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.

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