You know it’s bad when members of Congress—the people who supposedly have the power to make change happen—are feeling helpless and contemplating their career choices nearly a full month into this seemingly endless government shutdown.
But that’s what it’s come to. Our elected officials are feeling “glum,” frustrated, and joking about strangling a reporter (or perhaps anyone who happens to be in their path), according to Politico. The article, published Thursday night, characterizes a 116th Congress so depressed and mentally shut down themselves that they’re speaking in religious platitudes and play-fantasizing about physical violence as an emotional outlet.
Some of these folks just sound down in the dumps, unhappy that they’re unable to deliver to their constituents back home.
“Glum. Glum. I’m not a glum person. I’m not somebody who gets down. But I’ve been discouraged,” Republican Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski told Politico. “People I work for back home in Alaska are asking me to ‘fix it.’ And it’s hard for one person to fix anything around here. Unless you’re the president. Or the speaker. Or the majority leader.”
“I think [Trump]’s going to agree to open up the government on a hope and a prayer when donkeys fly. OK?” Republican Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy told the publication.
“Pretty foul,” Republican Texas Sen. John Cornyn said of his mood regarding Trump’s petty response to Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s State of the Union tactic, speaking in the tone of a certain lost, listless former Senate candidate. “Too much childishness. Not enough seriousness.”
Others are speaking in even harsher terms.
“We are in this horrible purgatory between heaven and hell,” Democratic Virginia Rep. Gerry Connolly told the publication, adding “fatalism” had set in. “That there is no way out unless either [President Donald Trump] or we relent entirely.”
Even bipartisan efforts to appease Trump and his hostage-taking tendencies seem for naught. From Politico, emphasis mine:
Some Senate Republicans were also trying to give Trump an off-ramp, including Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio). They hoped to get as many as 20 Republicans and 20 Democrats to sign their letter to Trump, with the hopes that a substantial Democratic commitment to debating border security and a push from Trump’s own party could shift Washington’s stalemate.
But Republican support for the letter cratered this week amid a widespread belief that the president won’t support opening up the government without a border wall guarantee. The letter still might get sent, according to two people familiar with it. But nobody is super enthused.
The enthusiasm of working in Congress—it’s waning!
However, none of these quotes capture the dark mood during a shutdown that’s bleeding government employees dry quite like this one one from an unnamed senator who has “tried in vain to find a breakthrough.”
“I feel like I’m going to strangle you,” they said, which the site characterized as a “quip.”
That’s the spirit.