One can't help noticing that there's been some sort of change in Washington. I don't pay much attention to politics, but people that keep track of such things are bubbling over with enthusiasm about the spirit and energy of this new generation of leaders. These are the young bucks who will now manipulate the levers of government in order to take America in a new direction. What's immediately apparent about this new generation is that their average age is approximately five days past dead, which is why all of this new-direction talk is so amusing.
Anyone with two brain cells to rub together recognizes that this new direction they're always babbling about dates back to the mid-nineteenth century and two disagreeable malcontents named Freddie and Karl. It's never worked and never will, but what the heck, let's bet our children's future on another Utopian pipedream.
Imagine that Captain Smith, after realizing that his unsinkable ship has struck an iceberg, shouts to his helmsman:
"Full reverse! Let's ram it again on the port side!"
In reality, today's situation is even more baffling. Beyond the obvious goofiness of this new/old herd, who among us, other than a tiny number of parasites, elites, and ideologues doesn't recognize that we're in a period of economic growth, low inflation and full employment? Now we're looking at Captain Smith cruising along in calm clear waters looking for something big and hard to slam into just for grins and giggles. So if it's not about economics, this new direction must be something very esoteric, beyond the understanding of mere mortals.
Maybe it has something to do with this Culture of Corruption we've been hearing about. Speaker Pelosi did say that ethics reform was high on her agenda. Never mind that the new Federal Minimum Wage law passed by the House specifically excluded American Samoa. "Who cares about American Samoa?" you may ask. Del Monte Foods cares about American Samoa. Their Star-Kist Tuna Division is the island's largest employer and Del Monte HQ is located in Ms. Pelosi's district.
Coincidence? Maybe. Proximity doesn't necessarily imply cupidity.
Well then try this one on for size: Ms. Pelosi's Mister just happens to own $17 million worth of Del Monte stock. But this is nothing new. Vineyards owned by the happy couple have been cited for minimum wage as well as immigration violations at the same time that these same enterprises were getting special consideration from the California Legislature as well as the U.S. Congress.
This new direction looks curiously like the same old direction.
Over in the Senate, Dingy Harry took one look at the lobbying reform bill sent to his desk by Frau Facelift and got so angry that his pulse nearly reached three beats per minute. On close review, the House bill seeks to restrict lobbying abuses practiced in the Senate, while Reid's Senate version will outlaw the petty nick-nacking so common in the House. We'll devote a future column to Harry & Son's curious dealings with certain Nevada real estate developers and the Federal land the U.S. Congress is supposed to oversee. Apparently, the Reid family operates under the axiom: Never steal anything small.
And in late-breaking news, Nancy & Company are set to alter House Ethics Rules to protect Democrats who might be found guilty of corruption or bribery related to the passage of legislation.
Under present rules, if Members of Congress are found guilty of a crime related to the passage of legislation, they would have their pensions cut off as of the date of the legislation's passage, even if it took a few years to find them guilty.
The Democrats, via H. R. 476, the Member Pension Bill, which they intend to push through tonight, will seek to change this. With this scam, if a bill is signed by President Bush, and then a Member of Congress is found guilty of a crime related to the passage of legislation between the President's signature and January 2, 2009, the member would receive his or her FULL Congressional pension.
Guess who just might be found guilty of a crime between now and January 2, 2009?
Are you listening Reps Mollohan, Cole and William (stash it in the freezer) Jefferson.
Ah yes, victory over the Culture of Corruption. It looks like the coming years will be fun, fun, fun.
With Pelosi playing Nedda to Reid's Canio, who will she call for when Dingy Harry comes for her with the knife in his hand? Will John Murtha be willing to take one in the gut for his lovely but spoken for paramour? I doubt it.
In any case, it will be quite a spectacle as Charlie Rangel stares into the C-Span camera and wails:
La commedia e finita.