BOSTON (CBS) – I wonder how the first few days of vacation went for members of Congress, back home after their latest demonstration of grotesque incompetence?

One can only hope they are getting an earful that reflects the all-time low approval ratings for Congress in the latest polls, in the wake of a performance in the debt-ceiling debate that led to a downgrading of our credit rating and helped fuel yesterday’s historic market crash.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

I spent part of my shift last night reviewing remarks by “leaders” of both parties about the situation, and I must say, even by their traditionally low standards, they were pitiful.

Watch Jon’s WBZ-TV report

On the Sunday talk shows, the likes of John Kerry, Obama campaign guru David Axelrod, and Howard Dean (side question – who cares what Howard Dean thinks about anything?) were all parroting the same talking point – the S & P downgrade of our credit was the fault of the handful of Tea Party Republicans who threatened to vote against raising the debt ceiling if they didn’t see serious budget cuts.

How foolish, in light of the fact that most of the mushrooming debt S & P cited in their action, was accrued before any of the Tea Partiers were even elected.

Blaming them for our debt crisis – which is what prompted most of them to run in the first place – is every bit as ridiculous as blaming President Obama for the runaway spending and greed-crazed financial train wreck he inherited.

And I see zero high ground here for Republicans who keep repeating their pet talking point about higher taxes being a “jobs killer” when we have seen repeatedly in the past that careful changes in the tax code can help solve fiscal problems that are even worse job killers than the taxes themselves.

And a final raspberry for the president, who gave yet another lame address about the need for common sense and compromise, but offered neither in the mad rush for health-care reform that helped mobilize his opposition and cripple his political clout.

One word comes to mind as I watch these inept egomaniacs drive us off the road: help!

Enjoy your vacations, incumbents.

If there’s any justice, you’ll be starting a long one come November of next year.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

Comments (39)
  1. Becky Tornblom says:

    When will both the populace and the politicians have the courage and maturity to realize that this debt issue is going to demand some sacrifices for everyone?
    Whatever happened to the concept of “the common good?” There are no innocent parties here, and the constant ideological warfare paralyzes and dimishes EVERYONE!

    1. roadbowler says:

      I think the crux of the problem is the Tea Party doesn’t trust the government. I know I sure don’t. Allowing them to hike taxes and giving them a quick influx of tax revenue is a recipe for disaster. Who’s to say they will be responsible with the new revenues??? Spending cuts are almost foolproof. You’re automatically reducing the deficit by cutting spending whereas increased revenues can be spent.

  2. Paul says:

    I realize that our “vote” provides “term limits” to our politicians….but I would like to have REAL term limits. Our “representitives” spend 1/3 of their time “working” for the people, 1/3 of their time working for themselves and filling their own pockets, and 1/3 of their time campaining for their next term/office. It’s a wonder how they have time to take their many vacations at our expense.

  3. Brian T. Holmes says:

    How can Obama escape all blame? John, you dont have to suck up forever! I heard you say this AM that he inherited this mess. Are you kidding me?? Obama care? What was the unemployment rate when he took office. Bush was blamed for everything for 8 well make that almost ten years. COME ON!

    1. Jeff Kingston says:

      That is absolutely correct. You are an astute observer of the complete and total failure of GW

      1. Buzzy says:

        And you Jeff, are a stupid observer if you believe your statement is true. Like so many of your remarks here, you offer no facts nor solutions, just ridicule of ones spelling or taking statements out of context. It is Obama and his supporters who are in denial and should be in denile and away from Washington D.C.

    2. Jon Keller says:

      From my commentary: “And a final raspberry for the president, who gave yet another lame address about the need for common sense and compromise, but offered neither in the mad rush for health-care reform that helped mobilize his opposition and cripple his political clout.”

      If that’s sucking up, I guess I’m guilty.

  4. JohnC says:

    Aside from the minor point that it’s clearly unconstitutional, National health care is just another program that will break the bank and be a haven for thousands of unnecessary Federal employees.

