Willie Nelson for Congress!

Why not?

It seems the red-headed stranger did more for America's farmers last weekend than our lawmakers in Washington have done during the entire session so far.

That's not saying much, considering the 112th Congress is probably the worst and least-productive incarnation in many decades.

Nelson and fellow Farm Aid board members John Mellencamp, Neil Young and Dave Matthews joined other musicians on stage during Saturday's annual concert benefiting America's family farmers.

At the same time, members of Congress were rushing for the doors, heading off for an eight-week recess while leaving much important business unfinished -- such as renewing the Farm Bill, which expires at the end of this month.

The bill -- which provides crop safety net programs and funds food stamps for more than 46 million people -- is like much of the work these men and women can't seem to accomplish: easy.

Or at least it should be and has been.

Also left undone was addressing a near-bankrupt U.S. Postal Service and dealing with the looming "fiscal cliff," the automatic spending cuts and expiring tax cuts triggered last year when the bipartisan so-called Super Committee couldn't reach a deal to reduce the deficit.

What did Congress do during its final work days before the election?

Well, it passed a temporary bill to keep the government running for six months -- necessary because lawmakers didn't finish any of the 12 spending bills by the Oct. 1 start of the fiscal year.


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And the Republican-controlled House was busy Friday dealing with the "Stop the War on Coal Act," which would limit the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to regulate the industry and has no chance of passing the Democratic-held Senate.

Yet, apparently it was more important than helping the farmers who put food on our tables.

It's just par for the course for a group that has regularly led the country to one brink or another in the past two years, all the while neglecting the business of governing.

As the New York Times' Jennifer Steinhauer pointed out, this Congress is one for the record books, having passed just 173 bills by August.

"That was well below the 906 enacted from January 1947 through December 1948 by the body President Harry S. Truman referred to as the "do-nothing" Congress, and far fewer than even a single session of many prior Congresses," she wrote.

It's no wonder the 112th Congress' approval rating has sunk to a record-breaking 10 percent in one poll -- "tying the popularity rating of Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez among American citizens," according to Los Angeles Times writer David Horsey.

(Even the Internal Revenue Service has a 40 percent approval rating, he noted.)

As maddening as their eight-week vacation is, we can take some comfort: At least some -- hopefully many -- of these lawmakers will be returning to Washington after the election with no more pressing business than cleaning out their desks.