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NB: Updated at bottom of post. -jd
Hey everybody, lookit what I just found:
It appears that some Political Science professor named Marc Turetzky, of Gavilan College (in Gilroy, California, home of the always fragrant Gilroy Garlic Festival) has set up one of those “Rate My ______” sites.
There are a whole mess of these things. Rate My Picture. Rate My Life. Rate My Date. Rate My Rack. The one I’m most familiar with is RateMyProfessors.com, because hey, grad student here. This one is new, though:
It’s time to play Rate My Congressman!
It’s set up in blog format, one blog post per Representative. Visitors to the site are invited to rate their Representative in the Comments.
At least, that’s what I assume we’re supposed to do. It looks like the professor has been setting it up this weekend. He seems to be going state-by-state, with each state being it’s own blog category. As I type this, only about twenty states are up. But hey, lookee here…it appears that he’s already added all the California representatives.
And here’s our beloved House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi.
No one’s left a comment yet.
How could I possibly resist?
To Professor Turetzky:
It looks like you are still setting this blog up. I don’t know if you are doing this in connection with a course you are teaching, or if this is for general public consumption, but I stumbled across your blog and really couldn’t resist.
When Nancy Pelosi rose to the position of Speaker of the House after the 2006 elections, a lot of people, myself included, thought that we would finally see an end to the Bush administration’s illegal and unconstitutional actions at home and abroad.
Surely, with the Democrats now controlling the House of Representatives, we would see some real oversight, some investigation into the many, many scandals that seem to have become business as usual over the past few years.
Surely, Ms. Pelosi would use the powers granted to her by the Constitution and laws of this country to at the very least ensure that no further damage was done to our civil rights, our dignity, and our reputation among other nations.
Surely, she would guide the House of Representatives along a course that would rein in the worst abuses of the Bush administration.
Surely, you jest.
Almost immediately, she made it clear that impeachment – the most powerful tool granted to Congress to control illegal acts by the executive branch – was off the table.
The reason for doing so has never been clear to me. If ever there were a president deserving of impeachment, it would be the current Decider in Chief. His crimes against our constitution, against our laws, and against humanity are almost too numerous to itemize at this point. Failure to impeach such a man under these circumstances would itself be a failure by Congress to uphold its responsibilities under the constitution.
And yet, the president has not been impeached, despite efforts by Kucinich and others, despite widespread public outcry.
Because Speaker Pelosi declared that impeachment was off the table.
Furthermore, she has repeatedly caved in to Bush’s craven demands for yet more power, yet more authority, and has allowed yet more money to be poured into the pockets of corporations like Halliburton, KBR, and Blackwater as part of his unending war on Iraq.
The Democrats have a strong majority in the House of Representatives. It is not like the Senate, where they can only be said to control the chamber because Lieberman is still caucusing with them.
It should have been relatively simple to prevent Bush from shoving through measures that were antithetical to our nation’s governing documents. Measures like the revised FISA bill that passed recently.
What was it Nancy Reagan always used to say? Just say, “No.”
And yet somehow, Pelosi did nothing, or next to nothing. And we are now faced with an even graver situation, both domestically and internationally, than we were in 2006.
And while we are rating Speaker Pelosi’s performance, let us not forget that recent weeks have brought the revelation that Speaker Pelosi was among the Democratic House leaders who were briefed on the “enhanced interrogation techniques” that have been used by Americans against others in recent years. She knew we were torturing prisoners as a matter of federal government policy, yet she did and said nothing.
To be fair to Speaker Pelosi, she has managed some good things during her tenure as House Speaker. There have been times when she and her colleagues have stood together to pass important legislation opposed by the president, or to block legislation he tried to force through.
But many of those victories seem to have been only temporary ones. The House initially held strong against the FISA expansion and telecom immunity provisions, for instance, yet when faced with repeated demands from the Bush administration, the Democrats eventually caved.
Is it fair to blame Pelosi for that? Maybe not. But I can’t help thinking that Tip O’Neill wouldn’t have let some of that crap through.
Looking around the site here, I cannot find any rating metric for rating our representatives, so I guess it is up to me as the first commenter to propose one…
Hmmm…this is actually trickier than it sounds. I have several ideas, actually, but the WordPress restrictions on HTML don’t seem to allow for inserting little icons in one’s post, which rules out a couple of my ideas. For instance, I was going to go with little pink pigs, because, well, our representatives in Washington are feeding at the public trough, and also there’s the nice Orwellian tie-in with Animal Farm.
But that’s probably overly cynical, isn’t it? After all, I’m sure there are people who want to say nice things about their representatives. I mean, not me, because I’m in Redstatesville, and my representative is a rubberstamper who votes however Bush wants him to. But surely there must be SOME people who actually like their representatives, no matter how low the approval ratings are for Congress these days, right?
How about this: we can use the symbol for dollars ($) as the rating icon. It’s perfect, because it can carry so many meanings — the tax dollars that they waste (or occasionally use wisely), the campaign contributions they receive from the lobbyists and heads of major corporations, the federal dollars they are able to direct to their home districts via earmarks, the bribes they receive…the possibilities are endless.
So, using a one ($) to five ($$$$$) scale, with five representing the best one could possibly hope for in a congressional representative and one representing pond scum:
My overall rating for Nancy Pelosi is: $$
Though to be fair, I would have given her two and one half dollar signs, if I could just figure out how to get half a dollar sign to appear.
Ah, well, maybe someone else will come up with a better rating system.
Update: It looks like the person running the blog is moderating the comments – unmoderated was too much to hope for, wasn’t it? I thought they were unmoderated because I could see my comment after I submitted it, but I found out no one else could. So if you follow the links in this post, you won’t see my comment over there – at least not yet.
Anonymous Liberal has a great discussion of the petitioners’ brief for the Supreme Court hearing on whether the detainees in Guantanamo are entitled to the protection of habeas corpus and due process under the constitution. Go read it!