Donald Trump

No, Congressional Republicans, Your Inability to Do Your Job Is Not the Media's Fault

Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows tries to blame congressional inaction on the media's obsession with Trump/Russia.

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In the run-up to Capitol Hill's two-day festival of high-profile congressional grillings of various intelligence types over President Donald Trump's controversial Russia-related activities, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the influential House Freedom Caucus, penned a CNN Opinion op-ed with the spittake-worthy headline of "How Russia hysteria paralyzes Congress." And yes, Meadows really goes there:

[A]verage Americans…will tell you that they could care less about the latest Washington cable news drama. Rather, what they care about are policies that impact their families, their pocket books and their everyday lives.

Political media and DC elites often forget that the average American family is struggling to save for the future—and in fact almost half couldn't cover an unforeseen $400 expense. Despite the fact that millions of men and women across this country are working second and third jobs, they are struggling to feed their families.

Those Americans—from Western North Carolina to Ohio to Pennsylvania to Michigan—aren't focused on the latest breaking "news" on the Russia investigation. They care about seeing results and solutions that help their businesses survive—and grow. They care about having access to high quality, affordable health care. They care about lower taxes that allow them to keep more of their paychecks. They care about the safety and security of their family.

And, in Washington, we have done an abysmal job of maintaining our primary focus on those issues. Passing important policy that impacts every day Americans requires consensus building, marketing our ideas to constituents through media and building coalitions of support. With the constant focus on Russia, big important policy items like tax reform have been stalled….

The hysterics surrounding Russia merely serve to distract from accomplishing the priorities of the American people—and for what, partisan gain?

While I do appreciate the "we" in that penultimate paragraph, which at least acknowledges the existence of personal responsibility, the overall thrust of this exercise is to transform the word and into because. Congress has done an abysmal job AND there are a lot of media hysterics surrounding Russia, not BECAUSE.

Media obsession with Trump/Russia has not prevented the GOP-led Congress from doing the de minimis legislative-branch job of passing a freaking budget. Rachel Maddow's heavy breathing had nothing whatsoever to do with last month's congressional agreement to increase federal spending. It ain't Russian hookers slipping the handcuffs on the vast majority of congressmen when it comes to exercising constitutional responsibility for the waging of war. Tax reform is stalled largely for the decidedly less sexy reason that Republicans do not yet agree amongst themselves precisely how taxes should be reformed. And I reckon that when it comes to the most potentially significant act Congress has taken—the deeply flawed and remarkably unpopular American Health Care Act, which has Meadows' fingerprints all over it—the Freedom Caucus chair may soon wish he had been blocked by the distractionistas in the liberal media.

Not only is Meadows soft-pedaling the agency of politicians who, after all, have a literal vote when it comes to legislation, he's doing so in a way that carries the distinct whiff of pre-emptively minimizing in a timely manner the headline-making acts of congressional oversight this week against a Republican president. While inserting a make-no-mistake sentence about how "it's critical that we not gloss over any potential wrongdoing in the Russia investigation," Meadows nonetheless throws scare-quotes around the latest "scandal" and breaking "news," which was certainly not his rhetorical style when vigorously investigating the IRS/Tea Party targeting and all things Benghazi.

Meadows is on firmer ground when he asserts that "media and political hysterics" can "work in opposition to…getting to truth and transparency." Lordy is there ever hysteria out there. But in our two-party, three-branch, four-estate, fundamentally adversarial system, every scandal that rises to the level of televised hearings is guaranteed to come with generous helpings of partisan and media spittle. What's more—and this can really hurt the feelings of some of us who nurture romantic ideas about the pursuit of capital-T Truth—base partisanship is often a more potent motivation than the Scientific Method when unearthing politically relevant facts.

That, plus skepticism particularly of executive branch power, is why I defended the GOP's often hyperbolic efforts to scrutinize Hillary Clinton's actions involving Benghazi, and it's why I'd like to see constitutional conservatives hold Trump's feet more firmly to the fire when it comes to his obstructiony behavior. The media can be crying wolf, Democrats can be ludicrously conspiratorial, Congress can be cowardly, average Americans can be hurting, AND a president can be guilty of at least some wrongdoing, all at the same time. It has, after all, happened before.

NEXT: James Comey's Lackluster Civil Liberties Record Shows Washington's Failure to Police Itself

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  1. IT IS A VAST LEFT WING MEDIA CONSPIRACY!

    1. Comey is a Clinton man. And was a Director of money laundering HSBC Bank.

      Comey’s Bank

      Despite the $1+ billion fine no one was tried for the crime.

      His job in government was covering for criminals.

  2. Hey, at least they’re not blaming Democrats! You know who… never mind.

    1. I’m trying to follow the chain of blame here.

      Obama blamed the GOP, the GOP blames the media, the media blames the Koch Brothers.

