Keller @ Large: ‘Super Committee’ Off To Bad Start

BOSTON (CBS) – Only three of the 12 members have been named yet, and they won’t even begin meeting for a few more weeks, but already it’s looking like that new “super-committee” — charged with hammering out the reasonable budget-and-debt-reduction plan the full Congress couldn’t accomplish — is going to need a new name.

Something like: super-fiasco.

I hope I’m wrong.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

But when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid kicks things off by nominating the likes of John Kerry and Patty Murray, who’ve spent much of the past week demonizing the opposition with harsh partisan rhetoric; and Nancy Pelosi, who will nominate the rest of the Democrats on the super-fiasco, goes on the road to tell audiences the Republicans don’t even care about deficit reduction, but are just using that as cover to “destroy” Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security; can anyone doubt that the GOP leaders will respond in kind?

They’ve already tried to claim that taxes are off the table for committee discussion, so their appetite for compromise was dubious even before this ruinous display of spite by the Democrats.

Like I said, I hope I’m wrong.

But for now at least, Washington appears to me to be a hopeless cesspool of partisan selfishness, personal narcissism, and ideological obsession.

Weak, unimpressive leaders, whipsawed by narrow-minded, self-serving underlings and special interests, justifying their failure by pretending they’re really standing up for principle when they’ve all seemed to forget the underlying principle of a functioning democracy — you’ve gotta find a way to compromise.

There are good people in DC, who care about our country more than themselves, I’m sure of it.

All I can say to them is, speak up now, or forever hold your peace.

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.

More from Jon Keller
  • Ed Dracut

    Any thing with Kerry BAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Stephen Stein

    So when Mitch McConnell announces the Republican “Super Senators”, will he choose someone as liberal as Max Baucus is conservative? *Is* there a Republican senator as liberal as Baucus is conservative? I doubt it.

    I predict Baucus will give in on entitlements and knuckle under to Republican no-revenue hardliners, and the votes will be mostly 7-5.

    But it’s the Democrats who are to blame, right?

  • foamy

    I’m actually kind of surprised Prince Harry didn’t throw Bernie Sanders or Chuck Schumer in there. John Kerry is a laugher – Mr. I Think Everyone Should Pay Their Fair Share Except Me. I don’t think McConnell has the berries to name Rand Paul. I think the House appointments will be more interesting, and it depends on who goes first – Boehner or Pelosi. Maybe the’ll alternate – like pick-up basketball – so one can “offset” the other? And Stephen – ever hear of Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins??

    • Stephen Stein

      I have. Those two and MAYBE Scott Brown on alternate days are the only senators who would fit the bill. Now let’s see if McConnell will name one of them to the panel… the chances of that are pretty close to zero, I think.

      Oh, and Sanders is not a Democrat. I don’t think he was “eligible” to be named to this panel.

      • foamy

        Well, Sanders caucuses with the Democrats – I didn’t know he was excluded. But, after reading up on Sen. Murray…I think Harry Reid shouldn’t be allowed to make decisions like this. You appoint a person who is in charge of raising money for the DSCC and expect her to be IMPARTIAL?? You expect her not to have lobbyists lined up at her door throwing everything at her so their interersts don’t hit the chopping block? Please…she is the poster child for caring only about getting her and her Democratic colleagues re-elected. She should withdraw immediately. You were right though – no RINO’s made the list. Your serve, Ms. Pelosi…

      • Stephen Stein

        I don’t know if he was excluded, per se (hence my quotes around “eligible”). I guess I just thought it was understood Reid would appoint Democrats.

        And show me a Congressperson who DOESN’T have lobbyists lined up at their door. Methinks you protest too much.

      • Stephen Stein

        In any case, I think it’s kind of funny how you seem to approve of the Republican’s exclusive selection of hardliners (which I infer from your use of “no RINOs”), yet you complain about the appointment of some partisan Democrats.

        What’s up with that?

  • petem

    You began your piece with a mistake. Harry Reid may have appointed his folks first, but Mitch McConnell stated last week that the people he would appoint would NEVER agree to a tax increase. So that in your mind doesn’t count for charging the atmosphere? I’m so tired of your and many of your collegues starting everything from the right’s perspective. The right is hardly ever right and I think everyone is afraid to make them mad. I’m not.

