Growing Up Inside the Beltway

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The Sunday Morning TV Political News lineup is not a spot I ordinarily cruise when I’m looking for a little comic relief.  So.  Imagine my amazement when I got a proper, cathartic belly laugh out of ABC’s This Week Powerhouse Roundtable.

And I wasn’t the only one.  Making up this week’s roundtable were Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD), Cokie Roberts, Matthew Dowd, Paul Gigot and, of course, George Stephanopoulos.  It was around about the 9:00 mark on the video above that Stephanopoulos asked Rep. Amash to weigh in on the prospect that President Obama appears to be standing pretty firm on his position that raising the debt ceiling is non-negotiable.

Amash argle-bargled a bit about compromise and how the president had to because . . . Republican majority! yadda yadda but then Amash delivered his “money line:”

I think we’re doing the president a favor if we delay it, the program is not ready to be implemented. If anything, the president should be asking us to delay it because because it’s better for him politically.

At that point, the entire roundtable—Stephanopoulos and the various assembled bipartisan luminaries burst into laughter.

It was a silly, naive thing for Amash to think, let alone say out loud, in such a forum, and that’s why the more experienced hands [which probably included the camera operators and best boys] just couldn’t control their mirth.  Hell, even Amash chuckled a little in a bewildered sort of way.

But, once the fun is done, we’re left with a more serious question.  And that question is: what is this brash, inexperienced, immature young man doing in the United States Congress?  And furthermore, what is wrong with the Republican Party allowing this loose cannon to represent them on national television, discussing rather weighty policy questions?

Is it about the youth vote?  Or what?

If you recognize Amash’s name, at all, it might be because it was just last December that Mr Amash was removed, by House Republican leaders, from the House Budget Committee for not playing well with others.  Amash was not the only one. Rep Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) and Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) were also stripped of committee assignments for the same reason.

This is something that happens so rarely in Congress that it was quite notable.

But its probably no accident that such events coincide with widespread popular disapproval of the job that Congress is doing, in general.

Mr. Amash is 33 years old.  When he was first elected to the US House he was 30 years old.  The entirety of his life experience is attending schools, college and law school, lawyering for one year and being elected to the Michigan House of Representatives, in 2008.  In 2010, the TEA Party bumped him up to the US House.

In Time magazine’s October 25, 2010, issue, Amash was named one of “40 under 40 – Rising Stars of U.S. Politics”.  At the age of 30, Amash was the youngest federal candidate in the United States on the list.  Today, at 33, he is only the 6th youngest member of Congress.

Now, I know I’m risking accusations of agism but, seriously?  isn’t there some assumption, on the part of voters, that the people who go to Washington to represent them have some sort of experience, some skills and/or expertise to take to the job, beyond a brand new JD?

It’s no wonder that we’re being treated to a lot of policy debate that conjures up Ayn Rand,  F.A. Hayek, Edmund Burke and other schoolboy crushes.

What do we get when our government is run by a gaggle of self-indulgent, inexperienced demagogues without much more in the skills department than self promotion, debate club medals and a highly developed gift of glib?

What happens when we start thinking that it’s a good idea to elect people with no experience in politics? when we start electing people only because they are total outsiders? or only because they refuse to compromise?

I’m afraid we’re in the process of finding out.

Posted by Bette Noir on 09/15/13 at 03:29 PM • Permalink

Categories: PoliticsElection '14NuttersTeabaggery

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I think we’ve been seeing this for a while now, with people touting themselves as “outsiders” and decrying “how things are done in Washington” and every now and again (I guess most notably with the class of ‘94) suggestions that term limits might be best. I think it plays into the idea that if government is the problem, then Washington DC must be the wickedest of cities, and therefore, a Beltway “virgin” is liable to be more protective of their virtue. I just don’t think we’ve ever seen so many newbs entering Congress on quite as big a scale as 2010. It’ll be a while before their constituents identify and dislodge the real goofballs, and hopefully the ones that don’t get dislodged learn the ropes over time.

I remain disturbed that Boehner, presiding over this daycare center, hasn’t done a little more to get things in hand. He’s not a high-energy leader.

I remain disturbed that Boehner, presiding over this daycare center, hasn’t done a little more to get things in hand. He’s not a high-energy leader.

You’re right on, @Vixen.  He’s a lifer and should be up to the job.  I think he believed he was riding a wave when he was actually caught in the undertow.

But, also too, look at guys like McConnell.  He’s an old hand that’s looking like a deer in the headlights.

As my old friend Stevie used to say, everything’s grand “‘til the landslide brings you down.”

And Boehner has to watch his flanks, which is hilarious. We know he was barely challenged in 2012, but his PAC accepted some nice change and did an ethically plausible bunch of ads with the proceeds, which for a lobbyist-friendly old hand like him is only fitting. But here’s all the good it does him: Tea Party groups are looking to do him in over Obamacare (that would be his daycare cohorts) and Benghazi (the barbarians at his gates). I do try to be sympathetic or empathetic or whatever the appropriate bleeding heart term is supposed to be. But I guess I end up laughing. And at the poor turtle. In New World Order, Propaganda Distributes You!

I couldn’t stand to go back to the video and double check it but I believe the blurb over Amash’s picture touting his credentials read something like “never missed a vote”.  WHOOPEE!!  Kind of like in elementary school “graduation” where some kid gets the prize for “always did his/her homework”.  Elect that kid to Congress, folks!!

“never missed a vote”

OOH OOH OOH!  I did the bare minimum requirement for my job!

I’ll let Chris Rock handle this one...

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