(Carl Albert - Speaker Of The House in 1971) Some things just never change - it's a mantra, more than a cliche`. It just happens over and over agai
January 6, 2010


(Carl Albert - Speaker Of The House in 1971)

Some things just never change - it's a mantra, more than a cliche`. It just happens over and over again. The age old complaint that no respect is to be had where Washington is concerned.

Even in 1971 - or maybe especially in 1971. There was the ongoing war in Vietnam. There was mention of a "peace" economy as opposed to a "war" economy but in 1971 there was still very much a war going on. Carl Albert had just become Speaker of The House and it was this 1971 interview on Meet The Press where he is asked if anything is going to be different.

Well . . .no.

Carl Albert: “I think the most immediate legislative problem is not just one problem, it’s several problems dealing with the economy. I think there’s another problem, and you touched on it a while ago, and that is trying to give the House and the Senate and I’m primarily interested in the House, an image before the country that will cause the country to respect it, respect its judgments and its attitudes and its work. I think that’s very important. This is so basic, this institution is so basic to our country that the people need to understand it and to respect it and of course, members of Congress need to help give it that image . . ."

Lawrence Spivak: “Yeah but, why do you think Congress has lost the respect to the people? What has it done? Hasn’t it done something?”

Albert: “Well, I’m not sure if it’s lost the respect. I’m not sure that in all the history of democratic political institutions the people don’t generally question their elected officials. I think that’s probably been true most of the years of the country’s history. There probably was one or two times that, and Mister McNeil (Robert McNeil, NBC News) is a better authority on this than I am, when the Legislative branch was preeminent over the Executive branch. That’s difficult to do in this day and age because the President is the one chosen individual of the nation.”

Spivak: “Well Mister Speaker, I think the big criticism that is being made against Congress is that it isn’t responsive. Now I’d like to take up a very specific thing on the issue of responsiveness. According to recent Gallup Polls 77% of the American people are in favor of having the American government collect taxes and return a percentage to the states without strings. Now as I understand it you’re against that. Now why?”

Albert: “I’m not against that if they’re in proper limitations. But I’m not going to endorse that proposal until its spelled out because I am not in favor of the Federal Government becoming only a Tax Collecting agency for the States and Municipalities without any conditions, turning money over to incompetent administrations if there are some, and I’m sure there are some. I think we’re morally obligated if we send a tax collector to somebody to see that the money is properly spent.”

Says it all. Even in 1971.

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