Even the conservative Washington Times agrees (via OTB):
It’s official: Congress ended its least-productive year in modern history after passing 80 bills — fewer than during any other session since year-end records began being kept in 1947.
Furthermore, an analysis by The Washington Times of the scope of such activities as time spent in debate, number of conference reports produced and votes taken on the House and Senate floors found that Congress set a record for legislative futility by accomplishing less in 2011 than any other year in history.
When you’re the worst in modern history, the campaign ads write themselves.
Odie Hugh Manatee
People want shit to get done and getting nothing done is nothing to brag about. I’m sure that the R party will spin this as having stopped Obama’s Agenda but I think their audience is shrinking.
Obama needs to go back to soshulist marxist dictator school, and learn how to dictate some more better. Only 80 bills passed by the US Duma! Jeebus, Lenin must have the restless leg syndrome spinning in his dirt bed.
A few show trials, and long walks down by the river for congress critters should whip them into line.
To the Washington Times, it’s not a bug, it’s a feature.
This is great news for Tim Tebow.
@Odie Hugh Manatee:
Not to mention that McConnell helpfully announced on teevee that their primary goal was to get the near blah guy out of office. Time to dust that snippet off and give old fishface some screen time.
But, both sides do it & if we would all just get all bipartisany everything would be wonderful again.
I’d like to think the Dems could leverage this into control of the House again but am confident that our masters control over the news will ensure that the those people not paying attention will “know” that both parties are to blame.
The Other Bob
I worked for a couple state legislators.
Legislators are often judged on the numbers of bills they pass, which is not a good thing. We don’t want these people, who rarely know good public policy when they see it, constantly re-writing statute.
The public also complains about legislator’s long “vacations”. I say keep them away from the capitol so they do as little damage as possible.
@Odie Hugh Manatee: They’re spinning it as “We’re trying to get things done, but the Democrats insist on pushing things that poll well (that is, what people want) versus pushing things that can pass (that is, what our corporate overlords want).”
The first point of data, or head to head with prospective GOP candidates is next to useless this far out, with all the media focused on the GOP bloodbath of a primary.
The second data point is not useless as a broad barometer, of likely deflating gooper enthusiasm from having only to pick their candidate from a gaggle of misanthropic morons.
@Odie Hugh Manatee:
2010 electorate begs to differ.
For our FoPs (friends of Paul)
Ron Paul feels very strongly that taxpayer-funded first class airfare is protected in the Constitution, as the Founding Fathers intended.
Rovian voter suppression strategy: 50 republican debates drowning out intelligent conversation about real issues develops hopelessness and apathy
Yes, but sooner or later, they are going to have to pick one. Then it’s time for Obama et al, to go to work on that pick.
Does the Washington Times take “bill inflation” into account? Unless I was misinformed, Congress can no longer parade endless, feel-good-yet-empty resolutions onto the floor honoring this person, that person, this concept, that bird, etc. Those inflated the numbers quite seriously.
Some years ago, I read a very small book by (I think) Eugene McCarthy in which he offered a bit of his wisdom regarding Congress and how voters and constituents could better judge their representatives’ efficacy. One of his main points was to stop judging them by their attendance and voting percentages, instead focus on *what* they were voting on, and whether were they present when things mattered since so many votes were taken on those empty-calorie resolutions.
Having had Gene as my Senator I would be very dubious of anything he would recommend. He was not an intellectual though he played on on TV. His ego blotted out the sun and he was not friend of good governance.
@Schlemizel: Fair enough, especially because part of his point seemed to stem from criticism of his own attendance numbers. I did this this particular point was wise – even if he himself didn’t live up to it.
I was reminded of it during the peak period of Joe Lieberman bed-fouling, where he would vote against the Dems when they really needed his vote, say on cloture, and vote with them on the main bill because he knew that most people would only see the second result – or vice versa.
Funny thing is that Drudge was pushing this yesterday but with a photo of Harry Reid!! Good luck blaming this on the Dems after the Tea Party & the GOP spent the last 12 months claiming completely victory in taking over the House.
