Friday, July 26, 2013

The Usual? Not This Time...

While this week we've been focusing on complex topics like the President's plan to tackle inequality, the ongoing sabotage governing by Congressional Republicans, and race issues, many of our professional colleagues were diddling around with Anthony Weiner stories. Others were grabbing quickie tales about Bob Filner, or creating Buzzfeed-like posts along the lines of 'The 7 lavish illicit gifts Virginia's Governor Bob McDonnell recieved.'

For the record - if it wouldn't void our journalistic ethics - every member of our staff would like a ride in the Ferrari that Gov. McDonnell got to "borrow."

It's not that there haven't been hugely important stories to cover this week. From Rep. Steve King's impressively ignorant and racist anti-immigration rants, to the blame-shifting blather and willfully wrong lies about who's to blame for Detroit's failure, to the Justice Department's new challenge of unjust voter laws in states like Texas and North Carolina, there's been no shortage of real news.

Today is Friday though, and for members of Congress and their staff, it's almost time for their annual August recess, aka "summer vacation." We know many members of both the House and Senate have plenty of activities planned in their home districts, and some staff members we know personally are going to use their staycations to try to get caught up on things they've missed dearly - like sleep.

We'd recommend to our friends on the Hill, however, that they hold off from getting too comfortable.

As we noted in Thursday's edition, President Obama and his supporters are obviously not going to be taking a break during August. Their plans are clear: Roll out to events all over the nation, and push Republicans and Democrats in Congress to actually get stuff done when they they get back to DC. For their part, the Congressional Republican leadership also made it clear to their members this week, with their 'Summer Break Packet', that August shouldn't be thought of as a month to relax by the pool and eat bonbons.

That GOP packet makes it clear - the Republican events next month may look more like the town halls of hatred that were ginned up against Obamacare in August of 2009. Already, right-wing propaganda organizations and well-trained puppet governors on the right are trying to crank up the fear machine in advance of those town hall meetings.

Not everyone is planning on a month of heat and hatred though. As Greg Sargent of The Plum Line blog at the Washington Post noted, Congressional Democrats also have a plan of their own they may put into action next month. Instead of heatedly pointing fingers at all the usual suspects on who's to blame, and not doing anything, House and Senate Democrats are proposing the idea of joint town halls, Republicans and Democrats together, focusing calmly on ideas to fix a big problem - like immigration.

That may not sound like the usual procedure for an August recess, but to us it sure sounds like a welcome change of pace to the yelling, screaming, overheated, and ultimately pointless town hall gatherings of the past. It even reminds us a bit of the cool-headed approach displayed during the Amash/Conyers Amendment debate in the House this week.

Think about it - instead of pointless accusations, yelling and screaming? Cool, logical, productive debate instead, in the heat of August.

Might be worthwhile to try somethin' different this year...

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