Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 12/22/2010

Why has the lame-duck session been so productive?

By Ezra Klein

So far, the lame-duck session has managed to pass an $850 billion tax-cuts-and-stimulus deal, the repeal of DADT, the Defense Authorization bill, a continuing resolution to keep funding the federal government, the START treaty, the food-safety bill, and probably a few more pieces of legislation I'm forgetting.

This is vastly more than anyone expected, and even if I'm disappointed by the failure of the omnibus spending bill (for reasons explained here) and the DREAM act, I can see why Sen. Lindsey Graham summed up the session by saying, "When it's all going to be said and done, Harry Reid has eaten our lunch."

But it wasn't really Harry Reid who ate their lunch (and how much better would that quote have been if Graham had said, "Harry Reid drank our milkshake"?). It was the Republicans. DADT repeal passed because Sens. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Scott Brown voted with the Democrats. The tax deal went through because a host of Republicans voted with the Democrats. Same for START, the food-safety bill and the DoD authorization. If the bill helping 9/11 responders get medical benefits passes, that too will be because of Republican support.

The question is why the Republicans didn't just drag their feet and let things expire and then come back to everything in 2011, when they'll have more allies in the Senate and control of the House? As Graham said, "with a new group of Republicans coming in, we could get a better deal on almost everything."

The answer, I think, is that there are plenty of Senate Republicans who aren't too comfortable with the class of conservatives who got elected in 2010. These legislators knew they had to stick with McConnell before the election, as you can't win back the majority by handing the president lots of legislative accomplishments. But now that the election was over, the bills that had piled up were, in many cases, good bills, and if they didn't pass now, it wasn't clear that they'd be able to pass later.

The incumbent -- and the outgoing -- Republicans know that the fact that Republicans will have more power in 2011 doesn't necessarily mean that they'll use that power to pass sensible legislation. So those of them who wanted to pass sensible legislation decided to get it all done now, even if that meant handing Reid and Obama a slew of apparent victories in the lame-duck session.

By Ezra Klein  | December 22, 2010; 10:45 AM ET
Categories:  Senate  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Mitch McConnell says the darndest things
Next: Did the tax deal help Obama among independents?

Comments

Ezra, as I have explained to you before, there is little or no stimulus in this bill. Very little changes from December 31st to January 1st. A LOT of people who were hoping to see big changes, will be severely disappointed when unemployment does not come down to any great degree. If it's hits 9% by years end, that will be a max out.

Posted by: 54465446 | December 22, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

ah yes the big Republican tent theory. Yes you're correct for now. But come 2012 when the Dems as projected lose many more Senate seats and potentially control of the Senate they won't need Senator Brown's seat that they'll lose and Senator Collins' either.

And then we'll be back to Dems filibustering and you'll say . . . .

Posted by: visionbrkr | December 22, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

It's a pretty fascinating dynamic and it just goes back to the idea that even Republicans are still basically people and they understand that Obama and the Democrats are proposing good legislation for the country. They can take the short-term electoral gains of blocking everything and painting Hitler mustaches on Obama, but they understand that they need to avoid the long-term costs associated with blocking things like START and DADT repeal. Part of me thought that in the final analysis, a few Republicans would have voted for HCR just to keep the party on the radar screen, but McConnell apparently won that fight.

Incidentally, this is why Obama is wise not to go totally ballistic on the Republicans and start pounding his fist on the table at every bump in the road. Long-term the Democrats and Republicans are still partners in governing and there is a way forward.

So despite bomb-throwing by the Limbaughs and Becks on the right and Olbermanns and Hamshers on the Left, the country is moving forward and Obama's demeanor is exactly what we need to lead right now.

Posted by: willows1 | December 22, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Also, the old moderate Repubs owe nothing to the hard right warriors. For Murkowski, it must have been fun giving them The Big Finger several times--once in November, and again and again in December. Voinovich is leaving, and has nothing to lose. Good for them!

Posted by: ciocia1 | December 22, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

More junk legislation by the scorched earth crowd, the Dims. Hurting the American people and working to destroy America before they are nuetered. What might be good for the evil EZra and his ilk, is bad for the country as a whole. But what would you expect from a discredited Journolist member who can't be taken seriously. Hack loser. And the more this moron spouts off, the more the Dems will lose as their kind is seen as the "evil" ones in America. The Conservatives are going to smear you and do everything we can to take our country back from the evil Demons like Klein.
You lazy govt union workers, we are coming after too. No more cushy retirement pensions and secure jobs.
It is govt workers and illegals vs the rest of the nation and it is war

.

Posted by: rickshawjim | December 22, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

rickshawjim - I recommend fewer spelling errors for your future trolling ventures. Plus a nice turn of phrase or something approaching dry humor is always desirable. And, as always, brevity is the soul of wit.

