Congress has just gotten back to â€œwork,â€ and Jon Corzine, our senator and wannabe governor, is traveling with a bi-partisan congressional delegation** to the four countries in Southeast Asia hardest hit by the tsunami. It is being billed as a â€œfact-findingâ€ mission.
Excuse me while I meander off to the bathroom to hurl.
I cannot help but wonder what sort of â€œfactsâ€ these people expect to â€œfindâ€ that could not have been found just as well by reading the news and taking advantage of the additional information resources available to senators and members of congress.
According to Frank Pallone, a New Jersey congressman, the trip will provide him with an opportunity â€œto see how best to install an early warning system in the region to prevent another disaster.â€ I had no idea that Frank Pallone was â€œMr. Underwater Tectonic Plate Guy of the World,â€ who will be able to sort out this whole tsunami warning system thingy while eating a catered boxed lunch on the beach.
Senator Corzine said that the trip will be an opportunity for the members of the delegation â€œto express our compassion.â€ I wonder if he seriously believes that people who have lost everything and who have nothing to eat or drink would prefer to see a helicopter full of federal legislators brimming over with compassion rather than a helicopter full of food, water and medicine.
I expect that the presence of these politicos will only serve to interrupt the work of people who are presently on the ground actually providing aid to the victims of this catastrophe, while these congressional â€œfact findersâ€ pose in their new Banana Republic outfits for pictures that they hope will find their way to the newspapers, but which will certainly be featured in their constituent newsletters.
They should stay home where they can be just as useless, but at least they wonâ€™t be in anyoneâ€™s way.
** Accompanying Senator Corzine will be republican Senator Sam Brownbeck of Kansas, New Jersey Congressmen Christopher Smith (republican) and Frank Pallone (democrat), and republican Congressman Jim Leach of Iowa.