  5. foamy says:

    Well Jon – I have to say this is one of your best columns I’ve ever read here, where, for once, you take almost equal shots at both sides. The one thing you neglected (which the President also did during his first 2 years) is that the vast majority of runaway spending and resulting economic devastation that Obama inherited occurred during the last 2 years of the Bush presidency – when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. It’s Congress that spends money, and the Democrats had 4 years of unchecked spending bliss, and for the last 2 years controlling the legislative AND executive branches we are where we are. I do agree with you – throw them ALL out and start from scratch.

  6. Stephen Stein says:

    Couldn’t find anything to disagree with in your commentary today, Jon.

    I was wondering about the odd spectacle yesterday in the markets, though, and I haven’t heard too many commentators remarking on a very strange thing: people were bailing out of stocks, true, but what were they buying?

    Some were buying gold, but mostly the money was going into US Treasuries, the very thing that S&P downgraded! After their role in setting up the 2008 financial disaster (giving high grades to all the junkie mortgage-backed securities), I have no idea why anyone would pay attention to the ratings agencies at all.

    Looks like the markets agree with me.

  7. Stephen Stein says:

    Now that this manufactured debt-limit sideshow is out of the way, it’s time for the main event – The Budget.

    Now, budget bills have to originate in the House, where there was a great show made by the Republicans trying to push a balanced budget amendment (“cut, cap and balance”). But constructing a balanced budget doesn’t require an amendment! If Tea Partiers want a balanced budget – propose one!

    Time for Republicans to put up or shut up. But, alas, I predict they will do neither.

    1. mikey says:

      …hence we continue to circle the drain.

  8. fred says:

    Obama’s speech was another snorefest. The down grade should be a wake-up call but Obama is still in denile. Any businesses that operates fiscally like the US goverment does would be put on COD by its creditors. He said he will be putting together a plan in next few weeks. How can he when he doesn’t have a clue. I hope we can keep treading water until 2012. Not that the rebublicans are much better but perhaps the next president can exude some capable confidence to bolster the economy instead of the unqualified malaise thatcomes from Obama.

    1. Jeff Kingston says:

      denile is a river in Egypt being described by a resident of South Boston. Denial is a state of not accepting responsibility.

  9. decol says:

    The need for TERM LIMITS is overwhelming!!!!

  10. KathyD says:

    I just want to retire someday. That’s all. Is that too much to ask?

  11. Masshysteria says:

    S&P missed on Enron, Worldcom, and of course the 2008 fiasco. Now they want to make political statements in their reports. Who elected any of them? They are quickly becoming irrelevant­.

    1. Jeff Kingston says:

      Except for the fact that they have just about destroyed our economy in about 14 days.

  12. Tucker says:

    how much could we save if we stopped giving money to countries that hate us?

  13. Tuke says:

    I would like to note that as bad as the economy is , it is a global problem, not just a domestic problem. If the economists of the day, of any nationality, figured out the solution, you can believe it is the one time all the politicians would agree on something.
    As for the debt ceiling debacle and the downgrade which followed. Until the moderates of both sides can get into office, and get some traction, we can only look forward to more of this finger pointing, “my way or the highway” attitude. When did compromise become a dirty word, anyway?

  14. Mr. Smith says:

    I’ve got two words that are even better than Term Limits: RECALL ELECTIONS.

    Every politician in the House of (Mis)Representatives, the Senate, and even President Obama should face recall elections immediately.

    While there are a few good MODERATE politicians out there who are actually willing to reach across the aisle and form a bipartisan compromise (like Scott Brown), the vast majority of Washington is either working for certain radicalized special interest groups (that control both parties) or their own interests, not THE PEOPLE.

  15. emom says:

    grotesque incompetence?

  16. mikey says:

    ‘Losers’ Should Be Ashamed

  17. tsal says:

    The saddest part of all is that no one is listening. Is S&P the deciding factor? Doesn’t matter whether you believe it is, certainly the markets do, and that’s what in the end matters. The reason for the downgrade was the failure for our two parties to work together, to cut entitlements and to end the tax cuts for the wealthy And if there isn’t a sign of some form of recognition of these facts, the rating will be lowered again.