      Whatever its size, the Kochs’ political involvement has been intense; a former employee of the Cato Institute told me that Americans for Prosperity “was micromanaged by the Kochs.” And the brothers’ investment may well have paid off: Americans for Prosperity, in concert with the family’s other organizations, has been instrumental in disrupting the Obama Presidency.

      THE FUTURE DOES NOT BELONG TO STRONGMEN!

      1. Wingnuts blame George Soros for everything. Soros – who fights for capitalism and democracy worldwide.

        Go figure. The Bratfart wingnut is devoid of logic.

        1. Soros opposes capitalism worldwide, and is the funding source behind Antifa, BLM, and Occupy. He is the chief enemy of civilization. And everybody knows it.

          1. “He is the chief enemy of civilization.”

            You sure the ‘chief enemy of civilization’ isn’t, say, ISIS?

            1. People like Soros interfere with governments dealing with ISIS. It is very difficult to stop Islamic murderers when PC progressives are constantly undermining efforts to do so.

              Bottom line: progressivism is a cancer, and Soros is a massive malignant tumor.

            2. I thought the chief enemy of civilization was sheepsquatch.

              1. You mean STEVE SMITH?

              2. I thought it was surprise and ruthlessness.

                No wait, those are the chief tools of the Spanish Inquisition.

                1. Well, that was unexpected.

                  1. I thought it was me…..I must think too highly of myself :/

          2. Soros opposes capitalism worldwide

            You are truly a fucking idiot of the highest magnitude.

            Wingnuts think this about Soros just because he opposed the fascist Bushpigs in 2004. I suppose Warren Buffett opposes capitalism too?

            1. Buffett approves of the cronyist kind. Soros is a human cancer. Buffett’s just sometimes insufferable.

              1. Yes, according to you TEAM RED! morons only a GOPer can be a capitalist. Buffett, Gates, Jobs, Bezos, Soros, etc are all communists even though they earned hundreds of billions the capitalist way.

                Got it.

                Go fuck yourself – you TEAM RED! hack.

                1. Buttplug|6.7.17 @ 9:37PM|#
                  “Yes, according to you TEAM RED! morons only a GOPer can be a capitalist. Buffett, Gates, Jobs, Bezos, Soros, etc are all communists even though they earned hundreds of billions…”

                  Along with tax-grubbing ‘heroes’, you managed to toss in some who really did succeed at capitalism.
                  Given your sad intellectual abilities, I’m tempted to believe you did so by accident. But given your constant lying, it’s probably mendacity.
                  Yep, both.

            2. Palin’s Buttplug|6.7.17 @ 9:12PM|#
              “You are truly a fucking idiot of the highest magnitude.”

              That’s rich coming from turd.
              Pay your bet?
              How about telling us how government price fixing means an ‘open internet’ again? That’s always good for a laugh.

  3. Congress has done an abysmal job AND there are a lot of media hysterics surrounding Russia, not BECAUSE.

    Wrong! How the hell is a congresscritter supposed to know which way the political winds are blowing unless the media tells him? How does he know what to believe if nobody tells him what’s popular to believe?

    1. Nobody cares about what the media is doing but the media is still somehow responsible.

  4. The leftist media is to blame for all Republican failures!
    -the GOP strategy for the next two years.

    The hysterics surrounding Russia merely serve to distract from accomplishing the priorities of the American people — and for what, partisan gain?

    Remember Benghazi, Mark?

    1. And further reading told me that Welch already made the point about Benghazi.

      The leftist, corporate, DC media hacked off another piece of my fragile ego.

      1. The leftist, corporate, DC media

        Matt Welch lives in New York.

      2. The leftist, corporate, DC media hacked off another piece of my fragile ego.

        “For every thousand hacking away at the branches of Crusty’s ego, there is one striking at the root.”

        Strike the root.

        1. “For every thousand hacking away at the branches of Crusty’s ego, there is one striking at the root.”

          This euphemism was the nickname of my post-rock band in college

  5. Well don’t encourage them.

    Nothing they want to pass will help anyone in this room, or anyone else in the long run.

    1. We need them to pass everything you revile so this country can survive. I know how desperately you want to destroy America, like Chavez caused Venezuela to implode, but it’s not going to happen here. Best that you and your treasonous friends just get the fuck out of my country.

      1. You’re insane.

        1. My mental health (which is awesome) is irrelevant to the fact that the neo-marxist democrats have worked hard to bankrupt this country and destroy individual rights. As shitty and weak as the republican congress is, they are desperately needed to save America from the aforementioned marxist traitors.

  6. Lol because most republicans are spineless POSs. They easily bet bullied by the media thinking they actually represent anyone, and if they don’t do what the media wants they will lose re-election.

    How the fuck did that work for McCain? Had a friend who worked for the local GOP and he said it perfectly — “the only reason McCain is liked is because the media loves him. As soon as he runs for President they will turn on him in a second and he will lose”

    Yeah…

    1. They easily bet bullied by the media thinking they actually represent anyone, and if they don’t do what the media wants they will lose re-election.

