In Jan. 8 IssueBy Kathy Foley, ColumnistRussell County News-Register
At this writing, the 112th Congress is being sworn in. As we all look forward to a new beginning, I would like to take a closer look at some of the movers and shakers we'll all be hearing a lot about in the next two years.
John Boehner, aged 61, from a suburb of Cincinnati has been sworn in as our new Speaker of the House. As we have recently seen, he is a sensitive man easily moved to tears when speaking of 'the American Dream' and numerous other topics-the dire straits of the long-term unemployed or other struggles of the middle-class notwithstanding. In his speech today, he said "our aim will be to give government back to the people." That sounds really good-as long as the "people" are real people and not corporations that the Supreme Court has declared to be the same as "people". Hmmm, how do we know which meaning Mr. Boehner is talking about? He has said repeatedly that he wants to make the legislative process in the House more transparent while giving members a greater opportunity to help craft legislation. Okay, that sounds good too, except already he is denying any debate or amendments on next week's expected vote to repeal the healthcare legislation.
Now that Mr. Boehner actually holds the power that he so longed for, we will soon see if he and his GOP friends can actually come up with some solutions to this country's dilemmas. Before the November elections they were quite vocal about things that needed to be done, like cutting the federal budget, but they never seemed to have an answer when pressed for specifics. Even so, a majority of American voters believed that the Republicans was the better choice, so now they can no longer sit back and just say no. They must actually do something. Their first priority, apparently, is voting to repeal the health-care bill that was passed last year. I guess this is just to appease their constituents because it has absolutely no chance of actually being repealed. But what about creating jobs? I thought that was the number one priority.
Darrell Issa, the new chairman of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee, who recently accused President Obama of being "one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times", has begun walking back those statements as he visited every Sunday talk show in town. He explained that what he meant to say was that President Obama has presided over "one of the most corrupt administrations." Either way, it is patently false and an irresponsible statement. His evidence for these outrageous assertions is non-existent and he bases them primarily on TARP, which was passed under President Bush and carried out under President Obama's leadership, and has ended up costing the taxpayer far less than originally anticipated. And although it may be fair to argue whether the stimulus was misguided or ineffective, evidence of corruption in its administration is negligible. Regardless, Mr. Issa has promised that under his leadership and armed with subpoena power, we will see investigation after investigation of this president and his administration. This, while our country and our citizens are facing enormous challenges that need Congress' attention.
Over the next few months we will no doubt hear more and more about the frontrunners for the GOP presidential bid in 2012. As it stands now, Lindsey Graham thinks it will be Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts. The word is that Romney would have a tough time with voters in the South-primarily because he is a Mormon. Then, of course, there is the former half-governor and reality TV star, Sarah Palin--we Democrats can only hope!
Former Speaker of the House and sometimes known as Mr. Family Values, Newt Gingrich is also a possibility. Good ole Newt comes with more than a few skeletons in his closet such as cheating on his wife while at the same time being the loudest voice condemning President Clinton for his indiscretions and more recently giving out bogus awards from his group, American Solutions, in exchange for $5,000 donations. In some circles this is referred to as a scam. And this is just the tip of the iceberg of scandals associated with Mr. Family Values.
We can also look forward to hearing more from Mike Huckaby, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum and maybe even Chris Christie, who as governor of New Jersey, took his children to Disneyworld while the citizens of his state were battling one of the biggest blizzards in years.
I've even heard whispers that Michelle Bachman may be eyeing the big prize even as she was denied any leadership position in this Congress.
Oh, the very thought makes me giddy with delight! We have a lot to look forward to and I, for one, can't wait.