Posted by: willows1 | December 22, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

More junk legislation by the scorched earth crowd, the Dims. Hurting the American people and working to destroy America before they are nuetered. What might be good for the evil EZra and his ilk, is bad for the country as a whole. But what would you expect from a discredited Journolist member who can't be taken seriously. Hack loser. And the more this moron spouts off, the more the Dems will lose as their kind is seen as the "evil" ones in America. The Conservatives are going to smear you and do everything we can to take our country back from the evil Demons like Klein.
You lazy govt union workers, we are coming after too. No more cushy retirement pensions and secure jobs.
It is govt workers and illegals vs the rest of the nation and it is war

.

Posted by: rickshawjim | December 22, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I dunno. Maybe you can chalk it up to the fact that a great many of the more sensible moderate republicans simply got fed up with being shoved around by this tea party bunch and decided to stand up and fight back. I only wish more republicans had the spine to stand up to this silly bunch of lowbrows.

Posted by: jaxas70 | December 22, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

willows1, oh your so funny. Hit a nerve did I? Are you getting paid to be so witty and funny? The anger is not going away. If anything, as the Obamabots try to do more harm to the nation, we will get stronger.
Question: What’s the difference between an Iraq terrorist and a liberal?
Answer: The Iraq terrorist makes fewer demands.

Question: What’s the difference between liberals and cow pies?
Answer: Cow pies stop stinking after awhile

Question: What’s the definition of a liberal genius?
Answer: A liberal who can count all 50 states.

Question: How is being at a Democrat convention different from being at the circus?
Answer: At the circus the clowns don’t beg and whine at you.

Question: How many Liberals does it take to change a light bulb?
Answer: It takes ten, nine to deny that darkness exists and one to hire a Republican to change it.

Witty enough?

Posted by: rickshawjim | December 22, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

From this day forward, all lame-duck sessions will be compared to the lame-duck session of 2010. No longer will the lame-duck be looked upon as a time when nothing gets done. Instead, everyone will be reminded of how productive this lame-duck session was, and how effective President Obama and this Democratic Congress, with the help of a handful of Republicans, managed to pass historic legislation during a very short period of time.

Posted by: kaneblues | December 22, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Great news for our nation! FYI: http://OutMilitary.com is a new social network that just launched for gay & lesbian service members & supporters...

Posted by: 1millionbumperstickers | December 22, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

rickshawjim, Thank you for reinforcing our knowledge that Repubs score a zero in the humor department.

Posted by: dougharty | December 22, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I think we will look back on Obama's negotiation of the tax cut bill with Republicans as the start of his turnaround. He managed to put the Republicans on the side of millionaires (and made it obvious to everyone who voted for the Tea Party that the Republicans were using them, and don't care one bit about deficits), and himself and the Democratic party on the side of everyone else. With the repeal of DADT he's already managed to make up a lot of lost ground with progressives. And the passage of the New START treaty cements the end of the "Party of No" solidarity. It will be harder than most people think to get back that sense of unity.

Posted by: jonawebb | December 22, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

rickshawjim - That's a little better. But wit isn't really about canned jokes thrown around at the (noticeably male) bar on Thursday night. It's about coming up with your own phrase that somehow addresses the issue at hand. So, if Ezra says "Why has the lame duck session been so productive?" You could fire back something like "I had a productive coughing session last week, but I still didn't like what was coming out of it." or maybe "Where I come from a productive lame-duck session usually means you get to keep the breast meat. All this one did is let the birds keep flying." OK, maybe not stellar, but you get the picture.

Posted by: willows1 | December 22, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

The Lame Duck Congress has not been productive for the American People. Contary they have been counterproductive to the will of the American Voters. If they had followed the will of the people after the Nov 2 election where they lost thier jobs they would had stoped their Left Wing Liberal adjenda. Insted they continued on with their own direction against the will of the people. This Congress will go down in History as the most useless and despicable in the History or our nation. They waited until after the election to pass their DADT agains the better judgement of the majority of the American People, They tried to pass the most bloated Financial package in History, next to the Obama Health Care scam. No this congress will not be fondly remembered but it will always be remembers as worthless and corrupt beyond all other measures.

Posted by: jmsmaxwell | December 22, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I think Ezra is missing one major point here. If some of these votes had been taken in June rather than December, (not START obviously which wasn't available then)it would have made a difference in the loss of 60 seats. So far from praising Reid, he should be calling him the short-sighted leader he has always been.

Posted by: 54465446 | December 22, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

jmsmaxwell - Scoreboard, scoreboard, scoreboard!

