By Natalia Castro
Did you know one of the most ineffective methods of debate is spending more time explaining your opponent’s arguments than your own? Evidently, the House Republicans do not. With the newest House Republican website Didyouknow.gop, Congressional Republicans attempted to highlight their successes of this term but ended up doing precisely the opposite, feeding into the media chaos that has distracted the American people from the real action going on in Congress and enabling them to do less.
It started with a postcard.
Featured above, the GOP actually paid someone to have a postcard made that details all of their extraordinary achievements during the Trump Administration so far. While the message is essential, it is quite unbelievable that the GOP can fit all of their accomplishments on a single postcard.
Imagine walking into a potential employer’s office for an interview and being asked to produce a resume, but instead of a detailed account of your successes, you hand them a glorified index card with seven bullet points on the front and eight on the back. Chances are you will not get the job.
Nonetheless, the House Republicans thought plastering legislation, most of which failed in the Senate, on a postcard to give to the American people was a good idea. The card promotes true achievements such as “Landmark Department of Veteran Affairs Reform” alongside “Stronger Border Security” which the Senate has stalled on consistently.
If there is any more significant symbol of government disconnect, I have not seen it.
That is until I went to the website the postcard directed me to, Didyouknow.gop. The front page begins with a video — the first 20 seconds feature the liberal media trashing President Trump for Russia collusion that so far as we know never actually happened. After that, it explains how the House has not allowed this to distract them from passing legislation. Apparently, the individual in charge of this videos production was unaware the average amount of time viewers spend on a video is less than 10 seconds, meaning viewers will see why Trump is hated before they see why the House should be loved.
From here, the user is directed to take a Did You Know quiz on House activity.
The quiz features questions like, “Did you know that former FBI Director James Comey testified in front of Congress?”, “Did you know that Donald Trump Jr. had a meeting with a Russian lawyer during the election?”, and “Did you know that tens of thousands of people protested President Trump’s immigration order in January?”
While these questions are followed with legislative achievements made on the same day, the quiz effectively reminds the American people of negative issues the House has dealt with before it gets to their accomplishments.
It asks these questions with no context. Never does it explain that Comey’s testimony revealed grave incompetence within the FBI’s handling of investigations, for example, just that he testified. Or that Donald Trump, Jr.’s meeting had nothing to do with allegations surrounding Wikileaks and the DNC.
The House GOP’s own website will teach people more about why the President is being disfavored by the mainstream media than why they are succeeding. Is that by design? Does the House think its failure is tied to Trump or the do-nothing Senate?
The frustration among House members is clear. With Senate rules preventing legislation from moving into law, Congress has been unable to implement a vast majority of the fundamental reforms to government that were promised during campaigns, including repealing and replacing Obamacare.
But the House should not be wasting time putting their achievements on postcards until they are genuinely committed to achieving more.
This month, the House will be in session for 13 days.
If House Speaker Paul Ryan and the rest of the Republicans in Congress truly want to be reelected, they should be sending legislation to the Senate constantly, forcing a vote, and proving they are committed to enacting a limited government agenda.
As we saw with Obamacare repeal and replace when the House acts definitively and the Senate has to vote, we know precisely which Senators are stalling the process, and the American people responded accordingly.
If the House wants to highlight achievements, they need to be in session often enough to make them. Expanding their calendar and forcing the Senate to vote regularly on legislation would validate their frustrations, but for now, they cannot beat headlines by repeating them. The postcard campaign does not assist the American people or the Trump Administration in removing the destructive policy of the previous administration. The House needs to get to work, and not on propaganda but policy.