Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Constitution of the Super-Committee

So now we know who's on the Super Committee:

Republican Appointees:
Sen. John Kyl (R-Arizona)
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania)
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio)
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas)
Rep. Dave Camp (R-Michigan)
Rep. Fred Upton (R-Michigan)

Democratic Appointees:
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington)
Sen. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts)
Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana)
Rep. James Clyburn (D-South Carolina)
Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-California)
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland)

Democrats appointed one white woman, three white men, one black man, and one Latino man. One from the Pacific Northwest, one from New England, one from the Mountain West, one from the Deep South, one from the West Coast, and one from the Mid-Atlantic.

Republicans appointed six white men. Three from the Midwest, one from the Mid-Atlantic, and two from the Southwest.

Make up your own mind about which group looks more like "real America."


Eric said...

Ah, the Super Congress. I created this video last week to help people understand its function:

As for the Republicans cotarie of crusty old white men... who cares? If they'd have put Michelle Bachmann, Marco Rubio, and Alan West on the committee, you'd be complaining about it being too hyper-partisan. I was dissapointed Coburn didn't make the committee, but overall, I think the whole thing is a lark that is likely to blow up in Boehner and Reid's face. The plan is clearly to come back in November, give Congress the choice between tax increases or massive cuts in defense spending (most of which are already scheduled to take place), and force them to chose one or the other. This isn't a Congress that reacts too well to that kind of political pressure, and they ignore that at their own risk.

12 people are now in charge of our budget, and all the other people we elected to go to Washington are just there to give them thumbs up or thumbs down votes. I don't care what color or gender they are, the whole thing is really very insulting. The proper response from any politician asked to serve on this committee would be to refuse to do it.

Huck said...

Eric - That was one hell of a funny movie! At one level, in terms of the efficacy of this Super Committee, I agree with you. It's nothing more than a mechanism for implementing harsh budget cuts to the entitlement programs and to the military in a way that absolves every single congress person from direct responsibility for such cuts. But, heck, I would have thought you of all people might appreciate the structure of this committee: government does nothing, and spending gets cut. For a conservative, what's not to like about it?

All that said, I have no problem with having 12 people constitute this committee. Really, it's no different than (and no more insulting than) what any other "appointed" committee does in Congress. Every House or Senate committee or sub-committee isn't subject to direct popular election, and it's precisely in such committees where legislation gets crafted, modified, and either squelched or brought to the full body for deliberation and votes. Why wouldn't you be equally insulted whenever you hear that any piece of legislation gets "bottled up in" an unelected, unappointed committee? Furthermore, it's Congress itself that voted to constitute this committee; so, in a sense, we, the people, did constitute this committee by electing the representatives and senators who then went and voted for the legislation that established the committee. So the formation and structure of this Super Committee doesn't bother me in the least.

Also, because the Super Committee is more propaganda show than substance, what the "show" presents has meaning only in terms of its PR value. Any by that token, pitting six crusty white guys as the GOP "show" against a more diverse Democratic "show," I think it's pretty clear that the GOP will lose the PR war that is about the only thing this Super Committee is good for. In this sense, the GOP was stupid not to appoint Bachmann, Rubio, and West.

Frankly, as even your movie points out, this Super Committee is all about "looks" (i.e. the cool costumes). And the way the GOP contingent "looks" through this Super Committee is decidedly out of touch with what America "looks" like. Once again, the GOP has shot itself in the foot. A horrible public relations blunder in a committee designed exclusively for its public relations value.