Posted by: willows1 | December 22, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

544654456 - But the 60 seats were lost in the House and the House has never been the problem with the progressive agenda. Also, call me backwards, but putting financial regulation ahead of repealing DADT was the right thing to do. Can you imagine trying to get financial regulation through the Senate right now?

Posted by: willows1 | December 22, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

willows thinks she is the moderator here. Typical liberal, intolerant of different views and telling everyone else how to write their comments. Narcissist much willow1? You add nothing to the discussion except expose your own flaws, which appear to be quite a few. Stick to the topic you troll, instead of attacking others spelling or whatever because you don't agree.
Worst congress ever.. 13% approve of this Congress.. and two of the most despised people in America.gReid and Piglosi, turning to scorched earth policies to shove more crapola down the throats of the unwilling populance. Of course they didn't try to pass this crap in June, because then their losses would have been even greater!!
The people spoke loud and clear in Nov. We don't want the Dims passing anything, ANYTHING until we have representation, even if it may be something we want.
But go ahead and pat yourselves on the back.. because you will be getting a bigger boot in the can come Nov. 2012.

Posted by: rickshawjim | December 22, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

rickshawjim - OK, maybe you aren't a troll. Or at least you are a pretty unorthodox one. Usually trolls keep their cool a little better. My apologies. Your comments appear to be in earnest.

Posted by: willows1 | December 22, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Wow, what an argument. They defeated good legislation out of pure partisanship and then when they won the House passed it because they were afraid of a Republican majority that wouldn't pass it? LOL I doubt there's anyone who is enough of a pessimist to bite into that one.

How about a much more simple, much more logical argument? Before the election either the Democrats or the Republicans wanted to compromise and get these bills through Congress. That's clear enough. After a good 1/4 of the House became lame ducks they realized that this was their last chance to actually get anything passed, and the last thing they wanted to do was go out on the same sour note that got them kicked out of office. So the Democrats and Obama stopped slicing-up their own party and got together and got this done. They learned, the hard way, what it takes to get things done in DC. And once they did that there was little the Republicans could really do to stop them, especially once they put tax cuts for the wealthy back on the table.

And then at that point the Republicans compromised every point that won them the House and 3 Senate seats, showing just what "an election every 2 or 6 years" means.

Posted by: chucklebuck | December 22, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

As there's no greater compliment than a Python paraphrase, "Very witty, willow1. Very, very witty."

Posted by: wlgiii | December 22, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

"More junk legislation by the scorched earth crowd, the Dims. Hurting the American people and working to destroy America before they are nuetered. "

Geez, dude, why do you hate Americans and the American Way?

Posted by: chucklebuck | December 22, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

"Harry Reid drank our milkshake"

!!!

@chris_gaun
chrisgaun@gmail.com

Posted by: chrisgaun | December 22, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

chucklebuck - Once again, the House was never the problem for the Dems. What has changed is that Republican Senators have started voting in favor of Democratic bills.

Posted by: willows1 | December 22, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Willows1, you don't need to appologize to anybody. If anything, your belief that rickshawjim is a troll sprang from the belief that nobody could be that illiterate on purpose, which should be taken as semi-flattering.

The GOP ate their own lunch, partly for the reasons Klein suggests, partly because they picked stupid partisan fights over issues that serious Republicans had no problem with (like START), partly because they were willing to give away the store to get tax cuts for the rich, their real clients (in the tax bill).

BTW, look carefully at a recent poll of politicians and their popularity: Pelosi and Boehner poll about even, except that few people know about him. Indeed, most Dem pols do better than their Republican counterparts. When the economy stops sucking, we'll see who gets kicked out.

Posted by: ciocia1 | December 22, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Willows1, you don't need to appologize to anybody. If anything, your belief that rickshawjim is a troll sprang from the belief that nobody could be that illiterate on purpose, which should be taken as semi-flattering.

The GOP ate their own lunch, partly for the reasons Klein suggests, partly because they picked stupid partisan fights over issues that serious Republicans had no problem with (like START), partly because they were willing to give away the store to get tax cuts for the rich, their real clients (in the tax bill).

BTW, look carefully at a recent poll of politicians and their popularity: http://media.bloomberg.com/bb/avfile/roCNPdHQmpfc

Pelosi and Boehner poll about even, except that few people know about him. Indeed, most Dem pols do better than their Republican counterparts. When the economy stops sucking, we'll see who gets kicked out.

Posted by: ciocia1 | December 22, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Well, Hairy gReid and Obama can sit back and do a Slurpee while the rest of us work hard to take apart this fine political machine that they have built, as we will do all the hard work that counts. Piece by Piece.

