Piling On

June 29, 2011 - 5:04 AM

You might remember that I am not Michele Bachmann's biggest supporter. I don't dislike her, but … well, there you are.

Nevertheless there was an article the Politico.com newspaper yesterday which caught my eye at Old Town Alexandria Starbucks while I was awaiting my tall-skim-no whip-one Splenda- mocha which I think costs about $27.50.

The headline was: 'Michele Bachmann's thin legislative résumé'

Here's what's going on.

Rep. Bachmann is at the top of the hit parade among GOP candidates for the GOP nomination and so it is her turn to have every English-language reporter on the planet take a shot at seeing if he or she can be the one who cuts Bachmann down to size.

We should talk about why we think it is necessary to make candidates for public office run a gauntlet of reporters wielding laptops like so many esnes at a 15th century joust.

Build 'em up, then tear 'em down. Great American blood sport.

Anyway in the article in Politico by John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman the second graf read: "Now in her third House term, Bachmann has never had a bill or resolution she's sponsored signed into law, and she's never wielded a committee gavel, either at the full or subcommittee level.

"Bachmann's amendments and bills have rarely been considered by any committee, even with the House under GOP control."

If this is Bachmann's third term, she was elected in 2006. As I remember there were not that many Republicans elected to the U.S. House in 2006. In fact the Democrats picked up 31 seats and gained control of the House.

So, for the first two terms of her Congressional career, Michele Bachmann was in the - how to put this delicately - MINORITY!

In my nearly 35 years watching this, Members of Congress who are in the minority do not:

-- Have a bill or resolution signed into law;
-- Wield a committee gavel (either at the full or subcommittee level), nor;
-- Have amendments or bills considered by any committee.

That's why it is so, so much better to be in the majority in the U.S. House.

Oh! But Bachmann IS in the majority now?

Kee-rekt. And she has been in the majority for a full five months. And guess what? She has still only been in Congress for about four-and-a-half years and is not in line to wield a gavel as chairman of the full or subcommittee level.

There is nothing fair about the U.S. House. Whichever party has control has ABSOLUTE control. There is no Senatorial Courtesy because it ain't the Senate. It's the House. Rough and tumble. Take no prisoners. I have one more vote than you. I own it all.

Don't believe me? Ask Nancy Pelosi how many people on the House side of the Capital care what she thinks, what she wants, or what she says.

Answer? Not counting her staff, no one.

If a member of the minority has a good idea for a bill, resolution, or amendment it is not at all unheard of for a member of the majority to take it, put their own name on it, and have his or her press secretary write a love poem - in the form of a press release - to the boss' brilliance.

Compare and contrast with the brilliant legislative career of U.S. Senator Barak Obama who was so ineffective that his colleague Sen. Hillary Clinton pointed out, during a debate, that as Chairman of the Senate's subcommittee on European Affairs Obama had held "not one substantive hearing to do oversight."

The reality is: The skills necessary to be President have nothing whatever to do with the skills necessary to be a Member of Congress, which is why Governors are elected President far more often than Senators.

As I said, I'm not a huge fan or Rep. Bachmann's but the Politico piece looked to me as if it had been written by two high school interns working for the summer at the East Iquana Gazette. They did a Google search and looked at Thomas.gov but showed zero understanding of how the U.S. House works.

This, to me, was an example of reportorial piling-on for no purpose other than knocking Michele Bachmann off her perch.

On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to the Politico.com piece, to the proof of Sen. Clinton's claim against Obama and the definition of "esne." Also the second of 1,207 photos from my trip to Paris last week and a really excellent Catchy Caption of the Day.