So . . . just how toxic is the atmosphere in Congress, if not in all of Washington, D.C.?
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff provided a critical example.
Committee Republicans today demanded that Schiff resign as chairman of the committee. Donald Trump has called on Schiff to quit Congress altogether. GOP Intelligence Committee member Mike Conaway of Midland said Schiff no longer has the standing to lead the committee and said he should resign immediately.
Schiff has been a stern critic of Donald Trump. He maintains that the president’s campaign did collude with Russians despite special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings to the contrary.
Schiff then took the microphone after Conaway’s lecture and gave it right back to his GOP colleagues. He held firm on his assertion that there was collusion. “You might say that’s all OK,” Schiff said. “You might say that’s just what you need to do to win. But I don’t think it’s OK. I think it is immoral, I think it is unethical, I think it’s unpatriotic and, yes, I think it’s corrupt.”
Yes, it is highly toxic on Capitol Hill. The mood between Congress and the White House is equally toxic.
Why mention it? Because it seems different now than any era I can recall. President Bush 43 managed to maintain working relationships with the likes of Sen. Ted Kennedy; President Reagan famously befriended House Speaker Tip O’Neill, his after-hours drinking buddy; President Bush 41 also maintained strong friendships with House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski; President Clinton managed to work with House Speaker Newt Gingrich to craft a balanced federal budget.
These days we hear Donald Trump calling Adam Schiff “pencil neck.” He is throwing out “traitorous” and “treasonous” terms to describe Democrats behavior during the special counsel’s probe into alleged collusion; and, yes, Democrats have tossed those terms at the White House, too.
Good government requires leaders of both political parties to find common ground. Dear reader, there ain’t a bit of commonality to be found these days. Anywhere!
It is going to get more divisive, more toxic the deeper we plow into the 2020 election season. After that remains anyone’s guess.
It is no fun — none at all — watching these men and women tear each others’ lungs out. Too many important matters are going unresolved because of the outright hatred one senses among politicians across the aisle that divides them.