Analysis, discussion and opinions by members of Newsday's editorial board.

Dolman: The congressional circus act is getting old

Why do Americans hate Congress? The question is a bit too obvious, I know, and the reasons may be far too numerous.

There's its penchant for extreme wrestling at the edge of the fiscal abyss with nothing more at stake than, say, the future of the world's economy.

There's the way the House of Representatives arbitrarily stuck a thumb in the eye of states like New York and New Jersey earlier this week with an astonishing insult, an initial refusal to vote on money to offset some of the costs for superstorm Sandy.

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There's the utter, stolid haplessness of House Speaker John Boehner, who seems permanently flummoxed by his own run-amok Republican conference.

The embarrassments add up. A Real Clear Politics average of polls in a period ending in mid-December found that 75 percent of Americans disapproved of the way Congress does its job. Just 18 percent approved. And this was well before the "fiscal cliff" madness spiked this week.

But here's the act that will forever live in my mind as emblematic of a Congress -- or at least a House of Representatives -- that's residing in an alternative reality.

At noon on Thursday, said Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) on Twitter, "I introduced the first bill of the 113th Congress to repeal Obamacare in its entirety."

Right. This is the measure that House Republicans have tried to repeal on 33 previous occasions — at a cost, according to CBS News, of $48 million and 80 hours of congressional time. This is the measure whose heart the U.S. Supreme Court has already upheld.

Even for diehard aficionados of congressional entertainment, this particular circus is wearing thin. It's time to stop the music and find a new act.

Tags: Congress , Obamacare , - low approval , Michele Bachmann , John Boehner , Sandy , fiscal cliff , Republicans , Democrats , politics

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