There is a reason Congress is even less popular with voters than the National Labor Relations Board is at Boeing headquarters, and the people in North Charleston got to see why on Friday.
For nearly four hours, both sides spewed party lines, heralded testimony that mirrored their ideology and ignored any fact that disputed it. All that after an hour and a half of brief opening statements -- from every person on the dais.
This is why nothing ever gets done in this country.
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform met in Charleston County Council chambers at noon, ostensibly for a hearing on the NLRB's suit against Boeing for building its new Dreamliner plant in North Charleston.
The NLRB claims that Boeing built the plant here to retaliate against labor unions for exercising their legal right to strike.
The Republicans running the committee made it clear that they believe this is all political, that the
Obama administration is carrying the water for Big Labor in order to win its support in next year's presidential election. As if the unions would support any GOP candidate after this fiasco.
"This is the beginning of the presidential re-election campaign," said U.S. Rep. Tim Scott, who was deputized Friday even though he is not really a member of the committee. "This is a baseless complaint."
"This is an unprecedented expansion of big government," said U.S. Rep. Joe "You Lie" Wilson, who isn't on the committee either, but got a chance to show off on his home turf.
U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat, said the issue was actually about "a company thinking it is above the law."
The Democrats, as well as legal professor Julius Getman, said they feared that the hearing was being used to intimidate the NLRB while its case against Boeing is in court in Seattle.
Chairman Darrell Issa, a California Republican, agreed that they wouldn't get into the specifics of the case, and then they got into the specifics of the case.
When the Democrats complained, they were ruled out of order.
Both sides were blatantly shilling for their special interests. The Democrats made it clear that they aren't real interested in the rights of business in a free economy to have any freedom, and Republicans proved once again that they don't care about the legal rights of employees if it conflicts with Big Business.
While the Republicans made better points than the Democrats, they were so obnoxious in pursuing partisan politics while accusing the other side of playing partisan politics that they made Dennis Kucinich look like the most reasonable guy in the room.
Especially U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, South Carolina's own, who took the role of pit bull against NLRB General Counsel Lafe Solomon.
Gowdy asked if it was fair for a company to consider loss of business when making a decision on where to expand, saying that Boeing had lost a billion dollars because of past strikes. When Solomon said he wasn't talking about the particulars of a case under way, Gowdy kept on asking, "Yes or no?"
And when Solomon volunteered that the White House had no input on whether to bring the Boeing suit, it apparently went unheard. The Republicans asked several more times.
The theater of the absurd took on surreal proportions when Gov. Nikki Haley took the stand. U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, a Texas GOP'er, fawned over the governor, asking her to tell the committee about all the good she had done for the state.
Of course Haley obliged, crediting her administration with 7,000 jobs in six months. You've got to wonder if she's counting those Amazon jobs.
Basically, nothing got settled and Congress wasted thousands of taxpayer dollars on a hearing that could have just as easily been held in Washington.
There was exactly one person from Charleston who testified. But then, this wasn't about solving a problem -- it was about making headlines and pandering to their bases.
And they did that well.
Reach Brian Hicks at 937-5561 or follow him on Twitter at @BriHicks_PandC.