Who’s to Blame for Congress?


If you think Congress is doing a terrible job – and polls show that the overwhelming majority of us do – who's to blame?  The Republican leadership?  The Tea Party followers that took over the House GOP last year?  The Democratic opposition?  President Obama?

The answer may be all of the above, but that's only half the story.

If the Congress is so bad, don't just blame the politicians but also those who sent them to Washington and keep them there.

That's the advice of Rep. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) who announced his retirement this week after 16 terms.

"[C]riticisms of the Congress are often legitimate but incomplete, because they act as if there was some autonomous entity here called the Congress into which people somehow parachuted and were inflicting these terrible pains on the rest of the country," he said in an interview on MSNBC's Hardball Wednesday evening.

"The fact is," he went on, citing former Speaker Tip O'Neill,

nobody serves in the House of Representatives who didn't win an election.  There's no appointment…. Everybody is here because he or she got more votes than anybody else in the last election.  In other words, as the public is critical of Congress, they (have) got to include some self-criticism because they are the reason we are here.

You know, if you moved into a hotel and — and the guy banged up your car when he parked it and the bellhop lost your luggage and the clerk couldn`t find your reservation, and the laundry wasn`t done when you got to the room, you wouldn`t say, my, what a strange collection of incompetent people. You`d say who is running this place? Who hired these people? Well, in the Congress the "who" who hired these people is the electorate.

And don't think you get a pass because you didn't vote in the last election.  You have no one to blame for the consequences of that election but yourself.

As Pogo said in a now-classic comic strip, "We have met the enemy and he is us."

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.