Our friends at The Weekly Standard recently carried an interesting blog post that reported comments by retiring liberal New York Democratic Congressman Gary Ackerman.
According to the post by Daniel Halper, Congressman Ackerman, in reflecting on his 30-years service in the House, decried the lack of “comity” among Members of Congress and lamented that Members no longer made friends across the aisle.
Mr. Ackerman went on to attribute this lamentable state of affairs to the fact that “the people have gotten dumber” and “People get confused and think there is no difference between news and entertainment.”
No doubt it would be easier to divide up the spoils coerced from producers by the welfare state if Members of Congress all met after business hours for friendly get-togethers, like Speaker Sam Rayburn’s legendary "Board of Education" meetings.
At Mr. Sam’s "Board of Education," the Speaker and powerful committee chairmen would meet in the Speaker’s hideaway office for poker, bourbon, and of course a frank discussion of politics.
However, we doubt that too many Members of Congress who argued against agricultural subsidies or strongly disagreed with the wisdom of the New Deal would have been very welcome at one of Speaker Rayburn’s congenial gatherings.
Given Mr. Ackerman’s background as a New York City school teacher in Queens, where he taught social studies, math and journalism to junior high school students, it would be fun to turn his comment about the people getting “dumber” into a discussion of the state of public education in America.
But that’s obviously not what the liberal Democrat was talking about.
What we suspect he really meant was that he finds it hard to respect and be friendly with conservatives who stand up for their principles and don’t share his liberal views.
If that is the case, then the loss is Mr. Ackerman’s – not only has he deprived himself of the congenial company of some of America’s best public servants, but he has missed discussing Milton Friedman, Ray Bradbury, the humor of Ronald Reagan, Claude Frédéric Bastiat, the Federalist Papers, the music of Ted Nugent, the politics and military history of the Civil War, the filmmaking of Clint Eastwood and all of the other pleasures of keeping company with us dumb conservatives.