There are fewer things more distasteful to watch than a Congress trying to get out of town before a long recess leading into a hotly contested midterm election. It's always full of craven declarations of accomplishment, not to mention midnight meetings about ways to pass bills that look good and compromises made with little other than an election in mind. All in all, not pretty.
And this Congress is no different. Consider the battle over increasing the minimum wage. Democrats really cornered Republicans by pointing out that while they had approved a $3,000 congressional pay raise, they had not increased the minimum wage in the past 10 years.Moderate Republicans panicked, pushing the leadership for a vote...and they got it. Maybe that's a good thing, in the end--but it isn't a professional way to legislate.
Then there's lobby "reform," which really isn't reform at all. Last January, when Jack Abramoff was well on his way to becoming a household name, Republicans promised real reform. When they leave for the August recess, what will we get? Watered-down rules that do nothing to curtail independent organizations that spend millions on campaigns. No efforts to limit lobbyist-provided perks. What did they do? More disclosure for lobbyists but not much from the members' side of things. So much for that.
And then there's John Bolton. One year ago, he couldn't get confirmed by Congress because he was considered unruly and a bully. Republican Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio, who was his greatest critic, has since backed off. While the Democrats are still howling, it doesn't matter. The GOP dislikes the United Nations so much now that it likes Bolton better. So he's a shoo-in.
They need to get out of town.