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Lame ducks worry about lame ducks

Republican worries about Democrats using a lame-duck session of Congress to ram unpopular legislation through the upper chamber are, well, puzzling. Democrats don't have 60 votes now and they won't have 60 votes after Nov. 2. There is no way they can ram anything through without the consent of at least some Republicans.

But plenty of people worry about peculiar things. I, for instance, find walking under squirrels a little creepy. What's to stop them from leaping down and clawing at my face? But rarely do people worry about anything quite so hypocritically:

Rep. Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., won his last election on Nov. 3, 1998. Not enough of his fellow Republicans came with him. Gingrich's party lost five seats in the House of Representatives after a year exploring impeachment charges against President Bill Clinton. Gingrich, who was House speaker, acknowledged the unexpected setback by announcing his resignation. His final act of power was to call a lame-duck session of Congress to deal with the impeachment.[...]

[Gingrich's] latest petition—a sequel and supplement to campaigns by the Tea Party groups FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity—asks conservatives to send the following pledge to their members of Congress.

"I, undersigned Member of the 111th Congress, pledge to the citizens of the State of _____________ I will not participate in a Lame Duck session of Congress. I believe reconvening the Congress after the November 2nd election and prior to the seating of the new 112th Congress, smacks of the worst kind of political corruption. Attempting to pass unpopular legislation subverts the will of the American people and is an abusive power grab."

By Ezra Klein  |  August 6, 2010; 3:11 PM ET
 
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Comments

1) How many Washington Post staffers were part of JournoList and, if there are any currently unnamed, who are they?

2) Will the Post be transparent and either release or order its staffers to release their contributions to the list?

3) Will the Post release the names and affiliations of all those on the list or have its staffers do so?

4) Did the Post know about JournoList when Klein was hired and that it was a “center to left” group? If yes, what does that say about the Post’s claims of neutrality?

5) Did actions on JournoList violate the Post’s ethical guidelines?

6) Has the Post revised or added any ethical guidelines as a result of this scandal?

7) Will the Post permit staffers to belong to or operate such lists in the future?

8) Does the Post often embrace “off the record” e-mail conversations with hundreds of people at a time?

9) Was Klein’s supervisor(s) on the list and were they monitoring what went on?

10) Has the Post examined the possibility that JournoList impacted Post news coverage?

11) How much did the Post look into JournoList before hiring Klein?

12) Were Klein and the other Post members of the list using it and posting to it on company time? If not, when were they doing so?

13) Did Klein and the other Post members write to the list using company equipment and offices?

14) Was Klein aware that some were using the list to boost the Obama campaign, such as adviser Jared Bernstein?

15) Did Klein attempt to enforce a rule against campaigning and, if so, how?

16) Did Klein post written guidelines for all members of the list? If so, what were those guidelines?

17) Klein had said on The American Prospect on March 17, 2009: “There are no government or campaign employees on the list.” That has been proven false. How did he try to monitor this issue? Were there other members of the Obama campaign and administration on the list?

18) Did Klein ban anyone from the list?

19) Has Klein or any other Post staffer (other than Dave Weigel) offered to resign because of their contributions to the list?

20) When Klein shut down the list, did he delete the list? If not, will the Post order him to release it so that readers may decide for themselves?

Posted by: clawrence12 | August 6, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

" I, for instance, find walking under squirrels a little creepy. What's to stop them from leaping down and clawing at my face?"


there are many squirrels in the trees where i live.
sometimes, when i pass underneath them, they flick their tails and can startle with very indignant and intimidating noises.
but so far, they havent leapt out at me.
although, sometimes, i worry that they might.
i try to respect their personal space.
just wish them a nice day.
that has always worked for me.

my experience has been that humans can be far more menacing than squirrels.

and i would sooner trust a squirrel, than newt gingrich.
i believe that is the truth.

Posted by: jkaren | August 6, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I think Newt's pledge is a wonderful idea. If Congress were to be in session with no republicans in attendance, it could probably get an awful lot of work done.

JC

Posted by: jwcasey | August 6, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

It's called P-R-O-J-E-C-T-I-O-N and it's the key to understanding much of GOP behavior. They routinely accuse the Dems of what THEY would do in their shoes, or did when they were in their shoes, or are just doing right now, or would like to do. Watch for whatever the GOP accuses the Dems of to be done by the GOP soon, if it has not already happened in the past.

