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Posted at 1:36 PM ET, 12/23/2010

The forgotten accomplishments of the 111th Congress

By Greg Sargent

It's already been pointed out endlessly that the 111th Congress has been one of the most productive in decades. But here's another way to look at it: Consider all the things this Congress has accomplished that we aren't talking about.

Health care reform, the overhaul of Wall Street regulations, the ratification of New START and the repeal of don't ask don't tell are, of course, the accomplishments that will define this Congress in the history books. But there are a whole host of other relatively under-the-radar achievements that in and of themselves would normally be considered major achievements, had they not been completely overshadowed by the big ticket items.

Before we all depart for the holidays, let's pause for a moment of reflection on these also-ran accomplishments, some of which passed with broad bipartisan support. There's the Lily Ledbetter fair pay act, which reversed a Supreme Court decision limiting the ability of women to sue over salary discrimination. There's the sweeping credit card reform measure putting a halt to unfair and deceptive industry practices. There's the landmark legislation that greatly expanded the FDA's authority to regulate the manufacturing and marketing of tobacco products.

There's the largely forgotten measure that vastly expanded Federal aid to college kids that ultimately passed as part of health reform. More visibly, there is the food safety bill and the measure granting health benefits to 9/11 responders, both of which passed this month. And two women were confirmed to the Supreme Court, one of them a Latina -- a historic accomplishment.

This is only a partial list.

Under normal circumstances, these alone would have constituted significant achievements. "When you look beneath the surface just a little bit there's an enormous amount that under normal circumstances would have been heralded but got very little attention," Congressional scholar Norm Ornstein tells me.

The larger story here, though, is that if you add in these accomplishments with the more visible ones, it becomes clear that Congress has expanded government's reach as a defender of the middle class and poor even more than commonly thought. For all the justifiable criticism of health and Wall Street reform for not going far enough -- and for all the talk about the coming battle to repeal them -- the bigger story is that the sum total of this Congress's major and minor achievements have produced an expansion of government's role in society that will be very hard to undo.

"Taken together, the smaller accomplishments may have an impact on society that rivals the main accomplishments, and they have all bolstered government's role as a protector of the public interest," Ornstein says.

And so, one more tip of the hat to the 111th Congress and its leadership.


UPDATE, 1:52 p.m.: I initially forgot to include the confirmation of two women to the Supreme Court, which I've now added above. And I see I need to clarify that I don't favor expansion of government in and of itself. I've edited the above to make that clearer.

By Greg Sargent  | December 23, 2010; 1:36 PM ET
Categories:  Financial reform, Health reform, House Dems, House GOPers, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans  
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Next: Congressional GOP accomplished a great deal, too

Comments

All those battles have distracted the Republicans from the fact that they have no leadership heading into the 2012 campaign. With all the focus on the right wing stylings of John and Mitch, the inadequacy of the Republican party's preparation for 2012 is perhaps another accomplishment of Democratic legislative activism.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 23, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

caothien9,
"we'll read people who have IQs in triple digits and university degrees."
-------

The poor soul has evidently used to the troll hunter to block himself.

Posted by: Brigade | December 23, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I have to agree with you shrink... the RNC is in shambles, with members fighting down and dirty for leadership like sewer rats,and the candidates -- what an assortment or radical whacks. It's going to be fun watching them tear into each other.

Posted by: fiona5 | December 23, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse


Greg Sargent:
"It's already been pointed out endlessly that the 111th Congress has been one of the most productive in decades. But here's another way to look at it: Consider all the things this Congress has accomplished that we aren't talking about."
-----

It's the "accomplishments" people are talking about that cause most of the problems. A "stimulus" that raised the unemployment rate to 10%; a HCR than may never be funded now that voters have finally sent a message---"we want Republicans!" I wouldn't count on coasting on DADT repeal in 2012.

Posted by: Brigade | December 23, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

"The larger story here, though, is that if you add in these accomplishments with the more visible ones, it becomes clear that Congress has expanded government's reach even more than commonly thought."

"the bigger story is that the sum total of this Congress's major and minor achievements have produced an expansion of government's role in society that will be very hard to undo."

It's interesting that progressives/liberals view this as a good thing in and of itself, regardless of purpose.