Maybe that back of the bus is a good place for gReid and Obama to drink their Slurpees, as we the people have decided to go in reverse and delete the last two nightmare years.

Posted by: rickshawjim | December 22, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps this is why Reid didn't go to the brink over the Omnibus Spending Bill. Had the government shut down a few days ago, that shutdown arguably could have included the Senate's work on any bills other than immediate funding. Suspecting that he would score some significant wins if the Senate stayed open for business, Reid opted for the Continuing Resolution, leaving the shutdown for another day.

Posted by: DavidinCambridge | December 22, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

They said that President Obama couldn't get the votes for the New Start treaty. They said that President Obama couldn't get healthcare reform passed. They said that President Obama couldn't repeal DADT. They said that President Obama couldn't save the American auto industry. They said that President Obama couldn't force BP to pay for their oil spill. They said that Barack Obama would never become president. They said, they said.

Posted by: kaneblues | December 22, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

I advise rickshawjim to take his meds, maybe go for a walk or lie down for a nappy.

Relax, dude. And nobody believes you speak for "we the people."

Posted by: stephenlouis | December 22, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

rickshawjim wrote
we the people? have decided to go in reverse and delete the last two centuries.

fixed it for ya.

Posted by: jimbo1949 | December 22, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

willows:

Thanks for the reply. I have posted before, that Fin Reg was probably the least intrusive and most poorly done work by the Obama administration this term. I will spare those who have read my stuff before on this. Bottom line, Wall Street has learned to toast privately what they publicly rent their garments over.

I no longer have the link, but I quoted from an article just yesterday where sources at the Fed revealed that no hedge fund will be considered a "systemic risk" under the new legislation, and thus subject to more scrutiny. Considering it was two Bear Stearns hedge funds that started the ball rolling down hill, it's an awesome achievement for the industry to avoid scrutiny in that respect.

I could go on, but unlike me I will stop here!

Posted by: 54465446 | December 22, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Mr Reid stepped on the republicons Superman lunchbox? The nerve.

Posted by: DIMMY | December 22, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

The lame duck session is the 111th's chance to say FU to the voters. The radical leftists do not care what the voters want. They are only concerned with enhancing their own power.

And you, Ezra, are enabling them.

Posted by: soma_king | December 22, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

If you told the story of the defeat of the 'International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act" the future would look even grimmer.

Posted by: esthermiriam | December 22, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

If you told the story of the defeat of the 'International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act" the future would look even grimmer.

Posted by: esthermiriam | December 22, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

If you told the story of the defeat of the 'International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act" the future would look even grimmer.

Posted by: esthermiriam | December 22, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Graham like the rest of his commie mobster friends flies China's Communist flag over a workcamp in my State. Him and his bunch should all be horsewhipped and run out of town on a rail. We don't want his commie ass spilting rails in the South or anywhere else.

Posted by: mullarkeymichael | December 22, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

More junk legislation by the scorched earth crowd, the Dims. Hurting the American people and working to destroy America before they are nuetered. What might be good for the evil EZra and his ilk, is bad for the country as a whole. But what would you expect from a discredited Journolist member who can't be taken seriously. Hack loser. And the more this moron spouts off, the more the Dems will lose as their kind is seen as the "evil" ones in America. The Conservatives are going to smear you and do everything we can to take our country back from the evil Demons like Klein.
You lazy govt union workers, we are coming after too. No more cushy retirement pensions and secure jobs.
It is govt workers and illegals vs the rest of the nation and it is war

.

Posted by: rickshawjim | December 22, 2010 11:16 AM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

your obvious pain is my pleasure...

Posted by: WmLaney | December 22, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Yes. The Republicans could have gotten a better deal in 2011.

But would it be good for the country also?

Posted by: kishorgala | December 22, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

The lame ducks have cooked America's goose. The old guard Republicans are no better or worse than the Democrats. They've all been stealing for so long they don't want to quit until the last second.

In the Senate the so-called Food Safety legislation was passed by a unanimous voice vote late at night. Reid and McConnell both sold out to Monsanto and friends. This is now the death of small family farms across America.

This type of sell out by both parties reaffirms our need for term limits.

Posted by: alance | December 22, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

The spent 346 days of 2010 on political vitriol when they could have been addressing these issues and the many other issues facing our country.

The work they accomplished in the last two weeks shows that it was possible for them to have worked together early on. They wasted time and our tax payers money.

With the new class coming in next month, we're going to go back to square one with all the name calling and no work. If all they are going to be doing for the next 11 months and 20 days is to bicker with each other and stall then they should not get paid. We pay them for results not to stand on a soap box sprewing rhetoric.

