Commenting on Cynicism

LK here.  The following comment, received shortly after I posted my “Cynicism” piece earlier today, warrants better placement than hidden beneath my own post.  It fleshes out the Corker situation and goes on to provide legislative suggestions to plug a leak in the anti-corruption dam.

Even though I made it clear that I believe it’s a national change of attitude, not individual pieces of legislation, that can put us back on track, this piece demands reading and as such, belongs on the front page.

It’s author, who goes by the pen name “Oscar the Observer”,  is a brilliant attorney, but despite that, he’s also a brilliant thinker and a wonderful man who cares about our nation’s future.

The contributions to his campaign were negligible, but it was clear (from the article) that his very, very close friend owns 1100 payday lenders. There is a culture of corruption in Congress, for sure. It’s evidenced every day. Corker at first denied that he was trying to negotiate (with Dodd) an exclusion for payday lenders from the bill. And there’s a Congressional culture of falsely (or at least inaccurately or incompletely) characterizing support or resistance to legislation, from the electorate, as empirical facts.

The NY Times also reported, earlier this month, or at the end of February, that the GOP leaders went to Wall Street to get campaign contributions to the party, and were somewhat rebuffed. Then Mitch McConnell and Boehner visited Wall Street, and received commitments for GOP campaign contributions. Want to speculate on what they traded for the dollars? Watch whether ANY Republican will vote for the bill reported out of Dodd’s committee. And the Democrats who heavily rely on Wall Street contributions will also vote against it. Cynicism? It’s too mild a term. “Disgust” is much closer to the truth.

We can reduce the disgust by passing legislation that forbids any Representative or Senator from being a lobbyist, directly or indirectly, for 10 years after he/she leaves office and legislation that prevents votes or appointments by one legislator (the Bunning/Shelby ploy) or by less than a majority of the Senate; and a constitutional amendment that: (i) increases the terms of Representatives to 4 years, (ii) caps Senators’ terms at 12 or 18 years, (iii) creates an independent panel to establish congressional districts, so that Democrats are not always re-elected to the House from Democrat-gerrymandered districts and Republicans from Republican-gerrymandered districts or the same legislators automatically winning their primaries and elections in their districts, and (iv) makes the McCain-Feingold provisions constitutional.

But the legislators creating the cynicism and disgust are not interested in any of the above, because the mantra of Congress is “Don’t vote against your own self-interest; just tell the public that they don’t want it and don’t support those changes, because if you say that long enough and loud enough it brainwashes a majority of voters.”