Op-Ed: Thoughts on The Current Election Race From Former Senator
Imagine the great American humorist Mark Twain returning to comment on this U.S. election year. Even his poisonous disdain for politics might be exhausted trying to chronicle the Clinton-Trump circus.
Twain nursed a special dislike for America’s national legislature and its members. In 1897, he judged the U.S. Congress thusly: “There is no distinctly native American criminal class, save Congress. Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.”
The pending publication of a scandalous new book, The Confessions of Congressman X, is described as “a devastating inside look at the dark side of Congress as revealed by one of its own.” Clues hint the hidden author may be a U.S senator, but whoever he is, this book serves as sad proof of Twain’s century-old opinions.
The fact is Capitol Hill betrayed America…
I have a unique perspective on the sickening revelations of Congressman X.
I first came to the U.S. House of Representatives as a 15-year-old page boy, on January 21, 1953, the day after President Dwight Eisenhower’s first inauguration.
For the next 17 years, I worked in the House Chamber as part of the Republican legislative floor staff. In 1970, I was elected to the Maryland State Senate and returned to the U.S. House in 1973 as an elected member, representing Maryland’s First (Chesapeake Bay) District.
The U.S. Congress has long been the least popular of the three federal government branches, often earning deserved public scorn. During my own service there, I felt that most of my colleagues were dedicated Americans trying to do their best for the people they represented.
The Washington political class always has suffered from insularity, as their surprise at the rise of Trump shows. An early version of this blindness occurred in 1816 when members of the 14th Congress voted to more than double their pay to a princely $1,500 annually, (about $25,000 in 2016 dollars), a sum much larger than the earnings of almost every voter in the country.
The issue exploded into massive public anger. In the fall 1816 elections, two-thirds of the 187 members of the House either wisely retired or were defeated for reelection.
During the eight long years of President Obama’s war with Congress, low ratings for legislators of both parties set all-time records. In an April 2016 Gallup poll, a huge majority of Americans disapproved of the job Congress was doing; only 17% approved.
Are You a Gullible and Ignorant Sheep?
Now comes the shadowy Congressman X, supposedly revealing just how terrible Congress looks from his insider’s privileged, $174,000-a-year seat.
This self-styled “progressive” Democrat, with an appallingly arrogant attitude, mocks the “apathetic and gullible public” he was elected to serve. X indicts Congress as a dysfunctional institution dominated by deceitful career politicians who revel in their power and the special-interest money that’s lavished upon them.
Says Mr. X: “I’ve come to the conclusion the whole Washington scene represents a diminishment of civilization. Our country’s in a free-fall to mediocrity, and Congress is leading the way.” (With Mr. X at the head of the downhill parade!)
The French historian Alexis de Tocqueville, in his insightful Democracy in America, written way back in 1835, foresaw the likes of Congressman X. After two years touring the fledgling U.S., de Tocqueville predicted: “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”
Mr. X agrees: “Voters are incredibly ignorant and know little about our form of government and how it works. It’s far easier than you think to manipulate a nation of naive, self-absorbed sheep who crave instant gratification.”
If it is true as he claims, that the masses are asses, Mr. X is their true representative.
But consider, perhaps this corrupt Congress is an accurate reflection of the American voters. History shows that politicians acquire their power by creating public dependence on government. Americans who now depend on government handouts and favors need politicians like Mr. X to keep the largess flowing.
This corrupt system is far more than just vote buying. It is mass people buying, reminiscent of the slave trade. Government is the new master and the once free citizens of America are its slaves — with Congress as so many slave traders.
This is the year for a repeat of the 1816 congressional election. Throw the rascals out!
Yours for liberty,
Bob Bauman JD
Chairman, Freedom Alliance