      Trump proved this to be completely untrue. The GOP understands that their base loathes “the media,” therefore, they will blame the media for all their ills.

    2. McCain was loved my the media in 1999-2000 before he became just another conservative idiot after 9/11.

      1. This is something we agree on.

      2. I saw a lot of McCain being paraded around when we were bombing Syria. Politico makes a big deal of his opposition to Trump. He gets covered when he accuses everyone of being a Russian spy or useful idiot. Like the other neocons, he’s occasionally brought up as nostalgia for when Republicans were apparently not as bad as they are today

  7. I was concerned that a R POTUS and R majorities in both houses was going to lead to a pile of new gov’t activity. They can blame the wrappers on their Subway sandwiches AFAIC, just keep on doing nothing! We’ll all be better off.

  8. Team Blue: blame the rich!
    Team Red: blame the media!

      1. Well then, why don’t you two fagus go and suck each other’s assholes then?

        1. OMG, so hilarious. You put the class in classic comedy.

          1. Hey Chipper, maybe those two will let you sit in the corner and watch.

        2. I thought you cuckservatives all played with each other’s pussies over at Bratfart.com?

          1. Palin’s Buttplug|6.7.17 @ 9:45PM|#
            “I thought…”

            Not possible, turd.

          2. The best line of this whole exchange!

            They are getting out of control over there, lot of talk about meeting up and shooting things. I troll there from time to time, and to get them going you mention golf, to get a 24 hour ban, and get most of posts deleted all you need is to mention El Chefe’s bankruptcies.

            All kidding aside, great article, right on the money.

  9. Fucking dipshits. Get handed the presidency, house, senate, now have a conservative majority on the court, and they will accomplish exactly squat. Just like with W his first few years when the GOP had the house and senate. Today our rights still get trampled on, spending continues going to the moon, no tax cuts in sight – just a clusterfuck disaster. Now say what you will about the democrats, but they take the legislative branch and presidency, for what, two year between 08-10?? Hello nationalized healthcare, some sort of “build America” bullshit where we spend a trillion $$, and I am sure some bike path was built in California somewhere with that money… pretty much whatever they wanted. The GOP would find a way to fuck up a bowl of cereal.

    1. I guess now we know which party is the stupid one and which is the evil one.

      O wait, they’re both stupid and evil. One can just get a few things done.

      1. And we’d all be better off if they wouldn’t: c.f. “O-care”.

  10. Yeah, it isn’t the media that has made you sell out all of your damned “ideals”, making the complaint that “Trump isn’t a real Republican” all the more laughable as “Real” Republicans do not seem to have any actual beliefs/

    1. Sure they do. Don’t confuse congressional republicans with the actual republican voters. They’re worlds apart.

  11. “Congressional Republicans: Your unwillingness to do your job is not the media’s fault.”

    Fixed that for you.

    1. If Sessions rightfully had most of the mainstream media locked up for sedition tomorrow, they would still puss out on doing their jobs.

  12. I don’t understand why democrats forgot that diplomacy exists.

  13. At heart, most politicians are spineless, far more concerned about maintaining viability and being re-elected than in addressing any of the shit on which they campaigned. Campaigning is easy; it’s full-on emoting. Legislating is hard, it’s a grind, someone’s going to be pissed off no matter what you do, you may have to compromise which is like the worst political sin imaginable. Far easier to do nothing which, from my viewpoint, is just fine.

  14. [turns off lights, lights a candle, sits in front of mirror]

    Agile Cyborg, Agile Cyborg, Agile Cyborg!

  15. Matt and Reason – please provide your proposed budget, ACA alternative, and tax reform plan.

  16. Your “average American” doesn’t even vote. There’s your mandate Congress.

  17. There was a time when Republicans whining about the media had some merit. After all the media is biased to the left and has been that way for a long time. But the whining has gone on for so long, PLUS, conservatives have spent the last two decades building their own ‘alternative’ media empire, that I don’t really give a shit anymore that they find the rest of the media biased against them. Now, unlike in the past, conservatives have their own media to consume.

    1. The media isn’t just biased, it’s working hand in hand with the DNC and the various democrat campaigns. All proven by the Wikileaks documents dump last year.

  18. Comey is a Clinton man. And was a Director of money laundering HSBC Bank.

    Comey’s Bank

    Despite the $1+ billion fine no one was tried for the crime.

    His job in government was covering for criminals.

  19. The media and the DNC are, in fact, using media created scandals as a means to paralyze the administration and the Congress. This isn’t in question. Even the blind can see it*.

    Meadows is complaining about that AND about the fact that it SHOULDN’T immobilize Congress.

    *Journalists, Journolists, and leftists think they’re actually succeeding in altering opinion though–in much the same way that they thought that their fake polls would give Hillary a landslide victory.

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