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There are reasons that pond scum is more popular than congress these days.

1] Do you expect them to solve problems?
2] Do you expect them to debate in good faith?
3] Assume responsibility?

or

1] Do you just want them to pontificate?
2] Just let their staff negotiate with the lobbyists to determine what becomes law?
3] Just let them worry about the next election cycle?

If you want the first set then there are sadly few that will meet your expectations.

From an interesting article that is in the Washington Post today where the conclusion is

The culture of Congress is the problem. It took more than three decades for this culture to evolve, and it is now deeply entrenched. That is why the current Congress is unable to function. It is revealing that the only issue now offering any hope for compromise is immigration — because many Republicans fear the political consequences of failing to act. Once again, politics trumps policy.

This dysfunctional culture won’t be altered in an election cycle or two. Because of it, our Congress is broken.

Some observations from the article
The men and women who now run for Congress have special features. Most of them are much wealthier than their constituents
Their views of what their constituents really want are distorted from lack of rapport, they tend to listen only to those who either have money themselves, or sometimes to those that shout the loudest.
Surprisingly few have strong policy interests or experience.
With the current modi operandi they are unlikely to acquire either.
Most are willing to spend a day or two or three each week asking strangers for money on the telephone, a demeaning but obligatory exercise.
Those strangers also tend to be from one sector of the population, those with financial clout.

Some might think that voters have low expectations when they turn out to vote. yet the most successful politicians are those that motivate large sections of the population to turn out yet again. Only to be disappointed yet again by the institution as a whole.

Perhaps this is why we expect so much from a President, too much in my opinion and this is not how the system was meant to function.

Nevertheless, I saw how Congress actively undermines the best of legislative practices
The glaring example is the silent filibuster, but there are others
Overall, the big policy questions were mostly settled by the administration.
Lack of curiosity in reality
Why? Because large, bipartisan majorities in both chambers never understood the arcane financial issues at the heart of regulatory reform, nor tried to master the subject.
So the result
Ted Kennedy said as much in his 2009 memoir. “Ninety-five percent of the nitty-gritty work of drafting [bills] and even negotiating [their final form] is now done by staff,” he wrote, marking “an enormous shift of responsibility over the past forty or fifty years.”
Who do these staffers turn to?
and hearing out the recommendations and complaints of hundreds of experts, lobbyists and affected parties.
The conclusion?
Very few lawmakers left fingerprints on the legislation. Most of them voted for or against Dodd-Frank — nearly all along party lines — without remotely understanding its provisions
I would say this final point is deliberate, how can you be held accountable for something you had no hand in writing; leaving you free to obfuscate.

There is a reason why the President is three times as popular as congress as a whole, people like to hear clear and defined proposals to solve the problems of the day. Hence the continued rise of Executive power and the damaging obstruction and petty squabbling of congress. Hell if you vote for the same thing 37 times [repeal Obamacare] knowing it is going nowhere people start to see through  the pretense.

We are not a naturally divided nation many of us can still see the logic within policies we don't agree with if they are based on data/facts and written in good faith; rather those that bring the greatest financial reward for the upcoming election.

We saw the greatest example of this when trying to extend the background checks for gun purchases. Financial concerns outweighed the logic.

The only way we can start to roll back this culture is through campaign finance reform and by holding politicians accountable through their real performance rather than how well they perform on stage.

Now congress has no interest in passing any such law [apparently begging for money makes them feel wanted/important] the only way is to make them feel threatened in their tenure. Gerrymandering needs to be properly addressed as it is also a root cause of the present dysfunction.

I expect the President to have a vision and fight for that vision

I expect congress to propose solutions.

The President/Executive should not have to do all the heavy lifting, nor be allowed to do so.

There is one group not fulfilling their constitutional obligations and Americans are well aware just who that group is.

Congress Less Popular than Cockroaches, Traffic Jams
The only people that can change this situation?

The voter, if you see your congressperson just making noise and not getting anything done, vote for someone else, primary if necessary, however the white noise created by monied interests to polarize the population makes this ever less likely.

Money drives the corruption and dysfunction of  our political system and needs to be controlled. Without real Campaign Finance reform the system will remain broken.

It is time to be honest, has your congressperson actually done anything worthwhile themselves except pontificate? If not, elect someone who will, if they in turn fail, try a new one. It is time to stop the gravy-train of reelection without performance.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar. Something is broken and giving more (9+ / 0-)

    power and responsibility to a President is not the solution.

    "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

    by LaFeminista on Fri May 24, 2013 at 12:31:08 AM PDT

    •  Look up mugwump - it should mention Michaud (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      unfangus

      My Congressman is a waste.  He is a mugwump, a mediocrity accepted with a "meh".  I used to work with some of his neighbors, who described his distinguishing characteristic as taking orders well, although they said he should not be entrusted with a job much more complex than buying doughnuts.  I think I am not alone in giving him my vote through repeated election cycles because of his Democratic party label, and because the Republicans continue to offer opponents who are worse.  Good followers can serve usefully in a party guided by democratic principles, so that the voters get what they think they are voting to support.  As this diary notes, that basic relationship is indeed broken.  

      What has happened instead of an insurgency within the Maine Democratic Party has been a proliferation of independent candidates.  You can see the result in our governor's mansion - Paul LePage.  Gawd awful doesn't begin to describe him, and not coincidently that carries over to a failure of the legacy parties to effectively offer real accountability.  The current effort to change that focuses on requiring runoff elections.  I am not sure that this will work better or worse than an insurgency, but it seems worth a try to me.