Posted by: Nevadaandy | December 22, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Key was change among Democratic Senators at both ends of the spectrum. Moderates who refused to cast "liberal" votes for fear they would be voted out of office were voted out anyway (or their colleagues were, and the ones up in 2012 and 2014 realized that refraining from tough votes would not help Democratic incumbents), so after the election more were willing to vote for what they supported all along. Liberals who had refused to compromise earlier in the year decided to take whatever was on the table because they know they aren't getting a better deal next year. Hence the Democrats were able to unify in ways that neither wing of the party was willing to do earlier.

Posted by: taxguru | December 22, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

This has been a very productive lame duck. Good thing too, since repukes will do absolutely nothing in the next two years except obstruct any possible progress in the country.

Posted by: lemondog | December 22, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Not a good thing for America if an uber-lib like Klein thinks the lame duck session was productive.

Posted by: kbarker302 | December 22, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Republicans realized that saying no to everything that Democrats attempted to pass could not work under their leadership. They also realize that the Tea Party is going to be a millstone around their neck.

Posted by: rlj1 | December 22, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Why don't we just admit that Obama got a lot of mileage out of tax cuts for the rich?

That's not change. That's more of the same.


Posted by: Benson | December 22, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Count on Lindsey Graham to access the GOP's political interest, not what is best for the nation or what most people wanted.

It is not President Obama who has eaten the GOP's lunch. It is the American people. The Republicans held up several things a majority of people wanted to happen--DADT, START, first responders, food oversight. Fihnally the dam broke.

If the GOP had been smart, they would have passed these things (except for DADT which their base would not accept) quickly and gotten out of Dodge. They would have looked better if they'd done that.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | December 22, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

"Witty enough?

Posted by: rickshawjim"

Half. As usual.

Posted by: thrh | December 22, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

There was a post up recently about comment policy. If you look at this thread, its pretty obvious who ruins it with petty name-calling and an utter lack of substance. There are those discussing electoral impacts and those spouting off about "evil demons," and other such nonsense. Luckily, there is a simple way to automate the moderating process to distinguish between these two types of comments. Its called spell check. One group seems to know how to spell, the other doesn't.

Delete all comments with words like ajenda, nuetered, etc. and you've eliminated 90% of the trolls. If you can do that before people feed the trolls, the comments section will be pretty good.

Posted by: Nylund154 | December 22, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Seeing as how the corporate lobbyist owned extremist Republican party has p*ssed on the congressional agenda the last two years with their abuse of the filibuster, Reid should make them stay and finish the countries business until this congress officially adjourns on Jan 4th.


Give the Repugs ONE DAY OFF FOR X-MAS....just like most of the poor people whom they screw over get.

.

Posted by: DrainYou | December 22, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

What a ridiculous statement from Senator Graham! The difference between the lame duck and the rest of the session is that something actually got accomplished! Graham seems to think that the role of a Senator is to do nothing and views doing his job as a 'loss'. Totally sad.

Posted by: MarcMyWords | December 22, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

rickshwjim - your comments indicate you are one seriously ill mother. "Rickshaw", I'll guess, is the speed at which your mind works; look up, the rest of the world has entered the automobile era.

You "humor" is so very sad. For the sake of your parents, I hope you'll soon be off toilet training.

And Willow1, thank you for some intelligent comments.

Posted by: joachim1 | December 22, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Productive if you like 'Make Work" projects. Now over the next 3 years they will have to work to repeal all this c-ap.

Posted by: 2012anewstart | December 22, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

If Harry Reid is eating Lindsey Graham's lunch, I wonder what Lindsey has been eating lately... inquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: gmcduluth | December 22, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like "rickshawjim" would do well to crawl out form under his neo-nazi conservative rock and slither over to his protologist for a much needed brain scan.

Posted by: Bushwhacked1 | December 22, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

You're mistaken Sen. Graham. I believe that Sen. Reid DRANK YOUR MILKSHAKE. He drank it right up, so I'm told.

Posted by: karlmarx2 | December 22, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, this recent action absolutely reinforces the claim that Republican opposition was all about stopping Obama from winning anything, even at the expense of the well being of America. Pres Obama has thrown 4+ touchdown passes in the last 2 min of the fourth quarter to attain victory. His accomplishments now are many. Mr. Krauthhammer is spot on, our POTUS is the comeback kid.

At the end of the game (lame duck), the Republicans finally broke from McConnell and voted their consciences. Good for them, and shame on McConnell and the rest of the Repub leadership. How dare you put us at risk for the sake of your agenda.

Well, Obama won the game against many odds, which now makes him a formidable opponent in the 2012 election, and he has exposed the Republicans, especially the leadership and talking heads like Beck and Limbaugh, for what they actually are. Look for Republican presidential hopefuls to start falling by the wayside. It's fun to watch the Repub leadership go up in flames.

