Column Date 2008-12-07

What financial crisis? McCain leads Himalayan boondoggle.

Boy, am I glad John McCain isn't going to be President.

And I do not wish Senators Joe Lieberman (CT) and Lindsey Graham (SC) well, either.

As Congress struggles to decide how to rescue a disastrous economy, what to do about the future of the U.S. auto industry, and how to help millions of Americans who might soon lose their homes, these three completely irresponsible dolts have left the country. 

Where did they go?

Why, they thought it important to leave Washington and travel halfway around the world to the tiny Himalayan country of Bhutan – an idyllic kingdom about the size of West Virginia, tucked in between India and China.

Don't get me wrong – I love Bhutan, which is also the world's newest democracy (after a century in power, the Wangchuk dynasty remarkably decided that the country would be better off as a democracy. So the King gave up power to largely become a figurehead, like the Queen of England.)

Yes, Bhutan is pristine and gorgeous.

Yes, Bhutan has a remarkable Buddhist culture.

Yes, Bhutan prefers to measure its Gross National Happiness instead of its Gross National Product.

But why "Los Trés Amigos" picked this particular time to up and spend taxpayer money on a 3-day scenic jaunt is totally mystifying.

It's the classic political junket: a grand total of 15 people went to "observe the recent political changes that have taken place in the country" (as the news services reported it).

They all landed there last Thursday to spend three days visiting the king, enjoying the culture and beauty of the country, and "strengthening the growing linkages" between Bhutan and the U.S.A.

Well, I don't think the "growing linkages" between Bhutan and the U.S.A. ought to be anywhere near the top of John McCain's agenda.

He's a U.S. Senator. He should be back in the U.S.A. right now trying to help his own country, which is facing the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression.

That's what Senators are supposed to do, John.

By the way, our vigilant media are supposed to report things like this. I found this story, accidentally, in the online newspaper, Keunsel, published in Bhutan.

Have you seen it in your local paper?

©2008 Peter Tannen