U.S. Congressman Ken Buck, R-Colo., wrote “Drain the Swamp,” a book that takes potshots at both parties and tells what really goes on with Washington. It is believable and disconcerting, to put it mildly. He uses terms like bipartisan bankruptcy as he takes readers into the halls of Congress to learn how both parties treat their senators and congressmen and why our government is in such a mess. He explains the party bluster that leaders use in public as well as what they do to their own party members to make them vote as directed. Hint: it is not what is best for the country, but for the party, the next election, the power.
South Dakota’s newly elected U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson, will be one lone vote. He may go to Washington with a dream of making a difference, but he will be forced to toe the line of his party. Dusty is idealistic and a great guy but I’m afraid the swamp will swallow him whole during his first few months.
I’m using quotes from Buck’s book to open your eyes and suggest if you have the stomach for it, get the book and read the whole thing. It might make you think that, like the president, congressmen should have mandated term limits. We have terms limits for state legislators in South Dakota, however the legislature created the law — and the way it is written, once a state senator has served his limit, he can run for state representative, and back and forth. They are basically thumbing their noses at the intent of the people.
Buck wrote, “Money rules in Washington. Most Americans don’t realize that influence in Congress comes with a price tag. Chairmen are required to pay for their chairmanships. The speaker, leader, and whip compete for the national leadership position and then must pay millions of dollars for the honor of holding the office. Lobbyists, corporations, and wealthy individuals who need something from Congress raise the money. For Republicans, all the money raised goes to the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), supposedly to help members get re-elected. The reality is that NRCC funds are used to coerce members to vote with the leadership.”
Congressman Buck said, “Washington is a swamp because Congress (and the Washington bureaucracy) wants it to be. It has nothing to do with gridlock or partisanship or political bickering. One of my first revelations when I became a congressman was how non-adversarial the atmosphere was. There was plenty of bipartisan agreement that Washington should increase the size of the federal government and spend money it doesn’t have. Members of Congress are, for the most part, fat and happy alligators who feel pretty darned comfortable in the swamp of Washington.”
“Members in Congress have only one problem that they’re serious about solving — and that is getting reelected.”
To put it simply, they don’t want the swamp to change. ❖