@General Stuck: I agree that the head to head polls are useless and not only for the reason you stated. They are also useless because head to head, nation wide is not how presidents are made. It’s all about the EV’S and I just don’t see how Romney changes these numbers to equal 270. When you play around with the various EV calculators that are out there his task is truly a huge one. I just don’t see anyway he gets more votes than Granpa McCain. It will be fun to see him try though.
I wonder who the VP will be? That’s gonna be good for some laughs for sure.
Tone in DC
I blogwhored this downthread, but before these numbers came out a group of Nashville bloggers had a conversation with Rep. Jim Cooper about dysfunction in Washington. I posted his take on the issue, and offered my own in today’s post.
Coop is a Blue Dog, naturally he thinks we all need to just be more bipartisan and stuff. That sounds great on paper to an old-line Democrat I’m sure but I think it’s a position steeped in denial.
Funny you should mention Joe – Gene is exactly who I thought of when Joe started acting up.
But it is true that you need to look at what the vote is actually on. Unfortunately they have made it difficult to figure out, particularly in the Senate.
I would maintain that attendance is important but digging into the actual impact of their individual votes is tough.
Odie Hugh Manatee
That was then, this is now.
That’s change baby! :)
Every wingnut in my neighborhood would tell you that a congress that does nothing is an ideal congress.
ETA: Hold on. No, wingnut is to restrictive a category. Include low infos in there too.
My boss sent a politically laced email about being sorry to see Huntsman drop out. He’s not a Republican, but he is a non-observant, ethnically Jewish person.
I didn’t know another way to tell him that a plurality of the republican party is quite simply fascist at this point without using that term, so I went ahead and said so.
Why do these people have to be so offensive, that even describing them in objective terms is offensive?
It wasn’t me. Honest.
@Jewish Steel: I should hope not. I’d like to think if my boss was posting here, I’d know!
Although I’ve never met him face to face, and we don’t even live in the same state, so there’s a lot I don’t know.
They’re willing to pay 535 people a bloated salary on their taxpayer dollars to do nothing? FEEL TEH ECONOMIC CONSERVATISM!!
But the Democrats never passed a budget when they were in control! Also this is Obama’s fault because he’s in charge of the entire government.
@gaz: You’re fired, libtard!
@Yutsano: If my neighbors could think through their actions to their consequences I suspect our tax rate would be higher and we’d have nicer stuff in this town.
@Jewish Steel: LOL!
My boss would append that post with an adorbs picture of his dog. To soften the blow.
And he wouldn’t use the “word” “libtard”
Nice try though =) heh.
Not to mention that lists of all the polls show Obama ahead 9 times out of 10, but boy do they trumpet the occasional poll where Romney’s ahead within margin of error.
@Southern Beale: I read your post and came away a bit depressed to tell the truth. I was hoping for a more positive take on the U.S. Congress. I guess the only real solution is to somehow get all that money out of the legislating process. Heard Bernie Sanders this past Sunday on Chris Hayes’ show talking about his proposed Constitutional Amendment to retilt the playing field back towards the people. He noted that before Citizens United, congresspersons were already nervous enough before a critical vote, but now with CU they are petrified that when they return home they will be met by attack ads playing all over the TV in their districts and states.
@ploeg: Exactly. The only thing Republicans want our government to do is declare war–either military or culture will do.
I already see the flaw in the plan.
The 2010 elections have done their job. Riechtwingnutz aren’t happy as a Kenyun $ociali$t President still sits in the West Wing, but at least he isn’t passing his commie crap.
It’s funny, the Teahaddists ran on this, they’ve gotten it and thought it would bring them a sweep in 2012. As it turns out the surprised public and under achieving Commerce communities are unhappy with the results.
A pox on both of them. What did they expect when they elected a bunch of Luddites? I wouldn’t care so much but I have to live amongst their fuck ups and I’m tired of their crap.
The Moar You Know
This is in no way a problem for the GOP. They’re stopping the Marxist onslaught of our nation’s Dear Blah Leader. Mention this in a debate and you’ll watch the entire audience leap to their feet and cheer.
