Wave goodbye to members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Doing nothing has taken a lot out of them, so they have left Washington for five weeks of rest, relaxation and campaigning in the hope that voters will return them to office to do more of the same.
This is especially the case for the large Tea Party contingent among the several score first-term Republicans. They set out to change Washington but settled for simply paralyzing it.
They repealed Obama’s health-care law 33 times but didn’t change one word of its 2,700 or so pages. They stopped the Grand Bargain over the debt and deficit even at the cost of exposing Speaker John Boehner as a scaredy cat. They haven’t been able to curb the excesses of Wall Street, keep the debt ceiling from rising, or end government subsidies to NPR or Amtrak — but by God, they can bring the capital to its knees. Nearly everyone hates Congress (well, about 80 percent of Americans do) yet the Tea Party — fortified by Sarah Palin, Senator Jim DeMint and the Club for Growth — is about to do for the Senate what it did to the House.