GateHouse — SSSHHHSHSSHSHSH OH MY GOSH WOULD YOU KEEP IT DOWN PLEASE? You’ll wake the Congress! Wait, wait, come into the kitchen … over here … OK. Now. Mercy.
Sorry to yell, but Congress is really, really tired these days, and when Congress gets tired, it gets really colicky. The thing is, the more tired Congress gets, the harder it is to get Congress to take a nap, and don’t even get me started on trying to feed Congress when it’s like this. I’ve taken to putting Congress in the car and driving around for a while, but even if Congress falls asleep, you have to carry Congress back into the house, and Congress usually wakes up during the transition and starts in all over again.
Oh, don’t get me wrong – Congress doesn’t want your pity. It just wants your understanding and care and teary-eyed sympathy and a warm knowing hug, be you Democrat or Republican, black or white, fireman, teacher or 19-year-old Georgian kid toting 50 pounds of gear in arm hair-singeing 115-degree heat every day. Because Congress, as you may have been told by Congress, works extremely hard, up to five days a week, and sometimes it just needs to stop all the grueling labor involved with walking to more than a half-dozen smartly decorated offices a day, take several weeks off at the end of a summer, hit the tiki bar, put the Jimmy Buffett on and recharge the ol’ batteries. I mean, we all do it.
But don’t take it from me! Take it from Debbie Dingell, wife of Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., who reports — and you may want to stop what you’re doing for this part, particularly if what you’re doing is writing to relatives in Iraq, Afghanistan or New Orleans, or trying to figure out which groceries you’re abandoning this week so you can purchase gas — that her husband is really, really, really, REALLY kind of pooped.
“I’ve been around a long time,” Dingell told The Newspaper last weekend, “And this is the worst it’s ever been … fatigue has set in. It’s time for a break. All I hear from people is, ‘I cannot wait to get out of here.'” Oh, you think you had it bad, with your double-shifts and part-time night jobs and second or third tour? Imagine what it must be like for political consultants, lobbyists, Capitol Hill staffers, legal advisers and state representatives, who sometimes have to put in over-eight hour days for the express purpose of getting absolutely nothing done on Iraq. Workloads are mushrooming! People are getting home at 7 p.m.! Dogs and cats are living together! Cocktail hours are being skipped! SKIPPED!
(Oh hey, speaking of Iraq, sure, they have 12 cops and running water in almost 30 buildings, but they are totally rocking on the vacation thing: Their parliament is taking a full month off in August, which they’ll spend resting, regrouping and hitting up Dollywood. Here’s how out of whack the average vacation policy is in America: Iraq’s is way better).
This has been going on a while. You may remember a few weeks back, when the Democrats did this thing where they planned to stay up all night, get some things done and maybe, if there was time, play some “Guitar Hero II” and toilet paper Alberto Gonzales’ place. You may also remember that in doing so, the Democrats quite literally brought in cots and ordered pizzas, because all Democrats are apparently college freshmen. You may also remember that at the end of the night, which was about 11:30, the same thing happened that usually happened to me as a college freshman at 11:30 p.m.: nothing. Everyone went home, the cots were dismantled, no Iraq progress was made and the country’s valuable politicians got a little bit less sleep than usual.
But just in case you’re not feeling sick with empathy by now, because you’re a heartless jerk whose soul is made of gunk, perhaps your calloused soul can be touched by House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, who reports that “it’s hot, it’s humid and people are tired and ready to go home.”
Now, it’s been a long time since I took sophomore geography, but I am reasonably certain that Ohio is in what my teacher referred to as “the North,” and while I imagine it gets what the locals adorably refer to as humid in Ohio, it probably gets considerably more-so in other states, such as Florida, South Carolina, Mississippi and Louisiana, whose city New Orleans remains roughly one retaining wall and major storm away from drifting pleasantly into the Gulf of Mexico for the next few thousand years. But hey, John, you just get yourself into the air conditioning and some lemonade whilst I furnish the rest of your quote: “Most of America wants us to go home. It’s like this every summer.”
Here’s Boehner a few years back, referring to opponents of the war: “They have called Operation Iraqi Freedom a war of choice that isn’t part of the real war on terror. Someone should tell that to al Qaeda.” Why don’t you do it, John, whenever you can get back in?