Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is now describing the current Congress as the “most productive Congress in the history of the country.” He numbers among its accomplishments the “stimulus” legislation, the “health care reform” legislation, repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, new financial regulations, and the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts.
When you are in the moment, it is difficult to assess what the ultimate judgment of history will be. I doubt that many Americans would put the current Congress up among the great Congresses of the past, however. After all, voters just gave the boot to many of the Representatives and Senators who passed the legislation Reid touts, and Congress’ approval rating is a dismal 13 percent — its lowest level in decades. And those people who are critical of Congress no doubt will point to the things that Congress didn’t do, like passing appropriations bills or making meaningful cuts to the federal budget.
History will make its judgment, as history always does. In the meantime, there is something unseemly and profoundly unattractive about Senator Reid’s excessive pride. His hubris exemplifies a significant problem with the current uninspiring crop of legislators: they are oblivious to how they are being perceived outside the Beltway.