Three people, one appointed and two elected, are running the show in Washington. First we have Steve Bannon, the puppeteer, who works the Donald like Howdy Doody. He pulls the strings and the arms and the mouth move. Some may say that’s not true President Trump makes his own decisions, creates his own executive orders and runs the White House particularly since Melania isn’t there. Maybe she knows something that we don’t. Regardless Steve Bannon seems to have the President’s ear and a substantial control of his head. Mr. Bannon is educated, served in the military and made a whole pile of money. His work with Brietbart news is his main character flaw. Breitbart news is racist and bigoted as is Steve Bannon apparently. This is the mentality he brings to the White House and he manipulates Mr. Trump to support his perspective. I find his beliefs to be repugnant. The more important issue to me is that no one, not you and not me voted for him. He shouldn’t be setting policy. That is contrary to our constitutional system. If Mr. Trump is too weak to control Mr. Bannon or worse too dumb, then we have a constitutional problem. This is where checks and balances come into play.
Congress has oversight and review authority as well as the power of the purse strings. If Mr. Trump wants to build a wall Congress must approve paying for it. If more border patrol staff are needed Congress must approve the budget. Executive orders are convenient but laws passed by Congress are controlling. Health care is critical for our nation and Congress can fix whatever is broken. Conflicts of interest by Mr. Trump, his family, appointees and staff can and should be reviewed by Congress. Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah discovered on his visit back home at a town hall meeting people expect Congressional oversight. Can or will Congress do its job?
The Senate majority leader is Mitch McConnell. He is one of the wealthiest members of Congress. He has for the last eight years been the chief obstructionist to President Obama and the Democrats. He was not offering an alternative to Democratic proposals. His goal was to stop any actions and make Congress a do nothing body. This was his primary success, blocking and delaying all efforts by the President and Congressional Democrats for eight years. No help was provided on healthcare, job creation, economic improvement, infrastructure upgrades, the Iran nuclear agreement, global warming and list can go on. One other success he had and that was perverting our constitutional process for advise and consent on Supreme Court nominees. His obstruction has left the court without a ninth justice for over a year. This is a disgrace to our system and belittling to the Senate.
On the other side of the building is the House of Representatives with Paul Ryan as the speaker. He oversees a Congress with an eight percent approval rating. He stood up to Mr. Trump, the candidate (kind of) then rolled over for him as President Trump. This is the good catholic altar boy who wants to short change Social Security and Medicare while trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act. As a good catholic choir boy I find his positions unchristian at best. As a reminder Speaker Ryan used Social Security benefits to help pay for his college. His family for years has operated a construction business. I’m going to take a wild guess and suggest maybe somewhere along the way the company had a government contract or two. I am not suggesting any impropriety on his part. Perhaps a lot of hypocrisy. No one needs or deserves any public sector help except for corporate America in the Ryan view of government. The rest of us are left to fend for ourselves while he sits back in his Speaker’s chair and reads Ayn Rand.
These don’t sound like leaders who care about much other than themselves. Candidates for office tell us how they want to help people. When elected the people they help are family, friends and of course themselves. The Three Musketeers had a motto that was All For One and One For All. These three musketeers have a modified motto, One For All And All For Us. Help or oversight is unlikely from these three. The other 536 members of Congress may not all have spines either. Come 2018 we can elect some people with backbones. That is our best hope. Otherwise we can trust that the current members of Congress view their job as looking out for the best interest of working Americans. If tomorrow’s headline reads Congress helps us all, then you know that is clearly “fake news.”