  •  as usual (3+ / 0-)

    jeff merkley is taking the lead...

    http://www.jeffmerkley.com/...

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Fri May 24, 2013 at 02:42:10 AM PDT

    •  Members of congress should realize that without (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite, Laurence Lewis, Musial

      reform they will be puppets and at the beck and call of their sponsors, no doubt many would be content with that considering the perks of the job.

      Time for voters to do their duty and look at what their elected officials actually do rather than what they say

      "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Arundhati Roy

      by LaFeminista on Fri May 24, 2013 at 03:01:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But even if Congress were to be healed (3+ / 0-)

        we would still have an executive branch inured of overreach and sadly lacking in honest enforcement as well as a judiciary hell bent on protecting the "constitutional rights" of its corporate "citizens".  Our three legged governmental stool will not be repaired by the repair of one leg alone.

        The question is can we repair all three simultaneously or is it time for a new stool?

        It has always seemed strange to me...The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. - John Steinbeck, Cannery Row

        by ovals49 on Fri May 24, 2013 at 03:31:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  change when: feel the heat or see the light (4+ / 0-)

    Dick Durban said this years ago

    This is when legislators change

    Have it on a post it on the wall for almost a decade

    Still True

    Feel the Heat, or See the Light

    Since the light is supplied by the oligarchs, it looks like we are left to raise the heat

    Chris Hedges has called what we have a corporate coup d'etat and says that the main option now is civil disobedience

    This weekend we can March Against Monsanto

    http://www.march-against-monsanto.com/

    We don't need 50,000 people in DC, we need millions and millions out in the street across the US

    And we need to be safe about it because the security state is ready to beat us up and arrest us

    I have never been arrested and I am 70 years old. Even though I demonstrated at Berkeley in the 60's, took 40 year break from politics and have been active since 2003, I have not been bold enough

    My first choice would have been mountain top removal but it probably will be Fracking here in Ohio

  •  NYT: Citybank writing finance bills (3+ / 0-)

    Thought this might pertain to the topic at hand:

    Bank’s Lobbyists Help in Drafting Financial Bills

    One bill that sailed through the House Financial Services Committee this month — over the objections of the Treasury Department — was essentially Citigroup’s, according to e-mails reviewed by The New York Times. The bill would exempt broad swathes of trades from new regulation.

    In a sign of Wall Street’s resurgent influence in Washington, Citigroup’s recommendations were reflected in more than 70 lines of the House committee’s 85-line bill. Two crucial paragraphs, prepared by Citigroup in conjunction with other Wall Street banks, were copied nearly word for word. (Lawmakers changed two words to make them plural.)

    (Emphasis mine.)

    This is not what we send them to DC to do.

    "If you can't take their money, eat their food, drink their booze and then vote against them, you have no business being up there."

    by Betty Pinson on Fri May 24, 2013 at 05:47:50 AM PDT

  •  Left out a politicized & corrupt Supreme Court (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LaFeminista

    Although the current incarnation of Congress is more than sad enough.

    DC is a cesspool through and through.

    Suspend disbelief. It's gonna get confusing as hell soon enough.

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Fri May 24, 2013 at 08:21:58 AM PDT

  •  My Representative is a Republican (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LaFeminista

    ...specifically, John "Mom and Pop Tax Breaks for Big Oil" Shimkus, so I don't expect anything out of him at all.

    My two Senators are a Democrat (Dick Durbin) who supports President Obama's War on Social Security and a Republican (Mark Kirk) who got elected because his Democratic opponent was tainted. Durbin talks cheap when it comes to campaign finance reform, and I don't expect anything out of Kirk at all on campaign finance reform.

    If it takes a village to change a state, it'll take a city to change America!

    by DownstateDemocrat on Fri May 24, 2013 at 08:54:48 AM PDT

  •  Addressing the wrong crowd (0+ / 0-)

    People who are signed on to Daily Kos get it.  They actually are information seekers who have some discipline learned in school that can be applied to figuring out what is going on.

    The problem is that those people who should be exhorted to vote for more critical thinking in their elected representatives are not themselves open to that way of thinking.  

    If you look at the way the population we have gets its information, we see that the small town and rural areas that have no independent media and the least diversity are the most subject to propaganda being foisted on them through their churches and through right wing talk radio.  

    If they go online and read blogs, it isn't Daily Kos they are looking for.  

    How do you get people who are essentially lazy when it comes to critical information seeking, to become more assertive as citizens ought to be?

    That is a harder question.  You can't just tell these people to take on habits that they are not even very much exposed to.

    Communities with more critical thinkers can get more organized and there are probably quite a few swing vote districts where this could make a difference.  

    Unfortunately, you can't just tell people they ought to be better organized.  

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Fri May 24, 2013 at 09:57:08 AM PDT

  •  You identified THE single issue that drives all (0+ / 0-)

    the others. The breakthrough is in voters getting Congress to listen. This happens through single issue voting. It takes voters being willing to make getting big money out of politics the single factor determining the fate of a Congressional member at election time. The process itself will clear up the issues of executive and judicial overreach. The Constitution gives Congress a lot of power it isn't using. A Congress accountable to voters can clean up the corrupt executive and judicial branches, end wars, tax corporations, convert to renewables, end poverty, that is, act like a real government like the one we used to have before Buckley v. Valeo. The low esteem of Congress and the collapse of the middle class started when Justice Powell and Nixon's Court raised the ante on Congress forcing members to compete for big investors. Arizona Free Enterprise Club recently ended parity between publicly and privately financed candidates, thereby locking in plutocracy.

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