When he was managing the comically inept expansion-era New York Mets, Hall of Fame manager Casey Stengel was once heard to lament, “Can’t anyone here play this game?”
Casey, meet Jim Risch.
As the “fiscal cliff” deadline approaches, and as Congress faces the threat of meeting through the holidays, Idaho’s junior senator made his impatience known to reporters at the Beltway insider website Politico.com.
Said Risch, R-Idaho: “It’s simply just bad management. These issues have been around all year, and I was head of our state Senate for decades, and we never got ourselves into this position. ... I’m just astounded this can happen.”
That’s not an idle boast, really. I’ve watched the Idaho Legislature since 1986, and I’ve never seen a floor leader who could wrap up a legislative session like Risch. There is a skill to cutting the deals and lining up the votes on “going-home” legislation. You might not have liked the end product, but you could never question Risch’s ability to close.
So I suspect Risch’s frustrations are the public’s frustrations — as, once again, another fiscal decision is bottled up in deadline dramatics. But I also suspect Senate veterans don’t take kindly to a public chiding from someone with only four years on Capitol Hill.