Great Theater, But Little Progress

The new congressional majority is making great headlines beating up members of the executive branch, but making little progress on important priorities of the nation.

House Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) has subpoenaed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rise over nuclear yellow cake, sparking a possible executive branch-legislative branch showdown. This fight will dominate the headlines. But what new ground will this hearing break? After all, Rice already testified on this issue in her confirmation for the post she currently occupies.

Following the grilling of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales last week over the firing of U.S. attorneys who everyone agrees the president has the right to fire, you can see a trend here.

In fact, members of the executive branch are testifying all over the place, and it has successfully put the White House on the defensive. These hearings and battles may work as an effort to destroy the White House politically, but I don’t think they work to re-brand the Democrats as an effective majority.

Only real legislative results will help the Democrats achieve that goal. And so far, the Democrats have been too busy attacking the White House to make any real progress on any legislative agenda.

Where are they on comprehensive immigration reform? We have a real crisis in the immigration law today, and it is harder and harder to find highly qualified engineers to help our high-tech industry stay at the cutting edge. But I don’t hear of any progress.

Education needs to improve so we can train the next generation of workers. So where is the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind bill? So far, little progress.

Crime is back on the rise, not only in the big cities, but also in the suburbs and in rural America. Gang activity and drug abuse are hurting families and undermining school safety. What have the Democrats done to fight crime? Nothing.

Entitlements need to be controlled better so that our country can remain prosperous. What have the Democrats done so far? Nothing.

While it is relatively early in the legislative year, the new majority needs to be taking steps now so that it can get something done later. But instead it is focusing on producing great theater. But a good show will not make America stronger, safer or more secure. If the Democrats now in power want to brand themselves as the good stewards of the people’s money, they need to start getting something done now.