Readers React

Congress isn't dysfunctional? You've got to be kidding.

Congress is broken, and it has nothing to do with a divided electorate

Former Rep. David Dreier took to The Times' Op-Ed page on Monday to assure readers that it's not as bad as it seems in Congress.

The nearly unanimous response from the nearly two dozen readers who sent us letters: Are you serious?

To say that readers greeted Dreier's relatively rosy view of the current unpopular Congress with skepticism would be too charitable. Some mocked the former San Dimas congressman's fellow Republicans, and others called the piece naive and even cynical.

Here are some of the more kind letters.

Frances Pin of Marina del Rey reminds Dreier of one thing Americans agree on:

It's been tried many times before, the guilty claiming innocence by accusing the victim.

Dreier does just that. He blames the people for being divided, implying that the members of Congress themselves are not at fault. This is why only 13% of Americans approve of Congress, according to a January Gallup poll. Eighty seven percent of the people being of one mind in their disapproval doesn't sound like division.

Fewer laws have been passed by this Congress than by any other in the last 65 years, and Dreier says it's not really that bad. I think it is time for a reality check.

Huntington Beach's Jim Hoover finds says Dreier's defense of Congress insulting: voters:

Dreier deludes himself and, even more sadly, us.

We have a do-nothing Congress not because Americans are deeply divided. Important legislative efforts on immigration, the minimum wage and gun control did not die because of deep division, as a large majority of Americans favored these measures.

Is Dreier saying that shutting down the government and threatening its solvency came because of voter division? The failures came because the GOP was listening to the radical tea party members of Congress, who represent a very small minority of the population.

It is self-serving for Dreier to blame the division of the people — actually, insulting.

Ted Bacino of Palm Springs answers two questions for Dreier:

Dreier states that he is continually asked, "Is Congress completely controlled by big money and special interests?" and "Is it more partisan and dysfunctional than ever before?"

He never answers. Instead he tells us how there are always two opinions to every issue and groups of constituents on both sides.

I have to assume that he avoided answering because the answers are both "yes."

Arcadia resident Robert S. Ellison points to an obstructionist GOP:

Dreier blames the diversity of Americans for Congress' obstructionism.

Of course we are diverse, and we are better off for it. However, when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stated in 2010 that his main goal was for Barack Obama to be a one-term president, he revealed quite clearly what the Republican Party was all about: not diversity, but settling scores.

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