Keller @ Large: Another Embarrassment For Congress

BOSTON (CBS) – The last survey I saw of confidence in institutions, the U.S. Congress was last, dead last.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Just so I make myself clear, fewer people have confidence in Congress than in any other major institution.

More people have faith in big business and banks, labor unions and the presidency, HMOs, even – incredibly – the news media.

But let’s be fair about this.

While Congress can’t be said to have provided stirring leadership in recent times, they can boast of some accomplishments.

And they do.

And sometimes, as you may recall from the playground, boasting can get you in trouble.

Just look at Congress, the House floor yesterday afternoon at about 3:30, for example, where an apparent spat over legislative bragging rights caused a 10-term veteran of the chamber to violate the House civility rules by making a personal attack on another member.

If I had time, we could have a fun guessing game over who this was, but we don’t, so it was Barney Frank, who got into it with a Republican rep from Texas who he accused of having stolen a bill filed by someone else and given it to a party crony to file.

Words were exchanged, at taxpayer expense, and Frank accused him of uttering “the most…dishonest statement I have heard uttered in this House,” which is quite a distinction, given the context.

Frank’s charge was stricken from the record and under House rules, he was barred from addressing the House for the rest of the day, which must have made for a long hour and a half.

An embarrassing episode for the institution?

Not according to an aide to the Republican involved, who told a DC web site that his boss “forcing Barney Frank to foul out in the first quarter is a good sneak peak at what the committee debate will look like under” his leadership.

Now that’s statesmanship.

No wonder people would trust almost anyone before Congress.

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
  • Willow

    In my opinion, Barney Frank was an embarrassment even before he entered into that meeting.

    • FireGuyFrank

      Agreed! His end of term can’t come fast enough. Wish we could dump all 435.

      • Willow

        Now that would be progress, which is the opposite of congress. :)

  • Dave_D

    How can someone be an “embarrassment for Congress”. Congress is an embarrassment.

    I remember a few years ago when a minor government official, while testifying before a Senate Committee, was asked why he didn’t report some infraction to the Senate Ethics Committee. His response, “I didn’t know that the Senate had ethics”.

  • mikey

    “I’m afraid I can’t use a mule. I have several hundred up on Capitol Hill.”
    – Ronald Reagan, refusing a gift of a mule

    • gramps

      The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.

      Alexis de Tocqueville


  • jaygee

    We try to teach our children how to behave yet all they are privy to is watching their “elders” act like fools. Is it any wonder that kids decide to try drugs, cheat, steal, bully other kids and rebel when they are subject to these actions every day in politics. I’ll wager 2 Cadillacs & a $10,000 dollar bet that you can relate to that.

  • j

    Why has the name of the Republican Rep. from Texas not been disclosed in this article?

  • tsal

    j – the texas fellow is Jeb Hensarling. The story behind the scene is that republicans are crediting Rep Ben Quayle (R-Az) for drafting part of the JOBS bill when in fact the real work was done by Reps David Schweikert (R-Az) and Jim Himes (D-CT). Funny that Quayle has just switched districts and is running against Schweikert. From what I VERY QUICKLY read it appears Quayle may have a few monkeys on his back.

    Technically, you should not care about who gets credit—– or should you. After all, and in support of what jaygee said, we teach our children not to plagiarize.

    It seemed odd to me that Hensarling felt the need to toss some salt in the wound – or frankly to make the comment he did in his opening remarks with regard to others worrying about who gets credit. Flags tend to go off for me when a person starts a conversation on the defensive. Frank’s words were strong but they were polite. The question to me is if someone on the floor claims credit or gives credit when it is not in fact the truth, what is worse – doing the deed or pointing out the dishonesty?

    jaygee I can relate to your comment but we never worried about our kids emulating others because we had confidence we taught them at home what was right and what was wrong. We also taught them to speak up when they felt there was a wrong – especially when something was done to another.

  • Nab71

    Barney stated”“this was the most…dishonest statement I have heard uttered in this House,” I feel badly now. I never realized that the reason that he talks the way that he does is because he is deaf. He hasn’t even been able to hear himself.

  • dowdy

    Barney Frank is the only member of the house that speaks his mind honestly. There are some honest women members too. Congress is now less popular than some diseases.

    • BostonIrish

      Barney Frank is a life-term member of Congress who has been a blight in the public eye. The man disgusts me. I have NEVER cared about his views. He is without a doubt easily one of the most obvious examples of the depraved political society members that has flourished in Washington. Where’s my vomit bag?

  • just wondering

    If Congress were a company would you hire it? Never mind, forget I asked.

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