Mona Charen

"Meet the Press" featured a segment this week that illustrates the planted liberal axioms that dominate our political culture. The topic was Congress's failure to "get anything done" this term. Political director Chuck Todd set the stage:

"New polling from NBC News, The Wall Street Journal and Marist ... shows that three out of four voters agree that Congress hasn't done much this year ... And guess what? The public's right. Congress hasn't been productive. In fact, this Congress ... is on track to be the least productive in history."

Todd then cued the hoary Harry Truman clip about the "Do Nothing" Congress of 1948 before inviting the panel to discuss the "problem" of congressional inaction.

It's fitting "Meet the Press" chose the Truman quote, because the liberal approach to government has not changed since then. More legislation is viewed as an obvious good, whereas failure to pass laws is something that requires explanation. President Barack Obama expressed the same idea (a shock, I know) when he disdained Congress for failing to "do its job."

That isn't true -- even accepting the government-centric assumptions of the Democrats and the press. Some 195 pieces of legislation have passed the Republican House of Representatives only to be buried in the Democratic Senate. Among those are at least 31 authored by Democrats.

The Senate passed an immigration overhaul in 2013 that has not passed the House. Though the president characterizes this as gross negligence on the part of Republicans, it's just possible that there's a difference of opinion. Other presidents would have sought compromise, or attempted to bite off smaller pieces of their agenda and pass them sequentially. But Obama is impatient with the rule of law and has been threatening to "do things on my own." Thus do we slide, every day of this administration, a little closer to banana republic status?

On the subject of legislation generally, we badly need to rid ourselves of the notion that the nation is in need of more laws. We are straightjacketed with laws as it is. In fact, the best use of Congress's time would be to review laws that are ineffective, wasteful, duplicative or outmoded and repeal them. (We'd need to distribute smelling salts to the press first, of course.)

Actually, the Republican House did attempt as much last week with the immigration bill. The reform that passed would have overturned the 2008 law that had the unintended consequence of encouraging unaccompanied minors from Central America to attempt entry across the southern border. (Those fleeing persecution would still be eligible for asylum.)


Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
 
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