?
Many in Congress lamented having to alter planned vacations and breaks to actually . . . gasp . . . address the nations problems by passing laws.
When many encouraged President Obama to just ignore Congress and raise the debt limit on his own, he refused, forcing Congress to do THEIR jobs so he could do his.
Yes, time and again, it has been President Obama who has been asking Congress to pass legislation to address climate change, immigration reform, job creation, unemployment, and so much more.
Previous President's often would change their agenda to fit the votes available, where as President Obama has pressed ahead with his vision and legislative objectives, even when the votes were not on his side, and may in fact never be.
Although the previous Congress was one of the least productive in history, it was not because of a run away executive brach seeking to usurp their authority, it was because of runaway Congressional corruption, featuring lifetime politicians putting their own interests ahead of the country they pledged to serve.
Even as we now see poll after poll showing that our "representative" Congress is against so many things, like sensible gun control legislation, that their constituents are for, it has become clearer and clearer that many of our Congress men and women are simply not up to the task of governing.
All of the preening and posturing at so called congressional "hearings" only reinforces the feeling in the public that Congress is a broken institution.
But ultimately, I maintain that for all of its faults, Congress will ultimately benefit from having its flaws and arcane procedures - like the filibuster - brought into the consciousness of the average American.
It is actually President Obama belief in checks and balances and the Congress that has led to so much frustration, gridlock, but I believe in the long run, progress in the workings of our legislative branch.
Make no mistake, President Obama's first term proved that Congress can no longer exist as a body that simply serves its own ends. The American people expect them to do something for the pay they are receiving and will no longer accept career politicians going along to get along.
And when the history books are written, I think President Barack Obama, and his dogged detirmination to force Congress to fulfill their constitutional duties, will be one of the primary reasons for the slight glimmers of hope we see in the workings of Congress today.