The day of the congressional handshake deal is over. Perhaps it was only ever a much-loved urban legend. Who knows? Watching the discord among elected officials in Washington this past week, many Americans are wondering: why don’t they trust one another, why can’t congress arrive at an acceptable solution?
Doris Kearns Goodwin tries to advance the flawed notion that if elected officials, both Democrats and Republicans, spent more time together, they would build more trust in one another, and, thus, find needed compromises easier to achieve. I think she’s wrong. Members of Congress do not know each other too little. Disagreements occur because they know each other too well.
Democrats gained control of the House of Representatives in 2006 and gained the White House in 2008. For the past five years, Democrats have controlled the legislative process and for almost three years, Dems have controlled the Executive agencies. Democrat bungling and demagoguery have become the order of the day. The outright lies told to fellow members of congress and to the American people would make Pinocchio blush.
Is it any wonder that Republicans in congress find it hard to trust Democrats?
Consider, for example, the president’s promise that the $787 billion stimulus would create between 3 to 4 million new jobs. Didn’t happen. In fact, with unemployment at 9.2% and even government employment declining, the past thirty months have shown that Obama clearly overpromised and has under-delivered.