Cheat-Seeking Missles

Sunday, January 07, 2007

PT 100: Pelosi's Transpaprent Dupe

Ever notice the kid just to the left of NanPo in this NYT photo? Does it look to you that he thinks Nan's going to hammer the hapless kid with the necktie?

Or maybe he's just trying to figure out what she means when she says "100 hours." There's 100 hours and then again there's 100 hours. In RT, real time, it's four days and four hours. In PT, Pelosi time, it's any amount of time she elects to make it -- and it appears that the "first 100 hours" she's given herself to pass a pre-polled popular package of bills will actually take three weeks or more to play out.

PT hours are only those when the House is in session ... not in committee hearings, because these bills don't get no stinkin' hearings ... but at their little desks in the Big Room. And don't expect 12- or 16-hour days five or six days a week from these guys. They are most definitely not the private sector.

So most Americans will wake up on Monday or Tuesday the week after next (PT time starts next Tuesday) and expect to see The First Woman Speaker on TV cheering on her victory. By the time she finally touts her win, sometime in early February, most Americans will be scratching their heads and wondering whatever happened to the 100 hours.

And then there will be the process. Pundits remember Delay's tactics and criticize the GOP for whining about Pelosi's. But I think the public will wonder why the Dems are violating normal processes while talking about openness and transparency, and it won't score them any points.

Pelosi is proving to be an extremely weak leader. After her early committee leadership debacles, she is now focused fully on image -- 100 hours, kids on the podium -- not issues, and she's behaving more like a bullying spoiled kid, not a politician. And when she pounds the gavel at the end of her PT 100, the bills she will have slammed through will be more symbolic than effective.

The OCRegister editorial page does a good job of deconstructing her proposals, showing how insubstantial they are. Here's just one:

The restrictions on lobbyingaffect lobbyists more than members of Congress. Since the restrictions involve lots of paperwork and reporting, they will fall hardest on those few lobbying organizations that most closely resemble genuine grass-roots efforts; the big boys will absorb the added costs fairly easily.

More fundamentally, as long as Congress pokes its legislative and regulatory nose into so many aspects of life, giving government the power to make or break certain businesses, those most directly affected will find ways to influence the process. The process won't get cleaner until there is less influence to peddle.

Giving the advantage to Big Corporations in the name of the Little People? It doesn't matter, as long as it's passed in PT 100.

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