Posted by: gfoster56 | December 22, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

The lame duck session is the 111th's chance to say FU to the voters. The radical leftists do not care what the voters want. They are only concerned with enhancing their own power.

Posted by: soma_king | December 22, 2010 1:24 PM
____________________________________

Washington (CNN) - When it comes to public opinion, who's the biggest winner of one of the most productive congressional lame duck sessions in years?

According to a new national poll, it looks like President Barack Obama is that winner, and his strategy of cooperating with congressional Republican leaders may be the key to his success.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey indicates that 56 percent of Americans say they approve of the way Obama's handled the issues that Congress has considered during the lame duck session, with 41 percent saying they disapprove.

According to the poll, only 44 percent of the public approves of how congressional Republicans have handled the issues and that number drops to 42 percent for Republican leaders in Congress, with a majority of Americans saying they disapprove of how both congressional Democrats and Republicans are acting during the session.

Posted by: jaypem | December 22, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

I don't buy it Ezra. The Republicans came around and did the right thing? No they didn't. Go back and do some research and you'll find the back room deals made to garnish votes. DADT has delaying language in its implemenation, Tax Cuts came with lucrative ethanol subsidies, 9-11 responders bill substantially reduced with legal recourse severely curtailed. On, and on., Nobody does anything in government unless it fosters their own personal power and wealth.

Posted by: steve_j | December 22, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Harry Reid ate your lunch? Quit whining. You had an excellent chance to defeat him in this year's election. You blew it by nominating someone who is dumber than a box of rocks and loonier than Lyndon LaRouche.

Posted by: Bob22003 | December 22, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget the shark protection act! A big highlight of this session...

Posted by: BigEinDC | December 22, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

I wish Graham wouldn't feed the tendency to view politics as a zero-sum game. It's possible for everyone to win sometimes. Why? Because the point of going into politics is to govern, not just to hold office. Now that we're about as far as we ever get from the next election, is it asking too much for politicians to think of their jobs in terms of something other than just getting re-elected?

Posted by: jeffwacker | December 22, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

These lame duck sessions should be eliminated. Congressmen and Senators no longer need months to arrive in Washington by horseback or stagecoach. The election is on a Tuesday. That gives the losers 3 days to pack up their personal effects and hit the road. That is 3 days more than most employess get when they are fired. Nowadays laid off or fired employees don't even get to go back to their office.

The winners can move in over the weekend and start the new week getting sworn. Congress shouldn't be able to take any action, absent a national emergency, during that short period. Allowing politicians that have been voted out of office to enact legislation is a perversion of our representative form of government.

Posted by: warrencjacob | December 22, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

So, rickshawjim, who are you at war with? Or, is this just a game? I don't know where you come from, but what I see are people, good people, suffering for lack of work, an economy screwed up by the people who are laughing all the way to the bank, and a dysfunctional government that is more interested in playing your game than solving the real problems that we face. Problems are easier to ignore than solve.

So what have you done lately to make things better?

Posted by: piman1 | December 22, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

some of you are already forgetting recent history. every one of these issues except the START treaty were blocked by the republicans because they didn't want the Democrats to get credit for these issues before the election. it just further shows that the republican party only cares about the republican party and could care less about the good of the people of this great country.

Posted by: RalphE2 | December 22, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

I suspect that the obnoxious behavior of a small "church" group from Kansas may have helped pass the Don't Ask repeal.

I am looking forward to milder forms of obnoxious behavior from some of the new Republicans in Congress. At least it looks as though Mr. Miller of Alaska won't be one of them. Rand Paul's attitudes toward his impoverished constituents may suffice. He seems the sort who, if serving in the UK's Parliament during the Irish potato starvation, would have denounced relief efforts.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | December 22, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

So far, what have seen is a non-McConnell group of Republican senators not willing to be categorized as obstructionists.
The extreme right-wing Republicans, of the Shitbagger persuasion, are not going to have their cake and eat it too.
They will have to offer a lot for a vote, especially to senators like Murkowski who are anything BUT Shitbaggers.
There will be more infighting among Repos than they had anticipated.

Posted by: analyst72 | December 22, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Harry did not eat your lunch. He just got you off of your dead bottom and made you "earn" some of your "pay".

Posted by: ronjeske | December 22, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Only in this increasingly nauseating country can such progress by our government on ANYTHING be considering a "loss".

It's dirtbags like McConnell who could care less about the average american that are the problem.

Yeah, imagine, things actually got done by these petty, childish men.

Posted by: vze2r3k5 | December 22, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Out Of This World: President Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi & Moderate Republicans, Just After The [Shalacking] and Look at the Productivity.

