- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 20, 2010

The anti-incumbency fever currently sweeping the nation may have less to do with individual representative’s voting records and more to do with what Congress lately has become.

Average Americans are changing their definition of corruption, viewing it more broadly and politically. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, stimulus, pork, millions to airports no one uses, bridges to nowhere, prosecution of Navy SEALs on questionable testimony, debt, broken promises - the list goes on, and it’s getting more attention than ever before from the general public. The perception of corruption - in combination with the arrogance demonstrated by congressional leadership engaged in name-calling and devaluation of voter opinion - supports this anti-incumbency fever.

Names and political parties may change, but on any given issue, you can find a congressman doing exactly the same thing he has so vehemently castigated others for doing - as long as they were from the other party. Same rhetoric, different players. The lack of credibility associated with such rhetoric is perhaps the most blatant characteristic of the current bahavior in Congress.

Common sense is too often trumped by ideology on both sides.The case of legislators not reading major pieces of legislation is an inescapable symptom. Members of Congress let ethics issues slide if their party is in power, and heaven help you if you’re on the other side.

The bottom line is that only Congress can reform Congress. There is no hint of that occurring at present. Therein lies the basic frustration driving the anti-incumbency trend. How do you get Congress to change its culture of corruption when its members are the folks driving the bus? Answer: you don’t.



DENNIS LANDRY

South Riding, Va.

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