    • Jon Keller

      From the above commentary:

      “They’ve [the GOP] already tried to claim that taxes are off the table for committee discussion, so their appetite for compromise was dubious even before this ruinous display of spite by the Democrats.”

      Please take a moment to actually read what’s written before critiquing it. Thanks!

  • Willow

    All this super committee will accomplish is a chance for everyone to only have to speak over 11 other people instead of all of congress. It’s a joke just like everything else. It’s pretty bad when people who are elected and paid to do a job don’t do it and have to elect a special group to do it. Give me a break! If I couldn’t do the job I was hired to do, I would have been fired and the job given to someone who could.

  • GH

    Kerry what a fool. Now he surfaces because reelection is ahead. Same old DC politics. Give him face time to get relected

  • Reasonguy

    I was a on both sides of the political spectrum for years. Changed parties several times depending on the actions of my party then. However, I used to support Kerry until I went to his office for a matter that concerned my family and his staff met me with arrogance and inaction. Several times I called his office and even went in to meet with someone from his staff. Eventually what his office did was ignor me entirely. Granted I know they’ve got a number of things on their plate but they couldn’t give me the time of day. So I turned to a Senator whom I didn’t support or agree with all of his policies Scott Brown and his staff was excellent in listening and making an effort whereas Kerry and his staff didn’t do a thing. Suffice it to say Kerry is a career politician who has no focus but only to get elected. If only all senators had the drive prior to and during an election like Scott Brown party aside I think we’d be in a better situation. We need no more career politicians because both sides have proven where their loyalties lie….to thighest bidders which usually means not you or me.

  • blackbear1

    John Kerry!! Great!! Thank you all you “alleged leaders”. Thanks a lot! This just keeps getting worse.

  • hojo

    I can’t understand how a party that wants to practice Robin Hood economics (take from the rich and give to the poor) can nominate a rich tax dodger to this committee. Chuck Schumer may be very leftist, but he isn’t a tax dodger that we know of.

  • JohnC

    Reasonguy, I have had the same problem with Senator Kerry. When Ted was alive, any contact that I had with his office was treated as important, and with only one exception – during his treatment for brain cancer -I always recieved a prompt and reasoned reply.

    • hojo

      That’s odd. When I contacted Kennedy’s office I didn’t get a reply until my wife wrote him an angry letter. And that was in 2001.

  • mikey

    I can’t watch our “representatives” in action any longer. I’m getting depressed just like I did on 9/11 after watching the towers collapse. Now it’s our country that is in the process of collapsing.

  • tsal

    The supercommittte is a joke – it doesn’t matter who is elected and once again Americans are focusing on the little details instead of the major problems. No wonder we can’t accomplish anything. The super committee was created because of a lack of compromise. It was forced out of a situation where 300 million were held hostage for the purpose of destroying one. I groaned when I heard Kerry was appointed but I groaned a whole lot louder when I heard about the super committee in the first place. For those holding Brown up as the great hope, did I miss his call for compromise from the party he belongs to – the party that is so pathetically divided that it can’t possibly work effectively. I heard the call from other republicans so perhaps I just missed Brown’s speech.

    Mikey, I think many of us feel the same way.

  • tsal

    Well the GOP has named its group and all six have signed Norquist’s pledge. This is looking positive???????????? I see compromise has been added to the mix yet again.

  • andyme

    The supercommittee is a another cluster f–K!

  • Stephen Stein

    Well, the GOP picks Kyl (AZ), Portman (OH), and Toomey (PA) on the Senate side and Camp (MI), Upton (MI) and Hensarling (TX) from the House. No one who has expressed any interest in compromise. Still looks to me that Baucus will fold and the Supers will go 7-5 for no taxes and massive entitlement cuts. (Toomey has called cutting the Pentagon “unconstitutional”.)

    But remember, it’s Democrats who refuse to compromise.

    • Jon Keller

      Not so sure Baucus is the weak link you suggest – according to Alan Simpson, his only real input during the Bowles-Simpson process was to push for higher taxes ( Agree that the GOP picks seem just as bad as the Dems. You’ve never heard me claim the Republicans have clean hands in this debacle.

    • Stephen Stein

      Correction – it’s Kyl who has called defense cuts unconstitutional, not Toomey.