Happy Holidays, Mr. President, The Coolest President [Ever]
____________________________

• Healthcare Reform

• Student Loan Reform

• Equal Pay

• New GI Bill

• Wall Street Reform

• Repeal of DADT

• Ratification of The New START Treaty

• Now Passage of The James Zadroga 9/11 First Health and Compensation Act of 2010 for First Responders.

Posted by: omaarsblade | December 22, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

I believe the message from the voters last month was "Go to work, or Go home". Maybe some of those folks on the Hill heard.

Posted by: Confido | December 22, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

"The incumbent -- and the outgoing -- Republicans know that the fact that Republicans will have more power in 2011 doesn't necessarily mean that they'll use that power to pass sensible legislation."


That sums it up perectly.

Posted by: jbowen431 | December 22, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Love the losers like rickshaw, who believes the repubs actually care about him or America/ Pretty funn how they wuold willingly hold up any legislation until they got tax breaks for their rich masters. Maybe the voters didn't like how the Democrats ran things, but they also do not want a one-sided repub monarchy. The greater majority of Americans were in favor of doing away with the rich tax cuts and keeping them for the middle class. The greater majority of Americans wanted DADT gone. The greater majority of Americans want to be safe from nukes. The majority of Americans want both parties to act like adults and not keep bottling up legislation like little kids. The vast majority of Americans can't stand Congress, but still favor Democrats over republicans. The greater majority of Americans are more impressed with Senators like Lugar, Brown, Snowe and Collins who are willing to work with Democrats on good legislation than to be total obstructionists like Kyl and Demint. Finally, the greater majority of Americans will throw the repubs out on their ears in two years if they keep acting like they own the world.

Posted by: mikel7 | December 22, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Harry Reid does not have to run for re-election for 6 years. Not too complicated, he could affor to grow a spine since Nevada conservatives have 6 yeaers to get over what just happened.

Posted by: BBear1 | December 22, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

This goes to show that after all, this is a two party state, and for the grace of somebody enough of our lousy Politicians know when it is time to stop waving partisan flags and do the job they were elected to do!!!Randall J. Marlowe, Buenos Aires

Posted by: ranjackmarlowegmailcom | December 22, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

I am sorry that I did not know that I could not make more that one comment a week. Loss of time. Somebody in the WP better wake up!!Randall J. Marlowe, Buenos Aires

Posted by: ranjackmarlowegmailcom | December 22, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

I am sorry that I did not know that I could not make more that one comment a week. Loss of time. Somebody in the WP better wake up!!Randall J. Marlowe, Buenos Aires

Posted by: ranjackmarlowegmailcom | December 22, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

It is amazing how much can be done by Congress and the Senate when their is nothing to lose or more succintily when they are not trying to worry about funding for their next election. Perhaps there should be term limits creating a "lame duck" period where the legislature can actually get something done and not have to appease the lobbying money. Face it big money doesn't give candidates money unless they want something in return. This subject has been broached before.The joke is on the American people.

Posted by: LEOMARQUES | December 22, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

The tax bill has one feature that the American people or the working class has just sort of missed and it is the paroll tax reduction or the 6.2% deduction for social security and the change to 4.2%.It seem the sneaky republicans and the likes of Peter Petersen, the investment banker who has been after social security, for years and has spent 1 billion dollars trying to bankrupt social security. Nevermind the fact that the Board of Trustees of the Social Security Fund have decalared that Social Security will be solvent unti the year 2037,The tax bill compromise that was made has a poison apple in it. Consider this, the average working person who makes $24,000 dollars a year is going to save aprox. $400.If you spread this out over all the working class and it will be progressive so people in higher tax brackets will save more.But if you think like a "bean counter" or a banker who figures a compound interest loan on an "ordinary year" or 360 days instead of an exact year which is, naturally, 365 days that 5 days factored over millions of loans adds up to millions of dollars in their pocket. But the poor working class bloke,if it is a fairly sort term loan, is only paying $5.00 here and $20.00 dollars there aand the composite or net effect is that he pays maybe a couple of hundred dollars in interest on his collateralized car loan.In fact he probably doesn't even know the difference between "straight interest" and "compound interest" but when you think in terms of the Social Security Fund hundreds multiplied over millions of wage earners equals billions of negtive cash flow to Social Security. These ruthless people like Peter petersen is now spending millions of dollars advertising The deficit hysteria so we have to save money so we'll cut Social Security because it is now showing some Red ink.Never mind the fact that the average woriking person bailed them out and they didn't even say thank you instead they are cutting income that millions of Americans will need in the twilight of their lives. But like I said before, Republicans and the 2%'ers that they work for say they love America but they truly hate americans.

