Her Niceness

Reading Nick Welsh’s puff piece on Congressmember Capps, “The Power of Nice,” one can surely find the nice, but where’s the power? In Welsh’s own words, “No landmark legislation bears her name.” Is there some other yardstick of power in Congress?

Welsh notes that Capps “serves” on the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee but fails to mention any accomplishments stemming from her service on that committee, so I assume there are none. Not to mention that after four terms, she still “serves” on the committee – no leadership position on the committee or any of its subcommittees, she just “serves.”

Welsh goes on to mention that that committee was the origin of the healthcare reform package now under attack and repealed by the House. Yet we know that Capps did not read the bill before voting on it and had a very poor showing at a town hall forum on the subject. Mrs. Capps’ great contribution to the health care bill was compromise wording to keep federal funding of abortion available – a compromise that was defeated.

Capps’s next powerful accomplishment has been to vote for President Obama’s funding of the war even though she is proud to have voted against President Bush’s funding requests. Did the war somehow transform into a great moral crusade when a Democrat moved into the White House? For the President who promised to end the war in 16 months and close Gitmo, Capps will vote for whatever funding is requested. No partisan politics there I’m sure.

Lastly, we are told that Capps’s real lasting legacy is the registration of voters at UCSB. Really? That’s the lasting measure of her “power”? It costs more than $1,000,000 a year to support a member of Congress and our Congressperson, with no major legislation bearing her name, is leaving a legacy of a voter registration drive?

Nice, yes. Powerful? No evidence of it in Welsh’s article.

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