Rep. Charlie Dent: Taking the 'fun' out of 'dysfunction'
In one of the whiniest, most amusing yet revealing accidental admissions ever, Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) told Yahoo News, "You've got this administration that's taken the fun out of dysfunction."
Washington's dysfunction predates President Donald Trump. Mr. Dent clearly doesn't understand that "taking the fun out of dysfunction" is precisely what President Trump was elected to do. The national capital's dysfunction was great fun for Dent and other Washington swamp creatures long before Trump arrived. Trump's election is hard evidence that voters were generally fed up with "fun."
Rather than in Trump's White House, dysfunction originated primarily from the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. It was the dysfunction, passivity, and arrogance of Dent and his congressional colleagues – their willingness to go along with, even enable eight years of Barack Obama's dysfunctional, often extra-constitutional presidency – that created a political environment in which someone like Donald Trump could prevail.
Voters knew – but didn't care – that Donald Trump would never score very high on "style points," especially from America's dysfunctional political class, the political elite whose tender sensitivities are triggered any time they're criticized.
Although they surely won't agree, in effect, Charlie Dent and his congressional colleagues elected Donald Trump.
Accusing the president of introducing dysfunction to Washington is a classic case of psychological projection. President Trump was elected to disrupt Washington's dysfunction, to shake things up, to discomfit the comfortable. Trump was elected not to keep Washington's marshlands warm and cozy for swamp-dwellers such as Dent who had learned to enjoy their power, perks, and benefits with little effective supervision.
Dent continued: "Just the tweeting every day – outlandish statements, inappropriate comments. We spend much of our time just reacting to those sorts of things instead of focusing on the big policy issues of the day."
To "psychological projection," add "deflection" and "passive aggression." By blaming the president rather than his own contributions to congressional dysfunction, Dent is attempting to distract Americans from the fact that Republican majorities in both chambers of Congress haven't honored a single campaign promise made in 2010, 2014, and 2016 to voters who gave them majorities. Those have failed; been ignored, even with a Republican president; or been excused away as "impossible" without a filibuster-proof Senate majority. Dent insists that there's no point in passing popular legislation unless Democrats agree.
The problem isn't Democrats. It's Republicans.
Charlie Dent has been a central figure in engineering Republican congressional failures. He's co-chairman of the "Tuesday Group," a caucus of fifty or so liberal GOP lawmakers who have actively obstructed the people's will on Obamacare repeal, spending cuts, tax reform, military spending, taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, and ending Pentagon funding for gender-transition surgeries.
Ironically, in July, 2017, Politico quoted Dent: "Donald Trump is not an ideologue – he's a pragmatist." That was when Dent still hoped that Trump's "pragmatism" might overwhelm his campaign commitments and align more closely with Dent's policy preferences. The president has been insufficiently "pragmatic," so now Dent considers the president "dysfunctional." Dent's "fun," is gone – and Charlie is about to be.
Charlie Dent has announced his self-defenestration, presumably to find fun elsewhere. Conservatives won't miss him.
Jerry Shenk can be reached by email: email@example.com.