EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


January 5, 2013

Column: New Congress can’t do worse than the last one


All the Christmas trees that just came down in Washington should be composted.

Motherhood is not what it used to be. If you’re a politician, don’t talk about it.

Marriage is not what it used to be.

Apple pie can be dangerous if the apples have chemicals on them.

The National Rifle Association rules. Yesterday, it was “guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” Today: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” (Congress has a lot of guards with guns.)

Every member of Congress came to Washington to root out waste, fraud and abuse. While some people think one legislator’s waste is another legislator’s prime pork, there are some spending programs all can accept.

No regrets about closing the National Board of Tea Tasters a few years ago.

No one will ever again vote to spend money on anything called “The Bridge to Nowhere.”

Slashing $500 billion over 10 years from defense spending is a good idea except for research and development on weapons being built in any powerful senator’s backyard, ammunition for troop training and air conditioning in VIP visitor centers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It’s a good thing the fiscal cliff was averted even though the deal included $480 million for Puerto Rican and Virgin Island rum production, $59 million for algae growers, $15 million for the movie industry to film in the United States and $40 billion a year for racetrack owners for their tracks, bleachers and concession stands.

OK, so the 112th Congress was the paragon of least productive Congress in U.S. history in terms of bills passed, which pleases Tea Partiers no end but alarms everyone else. Apparently, it was also the least popular Congress of all time. It also created the fiscal cliff out of thin air before it saved us from it.

The 113th has nowhere to go but up or it could be even worse. It’s kind of intriguing, really.

Is that Boehner over there in the corner crying?

Scripps Howard columnist Ann McFeatters has covered the White House and national politics since 1986.

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