  • Mark

    What is so super about this committee? They appoint committees in DC all the time. What was the one we had recently that made recommendations for the budget issues. They were soundly ignored by both sides. This is a total waste of time & tax dollars and will only provide the media with sound bites for everyone’s reelection. The pickle heir is running again and needs free video for his campaign ads. If anything meaningful & fair comes out of this it will be a super miracle.

    • Stephen Stein

      The earlier super-committee (Simpson-Bowles) issued a report, but was unable to get the required consensus (a super majority) to make it official. If they had had consensus, it would have required the Congress to take up their recommendations.

      This committee only requires a majority. And if they are unable to get a majority, automatic cuts are triggered.

  • Randy Wilhite

    Oh good – the fox is guarding the hen house. Wasn’t he a senator when we got into this mess?

  • Harry W Fry Jr

    Right, Left, Liberal, Conservative, enough already. America can be strong again if politicians stop finger pointing and act like LEADERS, not school children! Set your partisan sniping aside and remember you are American first and foremost, elected to represent the wishes of your constituents. The bottom line is not a single politician is without sin and their own actions got us into this mess. Stop your paid vacation and get back to Washington DC and do your job. If not Americans should vote everyone out of office when their term expires demand term limitations by the new elected officials.

  • tsal

    Can someone please explain to me how any member of the super committee can be allowed to have signed a pledge not to raise taxes? Of course I’m not sure the GOP can find a member of its party that has not signed the pledge. What is wrong with us that we would not insist everyone go to the table with the intention of compromising?

  • Stephen Stein

    On the very day a CNN poll shows that most Americans want tax increases on this wealthiest Americans and no cuts to Social Security and Medicare, the Republicans appoint people who have pledged NOT to raise taxes and have all advocated cuts to entitlements.

    • tsal

      I saw that too, Stephen. It’s what prompted my 2:37 comment. What in heavens name is the GOP hearing – or they even care to listen?

      • petem

        What the GOP is hearing, and they’re hearing it from their lobbyist handlers is that they are to cut ‘entitlements’ (arent they called entitlements becasue we paid into them our entire working lives?) and they are to scream down any plan to raise taxes to make sure the wealthy pay at least the same % as their help. Of course there is a growing number of wealthy taxpayers who are calling for tax increases on themselves.

  • fred

    It is not a revenue problem it is a spending problem. This committee will acomplish nothing – it has gridlock written all over it. it’s time to simplify the tax code, get rid of the loop holes and make everyone pay something. everyone needs to have some skin in the game. that why the housing bubble occurred because people did not have to put up their own money to secure a mortgage (or at least not much fo their own money). Giving Washington more tax money is like giving an alcoholic more booze.

  • Ajay

    You forget that the purpose of the super-committee is not to solve the debt problems. I think we all pretty much agree that only more grid-lock can come from this group.
    This is not kicking the can down the road, its kicking it sideways. Obamba and the other ‘leadership’ don’t have to deal with the issue any more. Its now the “committee’s” problem. The leaders and the rest of congress don’t have to go on record for or against anything.
    Teddy Rossevelt said “The buck stops here.” Obama can say “The buck stops over there.” Nice move.

  • Stephen Stein

    The main problem with this committee is that it’s not dealing with the main problem, which is JOBS.

    Ari Berman: “The super-committee [is] tasked with deciding between two bad choices—a so-called grand bargain that would significantly reduce the social safety net vs. deep across the board cuts at a time of economic peril. The idea of doing anything to stimulate the economy is totally absent from its purview. The scope of the committee itself, rather than who’s on it, is the real problem.”‘super-committee’

  • Ron

    Both party’s have said that the voters are sending them a mixed message. How about we vote them all out of office during the next election. If you are Republican vote Democrat and if Democrat vote Republican. It should at least send a message.

  • The Owl

    One point that everyone commenting seems to gloss over is that the Republicans, need only swallow a reduction in defense spending to get 5% reductions in many governmental programs and projects.

    They are in the driver’s seat from the start, and there is nothing that Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi or President Obama can do about it.

    • tsal

      Glad to hear someone finally say that the GOP is in the driver’s seat. So far they’ve driven us to a lower credit rating and a disaster in the stock market. Finally, someone giving credit where credit is due.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Taz Show
Download Weather App

Listen Live