Posted by: jnc4p | December 23, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

The ONLY two things which matter are NATIONAL SECURITY AND JOBS


Morons.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 23, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Greg Sargent writes
"the bigger story is that the sum total of this Congress's major and minor achievements have produced an expansion of government's role in society that will be very hard to undo"

Wasn't it just yesterday that Klein pointed out that by failing to appropriate money for HCR & other programs, the Dems are undermining their own initiatives? To be cynical, isn't it possible - and perhaps even likely- that the 112th will continue to fund gov't by continuing resolution rather than finding a compromise that will pass a very conservative House and dem controlled Senate?

I don't want to belittle or downplay the accomplishments of the President or Dems over the last two years, but there are still some significant hurdles to overcome.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 23, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

The larger story here, though, is that if you add in these accomplishments with the more visible ones, it becomes clear that Congress has expanded government's reach even more than commonly thought.


_________________________________

Are you out of your mind ???

like this is a good thing?

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 23, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

jnc4, for what it is worth, I agree with you. I gagged when I saw that.
So what if they voted for wage and price controls, would that have been an accomplishment too? Weirdly, The Patriot Act was a massive expansion of government's reach and liberals don't credit Republicans for that.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 23, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

The Patriot Act was in fact the largest expansion in government in recent times -- and of course republicans embraced that wholeheartedly. This talk about small government is drivel. The only thing wingers want to shrink is the stuff that helps the middle class and poor. They are fine with burning through billions on bogus 'defense' projects, and allowing contractors unfettered access to taxpayer dollars.

It's purely propaganda, which is all they've got.

Posted by: fiona5 | December 23, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

shrink, I don't view that as a good end in and of itself. As I think I made very clear, an expansion of government's role as a protector of the public interest, with good legislation, is what I'm in favor of.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | December 23, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

...and thanks for that corrective, fiona. welcome to the site.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | December 23, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

@Greg Sargent "shrink, I don't view that as a good end in and of itself. As I think I made very clear, an expansion of government's role as a protector of the public interest, with good legislation, is what I'm in favor of."

What areas of the Federal government's role in society would you propose reducing?

Posted by: jnc4p | December 23, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

"I know we're all busily preparing for the holidays, but I wanted to just quickly offer my sincere thanks for all your support this year. It meant so much to me to have you on my team during the campaign, and I'm excited about what we can do together in the future.

"We have a lot of work ahead of us in the coming year, but for now, I hope each of us will be able to take some time to enjoy the spirit of the season with our loved ones. And as we gather with our families, I know the Bidens' hearts will be warmed by how big our family of supporters has grown."
-----

When I get an email like this, I know the apocalypse is nigh.

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

"It's going to be fun watching them tear into each other."

It has been, Palin versus Rove, Palin versus the bluebloods, the Steele soap opera, but it has to get worse, much, much worse.

The various splits between the Tea zealots, the Southern strategy Barbour crowd, the evangelical "values voters", the role of Fox and the entertainers/provocateurs...this thing could erupt at the Tampa convention.

There is no force strong enough to unite the Republican party on a line of march, apart from hating Obama of course. The November elections don't change the fact that the national party is as chaotic as it was after Nixon fell.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 23, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Greg. I really enjoy the site, and all the work you put into it. It's nice to see an independent viewpoint that doesn't ascribe to the Beltway High Broderism catechism of most of the Post.

Posted by: fiona5 | December 23, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

shrink writes
"There is no force strong enough to unite the Republican party on a line of march, apart from hating Obama of course. The November elections don't change the fact that the national party is as chaotic as it was after Nixon fell."

Maybe. I've been expecting it for 6 years now; I think you and I have talked about it off & on for the last 2. Will it be this cycle? Maybe. Every time I think they're going to split, they recoalesce, each time further to the right.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 23, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Let me sum up the "accomplishments" of this congress:

More government, less freedom.

It is really that simple. A terrible year for the people of America. How else to explain the anger we've seen?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | December 23, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

@fiona5 "Thank you, Greg. I really enjoy the site, and all the work you put into it. It's nice to see an independent viewpoint that doesn't ascribe to the Beltway High Broderism catechism of most of the Post."