    What are our people in Washington doing? You’d think they’d stop pointing fingers and get to work understanding that in the fall we may be facing something far worse when we have a second downgrade and look back thinking that this time around was a party. No – they are pointing fingers and screaming even louder and not one of them has anything constructive to say. And worse. The American people are doing the same thing.

    The comment “circling the drain” says it all.

  18. beaches says:

    All politician should have a 4 year term limit,when they leave office they should have to look for a job not in government, and get no pentions! That alone should cure the debt in this country. But noooooo that’s to simple!

  19. tsal says:

    The one problem with the term limits IMHO is that it’s the senior politicians that have made the sense in all of this – SOME OF THEM. The new politicians – the tea party members – have said they are there to force their point and do not care if they are re-elected. I used to agree with term limits but in this case it is the freshmen – again IMHO – that have nailed us to the wall and caused a vast portion of this mess.

    1. BostonIrish says:

      Too few to make any exceptions. The problem is systemic and needs to be rectified, even at the cost of shedding useful candidates. Put them into effective places after their terms are up. But term limits must become standard, at least for the forseeable future. Make the turnover rate high, and get effective, creative results. The quicker elected officials with failed policies are voted out, the better for improving policies that are bringing about need change. My opinion.

      1. tsal says:

        totally disagree when an entire group was elected with the plan to stay in office only long enough to totally disrupt our system.

        It’s up to the American people to vote out the elected officials with failed policies and inexcusable that they need a crutch like term limits. As voters, do your job – period. What would possess anyone to want to get rid of even few good officials because the voters cannot do their job. That theory convinces me even more that term limits are not acceptable.

        I’ve been emailing and calling every congressman on all sides for a month now and I have no intention of stopping. It is the duty of every single American to do the same. Stop complaining and get up to speed and call and vote. Stop putting all of the blame on the politicians.

    2. tsal says:

      And before anyone decides it’s the senior democrats I have in mind when I say this, the first person who comes to my mind is McCain. I may not agree with everything he says but he has been the voice of reason in the republican party – a party that is so divided that it has created a good part of the dysfunction. I’d hate to see him go and some of the moronic freshmen stay – the ones with no agenda and not a complete mind among them.

      1. BostonIrish says:

        Your method of emailing and trying to get a positive response isn’t working. It’s time for a more effective way of making them “hear” us. My opinion is still term limits immediately. Good luck with your method.

      2. tsal says:

        Worries me more than a little when you want to vote out the person you voted for to be president in the last election. If that’s effective then we have a whole lot more to worry about than I was even aware of. One person emailing and calling cannot work. Again a voter cop out because phone lines tied up for one day or two means yet again the American people have short memories and like to complain more than they like to actually do something.

  20. LindaMary says:

    Dear Jon – I did agree with everything you said except for health care reform – just as messed up as this disaster as I remember – somehow something had to get started toward universal healthcare – and I’m glad we are going however painfully down that road – it is necessary!

  21. Joan Hogan says:

    I Still Believe That President OBama Did Extremely Well Considering all he had
    to endure from the Nations Problems he was left to deal with from The Bush
    Administration , and the Irrational attitudes he endured from The Self Centered
    leeches better known as the Republicans.

  22. emom says:

    The tea baggers are weak,,, Really they speak a lot , but I am not all that sure if they have been successful in what they where looking for.. The jury is out on them . Most of the old boys are out for RICHES, they neither care nor wish to listen to the American public… All they want to hear is CHA CHING and watching their gold puffed up wallets grow.. The younger politicians well are way to inexperienced to even attempt to be taken serious enough , and they talk a great game of what they envision our future to be.,. However they have not given us a true outlook to be convinced, Over all in the last 10 years we have seen the stock market crash at least 3 times, a recession once again,, both a product of the bush era, YES I remember the lay offs during that time… debt beyond our imagination and yet record unemployment once again.. If I hear RIDE THIS OUT again,,, OH wait I did… we have been riding it out since bush senior. How much can one ride out , Its worse than a roller coaster . Honestly if anyone ever believes they care about the wellbeing of people let alone our future,,, well we are sadly mistaken.. All they hear is WHITE NOISE…

    1. tsal says:

      emom – you are right. Very well said. So we have the option to vote them out but in the meantime what do we do to get them to stop acting like idiots and talk to each other instead of about each other?

