Love My Country, Loathe My Government:

Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedoms and Destroying The American Political Class

Step 34
Hold Congress and Senate committees and subcommittees accountable for their respective areas of responsibility, and remove committee members from committee posts if those committees do not meet
minimal performance criteria.

Theoretically, our congressional system is run by a series of committees and subcommittees of elected officials that meet on a regular basis to gather and analyze information and propose laws that will improve the country and its citizens. In fact, that is their major role: to be informed and use that knowledge to move the country forward. They are like a company’s board of directors, guiding the actions of government agencies/business units based on an overarching perspective.

However, given the current state of the government, a case can be made that they have not been doing a very good job. And more than that, there is no accountability for their actions or lack of action.

A few examples:

* Everyone would agree that the 9-11 attacks represented a system wide failure in U.S. intelligence, a failure that ranged from FBI and CIA analysts to current and past Presidents and … the Congressional intelligence committees that should have overseen and guided the entire operation. If a company fails to be successful, much of the blame usually falls on both the executives of that company and the board of directors who failed to give meaningful direction. The 9-11 disaster cost American lives, and the political class, be it the Presidents or the Congressional intelligence committees involved, was an absolute failure.

* According to Mapquest, it is less than eight miles from the Capitol building to Walter Reed Hospital, one of the main federal hospitals serving the wounded soldiers from Iraq. However, in 2006 a major crisis came to light revealing the deplorable medical conditions that these returning heroes were subjected to at Walter Reed and other military medical facilities. Apparently the Senate and House committees responsible for overseeing this and other facilities like it did not even have enough energy, interest, or dedication to take the eight-mile trip to see how poorly their committees were serving our servicemen and women.

The list could go on and on. Congressional oversight and leadership is nonexistent or, in the case of 9-11, fatal to American citizens. However, despite this lousy performance record, the political class members who serve on these committees are not held accountable for their actions. After 9-11, all of the current members of both the House and Senate intelligence committees should have been replaced for incompetence. It happens in the real word outside of DC—either perform your job up to established performance criteria or be fired. It should also happen to the political class. Subject wounded soldiers to horrific conditions, and you should be removed from the appropriate committee.

Now the defenders of these poorly performing committees would say that those in Congress serving on these committees are the best people available and should continue to serve. Even though the intelligence committees failed the country on 9-11 in not providing adequate protection, they did as a good a job as anyone else serving in Congress at that time. This argument is faulty in that it rewards incompetence: although we are incompetent, others would have been more incompetent. I do not think the three thousand Americans who died that day would take much solace in that argument.

Whatever approach (see Step 34 for some suggestions) is used to remove membership from the offending Congressional committee, some way must be found to push accountability onto the political class—accountability that does not exist today.


Check back next month to see another step.

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