Posted by: Mimikatz | August 6, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

I hereby accuse Dems of governing appropriately and Ezra Klein specifically of not trying to unduely influence federal elections whatsoever!

Posted by: clawrence12 | August 6, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

@clawrence12 : Did you just copy and paste this from another thread? One might suspect you of threadjacking and trolling here, but you wouldn't do that would you....

Posted by: srw3 | August 6, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Old Newtie should look out of his glass house and notice that he continued with impeachment, arguably the most serious and important thing congress can do, after his party lost seats, a clear repudiation of the impeachment process...What's good for the duck is good for the duck...

Posted by: srw3 | August 6, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

"I, for instance, find walking under squirrels a little creepy. What's to stop them from leaping down and clawing at my face?"

Especially Demon Squirrels. You REALLY need to keep a close eye on those suckers.

Posted by: bgmma50 | August 6, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

It's quite rational to worry about squirrels -- they're evil, and they like to leap at things.

But Newt is evil, too.

And Clawrence: Isn't it time to change into your jammies and get ready to watch Beck?

Posted by: uberblonde1 | August 6, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

It's quite rational to worry about squirrels -- they're evil, and they like to leap at things.

But Newt is evil, too.

And Clawrence: Isn't it time to change into your jammies and get ready to watch Beck?

Posted by: uberblonde1 | August 6, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Excellent post! A few points...
1) Yes be afraid of squirrels. They make scary chick-chick-chick noises and can throw nuts.
2) Squirrels are not as bad as magpies though, so we should all thank our lucky stars
3) This 20 questions troll is kind of a buzz kill
4) Newt is such a goof ball. We should get this printed on toilet paper and TP his office or something. I think he'd get a kick out of it.

Posted by: BHeffernan1 | August 6, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

1) How many Washington Post staffers were part of Facebook and, if there are any currently unnamed, who are they?
2) Will the Post be transparent and either release or order its staffers to release their contributions to Facebook?
3) Will the Post release the names and affiliations of all those on Facebook or have its staffers do so?
4) Did the Post know about Facebook when Klein was hired and that it was a “center to left” group? If yes, what does that say about the Post’s claims of neutrality?
5) Did actions on Facebook violate the Post’s ethical guidelines?
6) Has the Post revised or added any ethical guidelines as a result of this huge waste of time?
7) Will the Post permit staffers to belong to or operate such lists in the future?
8) Does the Post often embrace “off the record” e-mail conversations with hundreds of people at a time?
9) Was Klein’s supervisor(s) on Facebook and were they monitoring what went on?
10) Has the Post examined the possibility that Facebook impacted Post news coverage?
11) How much did the Post look into Facebook before hiring Klein?
And I'll nail the rest of my 99 theses of utter time-wasting to the door of the Washington Post next time I'm in the neighborhood.
Keep up the good work, EK

Posted by: crosspalms | August 6, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Worst trolls in the blogosphere, for sure.

Newtie needs to sign a pledge that, as a newly-minted Catholic, he won't ever sexually abuse altar boys.

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | August 6, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

@pseudonymousinnc ...like the inarticulate braying of the beasts in the field...

@crosspalms
Can't you guys at least copy different repiglican talking points and not use the same ones over and over and over....It seems like cut and paste has limited functionality in farrightwingnutistan....

Posted by: srw3 | August 6, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

@pseudonymousinnc ...like the inarticulate braying of the beasts in the field...

Posted by: srw3 | August 6, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

@crosspalms: apologies for not seeing the snark...I was reading too fast.

Posted by: srw3 | August 6, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

If enough Republicans sign this pledge (and follow through), does that mean that Congress won't be able to vote on the Deficit Commission recommendations? Or just that Republicans will be left out of the voting?

Posted by: julie18 | August 7, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Can we declare a general moratorium on the use of the word "ram" in reference to passing legislation, particularly but not limited to in conjunction with the words "down" and "throat"? Honest to god, it's the only way conservatives describe Democrats doing anything anymore. "I was walking down the hall in the Senate building and Reid rammed "Good morning" down my throat!"

Posted by: heresiarch | August 7, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

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