      1. Willow says:

        I agree with both tsal and emom. Unfortunately, there are still people who will vote one way no matter what their party is doing to this country. I’d like to see the parties done away with and have candidates who run on their ability to govern, not how they feel about the other party or other candidates. I really wish we could fire them all . Of course, that can never happen, but if anyone believes our debt can ever be paid off, you are sadly fooling yourselves. It’s too late and we are all going down together.

  23. Reasonguy says:

    We really need no more “experienced” carreer politicians anymore. We need fresh ideas or a revolution!

  24. JohnC says:

    LindaMary, Please read the constitution of the United States. All of it, even the ammendments. Then please tell me where the US government has the authority to legislate health care, health care insurance, or anything to do with healthcare. I am not opposed to national health care; I am opposed to legislation that is clearly outside the intent of the constitution. National healthcare requires a constitutional ammendment. Healthcare is not a power granted to the federal government. It is a power reserved for the states. Incidentally, so is education.

  25. emom says:

    When the working Poor go looking for work, They MUST have an up to date resume’, show they have experience in their field, List of references, The more years with a job the better an applicant looks. And once an applicant has been hired there is a grace period in some jobs to see if this person will work well with them. Like their proving time,,, During which time if the applicant proves their worth they are then hired on full time. After a year they have their first review, to see if their performance held up to their resume; and they proved their worth once again. At that point they either get a raise, or given training or let go because they are not working out for the company.. Another proving point to a resume should be , Holding them accountable for what they say,,, In other words, If they make a promise or state they plan on doing something like fixing a problem… as like what a contractor would say and do,, Then we need to hold them accountable for such actions…. If you hire a contractor and they claim and state they can have a job done and finished for a certain price and time frame , but they fall short of that and the work is not up to what they state they do , then we fire them and don’t pay them. Sure problems can come up that may not have been seen prior, But if a contractor is good enough they take some of the problems into consideration for the job, So why cant we hold politicians accountable for their promises, actions, and their job performance,,,, I mean if they are suitable for the job and claim they can do , but only to find out they fail miserably,,, Like Lawrence mayor,, Then why do we need to go thru hoops to eradicate them… costing tax payers millions in CLEANING UP YET ANOTHER MESS CURTESY OF THE STATE….I feel if we implement measures to curb problematic politicians, making them aware we will not take on more than we paid for, nor should have to pay for again and again. Alone with term limits, then we can send a huge message to them that the American poor workers are fed up with how this country is being handled on a daily basic and we find we need competent employee’s for our money,, we are the boss of a great company yet we have absolutely NO say on who we hire, can not deal out reprimands, for miss deeds, nor can praise those that have gone above and beyond their work to prove their worth.,.. We pay their salaries and WE as AMERICAN TAX PAYERS, SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT to say if these politicians are worthy of our tax money……. We should have the last say and should be advised on what needs to be done…sure it’s a bigger problem to deal with,, But we hire them to work for US. Not for their gold inflated puffed up wallets. Filled with OUR TAX DOLLARS which they take gladly , YET do absolutely nothing for it…. Measures need to be taken to protect the tax payers, that is what and how it was to work out, somewhere alone the lines over the last century it has changed and gotten lost in translation…. I think we need to find the path back to our past and reread what our forefathers had originally started and go from there.. They would so be ashamed of what has happened today…. IT’S TIME FOR A HUGE CHANGE AND WE THE WORKING POOR TAX PAYERS OF THE UNITED STATES NEEDS TO BE HEARD , LISTENED TOO, AND ALLOWED A SAY IN HOW OUR TAX MONEY IS BEING USED….. Calling congress only falls on deaf EARS, as has every president …………HOLD EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM ACCOUNTABLE ,, IT’S THE BEST AND ONLY WAY TO FORCE THEM INTO COMPLIANCE.

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