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Friday, December 28, 2012

A Senator's Lot Is Not a Happy One

Pity United States senators.  They had to cut short their Christmas vacations to return to Washington at the behest of President Obama and their caucus leadership.  They face the real possibility of having to work through New Year's Eve!  And for what? The possibility of rescuing the nation from financial disaster?  For THAT they have to miss "Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve with Ryan Seacrest"?!?

(DIGRESSION: How can it be "Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve" if (A) it's "with Ryan Seacrest" and (B) Dick Clark is somewhat dead?  Has Dick Clark, in death, become the James Patterson of New Year's festivities?  EOD)

You still don't feel bad for the senate?  Well, what if I pointed out to you that senators receive NO COMPENSATION!  Well, OK, they make a token salary of $174,000 per year.  Plus, I guess, whatever income they have from their private investments.  And, yes, sure, they have the prospect of any number of lucrative post-congressional careers.  And, OK, I guess if you want to be technical, there are probably some non-financial rewards to serving in this highly exclusive prestigious institution that sets the course of national policy and quite literally makes history on a regular basis, but still: We're talking CHRISTMAS VACATION!!!  Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), how do you feel about having to cut short Christmas?

“'I didn’t realize how much I didn’t want to be here until I got here,' said Mr. Schumer, who had taken the red eye from San Francisco, where he had arrived only days earlier to visit his daughter."


Adding insult to injury, the senators have had to return to Washington to do nothing in particular, as there is no specific legislation to vote on.  Senator Harry Reid is waiting for the White House to propose a solution to the imminent arrival of the "fiscal cliff," which I frankly don't understand, but from everything I've heard will lead directly to the zombie apocalypse and/or commence the 1,000 year reign of Gondrok, Dark Lord of Chaos.  Or something.

Where was I?

Ah, yes, Reid is waiting for Obama, who needs assurances from Sen. Mitch McConnell that Republicans won't simply filibuster any proposal, and everybody needs assurances from Speaker of the House John Boehner that, IF the senate passes legislation, the Republicans in the House of Representatives won't just screw everybody over like they did last week.  So, in other words, the senators are angry because they have nothing to do, but none of them will do anything unless and until they know that nobody will undo whatever they decide to. . .do.

As of last month, the job being done by Congress met with the approval of 18% of Americans.  Who ARE those people?

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