Posted by: LEOMARQUES | December 22, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

So,quite frankly the Republicans had better get rid of all it's RINOS from senile old Amnesty John McCain,Susan Colins,Olympia Snow and Lindsay Graham,
plus that stuff shirt blinking owl old fool
Republican Senate Minority Leader Loser Mitch McConnell if they are serious about
winning control of both houses of Congress
and the White House in 2012!...I cannot stand to even look at the likes of them
right along with looking at Comrade Kenyan
Barack Hussein Obama and old hag botox face
Nancy Pelosi and Dingbat Harry Reid..Good
God are these losers Our Best & Brightest?
If so, God Help the USA!

Posted by: Jan1977 | December 23, 2010 12:22 AM | Report abuse

One more thought on "why the lame duck.. etc."

There is this idealistic view that legislators should work systematically through their differences and "get things done" (meaning "agree amongst themselves to enact or reject certain things") over a period of time.

In negotiating contracts (e.g., collective bargaining agreements) or resolving a potential or actual lawsuit involving serious dollars, things usually get hammered out in the eleventh hour. I've been in labor contract negotiations where weeks before the expiration date both sides were quite sure a deal would be done, but neither side was willing to formally agree until time was running out.

This is for two reasons: (1) Advantage; maybe you can get a little better deal by holding out, and (2) Image/perception; you want constituents or clients or bosses to think you "left nothing on the table" in pursuing their interests.

Maybe there was some of that going on here.

One more thought: before we go about "giving credit" for Health Care Reform as an achievement, I think it's relevant to acknowledge that there far from widespread opinion that the bill is on balance, "in the best interest of the general public". I've long been in favor of modifying the health care delivery scene in the US, but I have very little appetite for the way the administration has chosen to go about it. So, while it may have been viewed as obstructionist, I would rather have seen the whole thing junked so that we could start over with clearer objectives and work around the unintended negative consequences of just doing SOMETHING.

Posted by: TerryOtt | December 23, 2010 1:11 AM | Report abuse

Its amazing to me that the Republicans who will have more power in the coming year should now act to prevent such future versions of this lame duck congress from being able to push thru any more bills using the votes of people who have been displaced from their offices. How about making this your first priority Mr Graham???? Of course they won't do it since they hope to have a majority in the next few years as well

Posted by: ren51 | December 23, 2010 1:27 AM | Report abuse

For the good of the country:

Hope both Lindsey Graham & Harry Reid choke on that lunch!!!

We have too many career politicians already............
We need some that would look after this country & it's people.

Posted by: bkarpus | December 23, 2010 4:55 AM | Report abuse

The demonizing of Republicans and class warfare marxism of the rabid left had pushed the Dems into many stupid moves. That and the JournoList.serv buddies of Ezra letting the wild and wooly nonsense of ObamaCare get through.

Just wait, when ObamaCare is struck down by the SCOTUS in whole or part, the screaming will start, but we'll be saved from the awful Canadian health care system and their doctors are still heading south for less regulation by death panels.

Posted by: djman1141 | December 23, 2010 5:22 AM | Report abuse

And Lindsay, he kept that brown bag you guys stole too.

So much for a Republican trying to look like a friend of the working man. LOL.

Posted by: JohninConnecticut | December 23, 2010 7:38 AM | Report abuse

More power to the almost extinct "moderate"
Republicans.

Posted by: mcafla | December 23, 2010 7:55 AM | Report abuse

This lame duck session was productive because those in Washington voted for what was right, not the popular (politically or otherwise). While that's what they were elected to do, the philosophy is lost on many of them for a variety of reasons ranging from being misguided by long-time Washington insiders to lack of intergrity, of course there's also political fear.

To a certain extent term limits would remind them that they shouldn't be there for a long time, just a good time...then they'd hold true to their values, vote their conscience, and not worry about the ramifications of the next election.

It's easy for any elected official to vote for something during a lame duck session because those on the way out have nothing to lose and those remaining have at least a two year window to the next round of elections (the American voter has a very short memory).

Posted by: tim21 | December 23, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Ezra, did Rahm Emanuel's post-election departure from President Obama's team help make the lame-duck session more productive?

Posted by: mkhenry | December 23, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I think the real reason that Republicans didn't just run out the clock is that they essentially got everything they wanted up front: tax cuts for their rich benefactors.

This leads to the approach that Democrats should always take: introduce some important legislation, and propose to pay for it with tax cuts for the rich.

Posted by: kman4 | December 23, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

@rickshawjim

Question: How many Republicans does it take to start two unfunded, off the books wars and wreck the economy?

Answer: Only one!

Unfortunately, this is no joke!

Posted by: hakngolfer1 | December 23, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company