Send in the clowns ... never mind they're here!

Monday - 12/19/2011, 2:00am EST

Suppose you worked for a company whose board of directors included a parachute-packer, a physicist, an architect and a deep-sea diver. And lawyers. Lots of lawyers. In other words, a diverse team with lots of talent. Potentially anyhow.

All of your bosses are well-spoken, clean cut, highly social and each had spent a small fortune to get their job. As individuals they are top-drawer. As a group, sometimes not so much! And they are human, so each has at least one teeny weenie flaw:

The parachute-packer takes lots of time off, then rushes to finish but sometimes doesn't actually pack the chute.

The physicist loves travel. But doesn't do long division. And only knows his times tables to the 6 X 8 is 48. And doesn't do long division.

Your architect thinks the opposite of a right angle is a wrong angle.

The deep sea diver is problematic in that he's afraid of water, allergic to fish and doesn't do depths.

Other than that, you've got a heck of a team. And by the way, you do work for a team with many skills and also some big-time flaws.

Which naturally brings us to Congress. One hundred senators and 435 members of the House of Representatives. And they are from your state — maybe your town.

Congress is often seen as the reason so many people hate/dislike/distrust Washington.

Yet when you think about it (and it's more fun not to), these are your guys and gals. You picked them. You sent them here.

They come here pledged to clean up the mess in Washington which, in large part, was created by them or the people they succeeded who also came here to clean up the mess in Washington. They run "against" Washington so they can come here to work tirelessely for you in three-day spurts ( Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday aka the TWT Club) , when not on vacation while their often underpaid staffers do everything from write laws to pick up dry-cleaning.)

The irony is that so many of us — while technically guilty of contempt of Congress — like our individual representative, or at least one of our two senators. Actually mine do a fine job, and could do even better if the rest of you would stop sending in the clowns.

Last week's on-again-off-again government shutdown threat is an example of Congress at its worst. It was, depending on whose counting, the 4th or 7th, of the year. At the time of settlement, only hours before the Friday midnight deadline, most agency budgets had not been approved. They were running on continuing resolutions that in some cases go back years.

Democrats blame Republicans, Republicans blame Democrats ... Surprise!

Meantime, federal agencies spent thousands of man (woman) hours preparing shutdown plans. Not for the first, and definitely not for the last, time. The CR that they replaced, at the 11th hour, is a carry-on omnibus spending act that expires, are you ready?, September 30, 2012. That, by coincidence (or design) is just a few weeks before the next presidential and congressional elections. Why would they do that?

So we can do this all over again this time next year.

Enjoy the break.

For your benefit

Health and fitness consultant Patti Hudson will share tips for maintaining a positive outlook during the holidays with hosts Bob Leins and John Elliott, on For Your Benefit, airing at 10:05 a.m. today on WFED 1500 AM and also available online.