I agree. Greg and Ezra Klein both do a superb job of combining original reporting with a clearly stated point of view so whether you agree with them or not, you know exactly where they are coming from. I actually find it more trustworthy than supposedly "unbiased" reporting.

I'd like to see Greg do more on the record interviews with his sources the way Ezra does rather than just cite them occasionally.

Posted by: jnc4p | December 23, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

That is something to ponder, bsimon... what you say is absolutely true, they always end up pandering to the furthest of rightwing extremes.

However, even with the very well-funded 24/7 propaganda effort to push America rightward and the collusion of the R party with the megawealthy and popular nutbag demagogues like Glenn Beck, there are still limits to the extremes Americans will accept -- I hope. The most radical of the baggers did not win. I think some of them know they are pushing the edge of the envelope now and are starting to push back.

Posted by: fiona5 | December 23, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

"I know the apocalypse is nigh."

Brigade, all the other wing nuts already knew that. Try to keep up.

"What areas of the Federal government's role in society would you propose reducing?"

I could take a slash at that, there are lots of places where government is working against the public interest (the tax system for example), let alone not protecting it. But I'll wait for Greg.

If Greg is still looking in, I knew what you meant so I didn't bring it up. But maybe it is an important point to emphasize if twice in one piece you are going to say stuff like, "...produced an expansion of government's role in society that will be very hard to undo," in the awesome wake of The Patriot Act.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 23, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Excellent article, Greg. It's important to accurately document the historic achievements of this Congress and also President Obama.

I agree that it's not an expansion of government -- it's a much-needed leveling of the playing field for the middle class. The field still isn't nearly level enough, but at least some important progress has been made.

I haven't had much time to post here lately, but I do read you regularly, Greg. You are a consistently insightful and enlightened commentator, and an important voice in the media. I appreciate what you do here, and I'm always anxious to get your view on the big political stories.

I just want to wish you and your family a very happy holiday.

Posted by: elscott | December 23, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

"I'd like to see Greg do more on the record interviews with his sources the way Ezra does rather than just cite them occasionally."

Soon, if we all keep supporting him, people up the food chain will start calling him. Clicks rule, though evidently Cillizza is experimenting with whether Tweets rule.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 23, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I look forward to the media noticing that the reason these accomplishments were not noted and given their due was because the media failed to report them and inform the public.

The media were busily managing the "What Is Wrong With President Obama Today" message that drove the first two years of his presidency. Hence all these significant accomplishments were simply ignored or mentioned in passing as if they were of little or import...not with all that Tea Party frenzy to focus on, or the need to parse the tweets of Sarah Palin.

It has been a trying two years for anyone trying to pay attention to substance.

Is it going to finally be OK to acknowledge that history will probably view this shift to concern about what is important to most Americans who are not in the top 2% income levels as substantive? Are we now permitted to say that the President appears to have viable strategic skills? That he may not lead as others wish but his outcomes tell the story?

It would be refreshing if this ability to assess would finally emerge.

Posted by: pbkritek | December 23, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

skippy: "How else to explain the anger we've seen?"

LOL Yeah, that anger is showing up loud and clear of late in rising poll numbers for Obama, even among Republicans.

Your plane to Somalia is waiting, skippy. Don't miss it now.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 23, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Great stuff Greg. Thanks for a truly incredible -- if tumultuous -- year!

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 23, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

All, my take on what Congressional Republicans accomplished this cycle:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/12/congressional_republicans_acco.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | December 23, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

This seems a bit "through the looking glass" ...Mujahadden redux anyone?

----

Giuliani, Tom Ridge Go To Paris To Support Iranian Marxist Terrorist Group

This Wednesday, a group of prominent Bush-era Republicans, including former NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, former White House adviser Frances Townsend and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, flew to Paris to speak in support of an Iranian exile group there -- one that's been designated a terrorist organization by the U.S.

"The United States should not just be on your side," Giuliani told the group, the Washington Post reported. "It should be enthusiastically on your side. You want the same things we want."

The group, known as Mujaheddin-e Khalq or MEK, is a militant group that's been violently fighting the Iranian government since the 1960s. It has ties to the regime of Saddam Hussein, which trained and outfitted the MEK and for whom the MEK fought in the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s. According to the State Department, which declared the group a terrorist organization in 1997, the group's philosophy is a combination of "Marxism, Islam, and feminism."

