House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's name is all over the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's "2011 Priority Issues Survey," although not her title: she's described simply as the "Democratic Leader" in the House. Which is technically accurate, after all. And there is a reference to "win[ning] back our Majority," which at least addresses the situation.

I usually don't bother to read these things from either party, inasmuch as my tolerance for self-serving bushwah at least, self-serving bushwah written by someone other than myself has been on the low side for several years and is showing no signs of rebound. (At this point, a GOP partisan is supposed to say "Sounds like the economy.") But curiosity got the better of me.

Part I is "Priority Issues Ranking," in which you're supposed to list your top three in order of personal importance. Could the list itself be somewhat skewed? Let's see. First listed is "Creating Jobs." I'll concede that if Steve Jobs didn't exist, someone would have to create him, but this surely can't be a Democratic priority. Second is "Holding Big Oil corporations accountable," which strikes me as a trifle odd: Big Oil gets its numbers out to stockholders with no problems and pays a crapload of taxes on time, while government officials mostly fail to predict things. If anyone needs to be held accountable, it's the Bureau of Obviously Bogus Government Statistics, Washington, D.C. And, oh yes, there's "Restoring fiscal responsibility in government." Dead last, right above "Add your own."

Part II, Economic Recovery, consists of three questions, two of which are perfectly straightforward, and one of which is loaded to the gills: "Do you think the President's economic recovery plan will continue to expand the U.S. economy?" When I quit laughing, I came up with an alternate question, though I concede they're not likely to use it: "Which invisible unicorns are prettier, the pink ones or the green ones?"

Part III is devoted to "Iraq, Afghanistan and America's Moral Authority." These don't quite go together as well as, say, Manny, Moe and Jack, but what does? The second question is actually pretty good: "How confident are you that the leadership skills and policies of President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton are restoring America's standing in the world?" Then they throw in a question about waterboarding, which I insist should not be used against Congress unless they're actually in session.

Part IV is all about health care, and I note the careful wording in the first question: "Do you support the full implementation of the historic health care reform signed into law by President Obama?" "Historic" well, hell, Teapot Dome was "historic." But Mr Obama gets credit here only for signing the bill. Of course, he may have thought that he had to sign the bill so he could find out what was in it.

Part V is "Retirement Security and Medicare." No question about "What's your favorite cat food?" I take issue with only the first: "Despite a volatile stock market and public opposition, Republicans remain determined to privatize Social Security. Do you support privatization?" I assure you, Republican determination is severely overrated: the GOP doesn't have the stones to reverse the light-bulb ban, fercrissake.

Part VI, "Education," skips over the elementary and secondary varieties and tosses out stuff like this: "Do you think the federal government should provide more assistance to Americans who want to continue their education beyond high school?" Which seems fair enough until you ask yourself how much of that assistance would be going to people who technically aren't Americans.

Part VII, "Energy and the Environment," is hilarious in its presumption. First question: "Do you think tough, new regulations on deep water oil exploration shoud be adopted in light of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year?" Since deep water oil exploration has been effectively banned, what would be the point of any new regulations, tough or otherwise? Oh, right: gotta keep the bureaucrats in business at any cost.

Part VIII deals with "Restoring Congressional Checks and Balances," which you might think has something to do with the War Powers Act. Naw. It's all "tone" and "productivity" and Citizens United. Call me when Greenpeace's fat wallet is considered as much of a threat as ExxonMobil's.

The survey asks you to respond before the deadline of July 15, 2011, which is two weeks away. Were I writing a budget for them, I would of course insist on the usual two years.

The Vent

  1 July 2011

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 Copyright © 2011 by Charles G. Hill