That EV calculator is a really interesting tool; thanks for the link.
Things would have to trend differently than now for Romney to win, but I could certainly see plausible paths to victory. All of them involved picking up either OH or PA, as well as winning all of the surprise states Obama picked off last time (eg, NC, VA, IN), as well as FL.
The thing is, even a relatively modest change in the trend could change the picture across the board, no?
I am a pessimist at heart. It’s the Irish blood.
The first session of Congress passed, I believe, at least 27 different bills (none of which were naming post offices). The third session of Congress saw more than 80 bills passed – if you’re wondering, that’s the session that ran from 1790 to 1791. Yeah.
I would add that the polling showing Obama about even with Romney actually makes me feel pretty good. Right now, outside of GOP primary voters and blog fanatics, Romney is really just “generic Republican.” He hasn’t been defined yet for the general electorate. And in hard economic times, I would expect “generic Republican” to be doing a lot better than 50-50. A good place for Obama to start.
There are two really central questions:
1. Which way will the upper Northwest and Rustbelt go? (Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Penn)
2. Which way will the upper South go? (Virginia and North Carolina)
Obama leads Romney in the latest polls in NC.
Romney leads Obama in the latest polls in VA.
(both by extremely small margins)
There’s been little recent polling of the upper Northwest.
@burritoboy: Washington will go for Obama, Idaho will go with a fascist candidate, and Oregon all depends – I think on whoever will legalize weed.
On the other hand, has any other Congress read the Constitution out loud as much as this one? They deserve credit for that (and laughter counts as credit).
@Southern Beale: I get what you’re writing, and to an outside observer the distinctions between a parliamentary and congressional systems do seem inconsequential. But they really aren’t.
In parliamentary systems, you literally vote for the party. In our system, you vote for the individual. This creates a universe of difference in terms of legislative action. Individual demands of representatives become concealed behind the voting bloc in parliamentary systems, wherein our system they become more necessary and prominent. This is how someone like Ben Nelson or Joe Lieberman or Bart Stupak can exercise inordinate power over the process; the Caucus/Conference and campaign system allows for more powerful independent operators.
Now in many ways what we have are parliamentary parties, or at least parties that are leaning in that direction (I’d argue the Republicans are doing it “better”) within a congressional system. 2011 was the first year on record that the most liberal Republican in the House was to the right of the most conservative Democrat, though it has been trending that way for well over a decade. The monolithic voting blocs are there, but the system really doesn’t know what to do with them and neither, really, do the voters. In our system, partisan achievement is always downplayed and in many ways can be delegitimized by the opposition. So even if the 110th Congress was one of the most productive in modern history, its accomplishments continue to get painted in two lights: They were either overly burdened by unnecessary compromise or are the worst examples of one-sided partisan fervor in modern history. More broadly, we have a President who some see as the reincarnation of Lenin himself, while others see him as a dedicated right-winger. If this seems crazy, it’s because it is.
TPM is reporting that Romeny admitted today he pays an effective tax rate of 15%. Combine that with the “quiet rooms” comment and I think we have ourselves a potential knock-out punch.
@gaz: Oregon is ruled by the Democratic Republic of Portland and the Wilamette Valley. That’s pretty much Obama territory.
@EconWatcher: Jebus. I can’t imagine having all that money and paying half as much of a rate than I do.
@Yutsano: Ever since 2000 I’ve pretty much considered them a swing state.
All you need to make oregon red is a spoiler candidate
Somehow Willard just doesn’t fit that billing for me…
@Yutsano: Totally. If paul had won the NOM though…
Oregon is basically blue, I’ll give you that. But I’m not done flipping them shit over Nader just yet =)
And you’ve got your Colorado too, I suppose.
If Obama takes the Rustbelt, there’s no way the Republican candidate can win (even if they take Colorado, Nevada, Florida, Virginia and NC). If he doesn’t (or doesn’t take most of the Rustbelt, he can lose a state), he’s probably toast.