Giuliani and the others told the cheering crowd that the Obama administration should take a stronger hand against Iranian leaders. Townsend scoffed at the use of negotiations and sanctions, without suggesting a tactic that she believes could work.

"Appeasement of dictators leads to war, destruction and the loss of human lives," Giuliani said. "For your organization to be described as a terrorist organization is just really a disgrace."

The four are not lone wolves in their support for MEK. Last Friday, at a symposium organized by a group called ExecutiveAction and moderated by erstwhile Colorado gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo (R), a group of current and former officials called for the U.S. to lift MEK's terrorist designation and get tougher on Iran.

http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/12/giuliani_tom_ridge_speak_out_to_support_iranian_ma.php?ref=fpblg

Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 23, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

"It's already been pointed out endlessly that the 111th Congress has been one of the most productive in decades."

unless you subtract the soon-to-be-declared-unconstitutional ACA or ObamaCare monstrosity.

Oh, yeah, that 'stimulus package' produced how many jobs? I'll have to ask Biden for a credible answer...!

Posted by: djman1141 | December 23, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

This President and this congress has done more harm than good for the american citizens it represents. The author of this piece seems to think having all these areas under government control is such a good thing but in reality it simply is one more move to socialism, like you organize a neighborhood, one street at a time this is precisely what obama is doing with our lives, organizing us into a controllable mob instead of 50 uncontrollable mobs.

Posted by: ren51 | December 23, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

The wonderful success of the 111th Congress must be why the Gallup and other polls put it at around 13%.

Oh yeah, Greg, did you hear the GOP won 63 seats in November? Guess that was in appreciation of the 111th...!

It's about jobs, stupid...

Posted by: djman1141 | December 23, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Great analysis, Pyrrhus! Keep it up!

Posted by: andrew23boyle | December 23, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Lest you forget, earthquakes, tornados, and tsunamis accomplish a lot in a very short period of time, too, and, rarely do those who experienced them recover.

Posted by: coffic | December 23, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Giuliani and the others told the cheering crowd that the Obama administration should take a stronger hand against Iranian leaders. Townsend scoffed at the use of negotiations and sanctions, without suggesting a tactic that she believes could work.
----------------------------------------------------------
Another example of politicians pushing toward ever more militarization and everlasting war. We must consider all our alternatives, soft and hard power alternatives, and not discard them out of hand. We already have two never ending, hard power wars on our backs, and now we're being pushed to add yet another?

If we don't apply more strategic intelligence to our ever expanding offensive initiatives, we will spend ourselves into the oblivion that our enemies could never have accomplished.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 23, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

"Giuliani, Tom Ridge Go To Paris To Support Iranian Marxist Terrorist Group"

The Onion?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 23, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Well all you conservatives with your heads up where the sun don't shine refuse to admit how successful this president and this congress have been. You can deny it, you can lie about it the way the GOP always does but facts are facts.

November 2nd was no more a mandate than the 2000 and 2004 elections and make no mistake there's a lot of us who will remember how the GOP refused to sign on to extension of unemployment, refused to repeal DADT (until forced), gave the richest 2% of us nice fat tax breaks they don't need.

You also forget that the GOP was in power for 8 years and did nothing about stimulating the job market and despite their tax cuts to their benefactors we continued to lose jobs to overseas markets.

You Conservatives forget who was in power when we were attacked on 911 while Bush and his congressional lackeys sat like deer in the head lights.

You also forget the fact that it was mostly the GOP and Bush that did their damnedest to scare this nation (and some gullible souls believed the lies) in believe there were WMD worth going to war for in Iraq.

You also forget that now when Obama et al are trying to help the middle and lower classes the conservatives were doing their level best to bring us down further.

The GOP was and is responsible for the sour economy that happened on their watch.

We will NOT forget what the GOP has done or tried to do to us come 2012 including denying FIRST responders medical care and ignoring our veterans.

You all can deny the successes of Obama and the Dems but you can't deny the damage the GOP has done to this country.

So cry, cry, cry, cry, cry like little Ms. Boehner but your whining doesn't change the truth.

The GOP congress will not accomplish anything in the next two years except for campaigning on Murdoch's money with the FOX noise machine behind them.

Posted by: davidbronx | December 23, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

suzie baby I hope you have a Merry Christmas. May peace and understanding come to you at last!

that said, as others have pointed out the congresses polling numbers are dreadful. We have a government few trust. While I believe that a healthy distrust of the gummint is a good thing, it is anathema to the liberal dogma. Oh well.

davebronx is laugh out loud funny. Mr Obama would give his eye teeth for unemployment at 6%, which it was in December 2002.

Let me quote from Peter Gabriel: "The amusement never ends"

Just too funny.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | December 23, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse


"
"Giuliani, Tom Ridge Go To Paris To Support Iranian Marxist Terrorist Group"

The Onion?"

No, too real. Guiliani and other neocons' main agenda is ginning up yet another war to feed the military contractor machine --[ of which Guiliani is a major recipient, having made millions demagoguing 9/11] -- since interest in the other two wars seems to be fading, even among the wingers.

So he goes to *France* to declare his support for this sounds to me like kind of wacko group. The fact that they are named Mujadeen -- sue is right -- it's deja vu all over again. Arm them, train them and then watch them turn against the US, like bin Ladin did.

any of you trolls realize the US trained and funded Saddam and bin Ladin?

Posted by: fiona5 | December 23, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

And all of that has been done in the face of the most severe partisanship I've seen in a long time.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | December 23, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

From my point of view as a conservationist, the greatest unsung achievement was the monumental March 2009 public lands omnibus bill. No one ever mentions that anymore, but it created many new wilderness areas, etc. Best of all it gave Congress's imprimatur to the 1200-mile Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail (pnt dot org.) Much remains to be done such as the creation of the National Trails Center. But this Congress deserves the thanks of all conservationists.

Posted by: pathfinder01730 | December 23, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

davidbronx:
"November 2nd was no more a mandate than the 2000 and 2004 elections and make no mistake there's a lot of us who will remember how the GOP refused to sign on to extension of unemployment, refused to repeal DADT (until forced), gave the richest 2% of us nice fat tax breaks they don't need."
-------

You'll remember? That'll have them quaking in their boots, you being such a reliable GOP vote and all. While you're remembering, why don't you look for a job.
I hear McDonalds is hiring.

Posted by: Brigade | December 23, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

"No one ever mentions that anymore, but it created many new wilderness areas, etc."
-----

Some of us mention it all the time. Many of those wilderness areas are in metropolitan areas where businesses were once located.

Posted by: Brigade | December 23, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

"No one ever mentions that anymore, but it created many new wilderness areas, etc."
-----

Some of us mention it all the time. Many of those wilderness areas are in metropolitan areas where businesses were once located.

Posted by: Brigade | December 23, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Another major accomplishment that gets little media attention is the Executive Order in Oct 2009 that required all federal agencies to cut greenhouse gases by 30% by 2020.

The results have been world changing. The DOD military is testing jet biofuels from weeds grown in Idaho( camelina) putting up some of the largest solar power projects in the US, and other agencies are replacing gas guzzlers with EV orders. Solar, wind and EVs seem to be the big winners.

Although they came back and said it needed to be made easier: 28%, even that is far ahead of European standards for moving to the clean energy economy.

Posted by: susankraemer | December 23, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse


There can be a difference between what you and a health insurance company consider healthy. Some insurers will say that you have a health condition if you smoke, are overweight, are taking prescriptions, or had a medical condition in the past. If this describes you, you may want to search and read “Wise Health Insurance” on the web.

Posted by: bilythompson | December 24, 2010 3:08 AM | Report abuse

This is the first time I've posted on this blog, but I've found the comments both heartening and delusional. Brigade, how many jobs were created during the Bush administration? Try a negative 5 million. Nice record you have there. Job losses stabilized and began to reverse after the stimulus package, and that is verifiable fact. You wingnuts like to complain about how this administration is all too much "big government," but where were you when the Bushies were spying on us by illegal phone taps and email diverters? Obama's "big government" is rescuing the auto industry. You all act like greater wealth disparity is a good thing. What a bunch of delusional losers you are. Unfortunately, your idea of progress is making the rest of us suffer. There is a special place in hell for people like you.

Posted by: Northstar1 | December 24, 2010 7:58 AM | Report abuse

This is the first time I've posted on this blog, but I've found the comments both heartening and delusional. Brigade, how many jobs were created during the Bush administration? Try a negative 5 million. Nice record you have there. Job losses stabilized and began to reverse after the stimulus package, and that is verifiable fact. You wingnuts like to complain about how this administration is all too much "big government," but where were you when the Bushies were spying on us by illegal phone taps and email diverters? Obama's "big government" is rescuing the auto industry. You all act like greater wealth disparity is a good thing. What a bunch of delusional losers you are. Unfortunately, your idea of progress is making the rest of us suffer. There is a special place in hell for people like you.

Posted by: Northstar1 | December 24, 2010 8:01 AM | Report abuse

I really am not interested in Congressional successes given they have completely failed in restoring our economy, restoring jobs to the unemployed, under-employed and so discouraged they have stopped looking, 15-18% of our population; allowed millions of illegals to continue to pour into the USA who either take jobs leaving citizens unemployed or become a drain on the system; and allowed millions of pounds of heroin, cocaine, meth, and grass to pour into the USA along with the related violence including murder.

PUT THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE PLEASE. What has been done is but a pimple on the butt of the 900 pound gorilla ravaging our society!

Posted by: PRRWRITER | December 24, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

I really am not interested in Congressional successes given they have completely failed in restoring our economy, restoring jobs to the unemployed, under-employed and so discouraged they have stopped looking, 15-18% of our population; allowed millions of illegals to continue to pour into the USA who either take jobs leaving citizens unemployed or become a drain on the system; and allowed millions of pounds of heroin, cocaine, meth, and grass to pour into the USA along with the related violence including murder.

PUT THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE PLEASE. What has been done is but a pimple on the butt of the 900 pound gorilla ravaging our society!

Posted by: PRRWRITER | December 24, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

It has been mentioned that the Republicans

do not have any leadership going into the

2012 campaign. Let me remind everyone,

that our entire security, emanates from

the leadership of our military, therefore,

our Armed Forces continue to produce

military generals who are privy to issues

emerging both domestically and

internationally, and as a former military

member, I have a greater trust in their

ability to guide the United States along

a path which will be beneficial to our

country, rather entrusting this same

responsiblity to the likes of a civilian

like Obama whom has never donned the

uniform of the country that he claims to

call his own.

Posted by: dennishabern1 | December 24, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

It has been mentioned that the Republicans

do not have any leadership going into the

2012 campaign. Let me remind everyone,

that our entire security, emanates from

the leadership of our military, therefore,

our Armed Forces continue to produce

military generals who are privy to issues

emerging both domestically and

internationally, and as a former military

member, I have a greater trust in their

ability to guide the United States along

a path which will be beneficial to our

country, rather entrusting this same

responsiblity to the likes of a civilian

like Obama whom has never donned the

uniform of the country that he claims to

call his own.

Posted by: dennishabern1 | December 24, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

While Guiliani, Ridge, Townsend, and

Mukasey are meeting in Paris corresponding

with a labeled terrorist group identified

as the MEK (Muaheddin-e Khalq), what is the

United States' guarantee that after they

gain the their support from the U.S., they

do not "PULL" another bin Laden and turn

on the United States? It is my gut

feeling and experience, that anytime the

U.S. is dealing with any Middle Eastern

group, they are really not to be trusted,

BECAUSE, that is the nature of the beast,

in the Middle East, remembering the story

of, "The ALLIGATOR & THE SCORPION."

Posted by: dennishabern1 | December 24, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

It has been mentioned that the Republicans

do not have any leadership going into the

2012 campaign. Let me remind everyone,

that our entire security, emanates from

the leadership of our military, therefore,

our Armed Forces continue to produce

military generals who are privy to issues

emerging both domestically and

internationally, and as a former military

member, I have a greater trust in their

ability to guide the United States along

a path which will be beneficial to our

country, rather entrusting this same

responsiblity to the likes of a civilian

like Obama whom has never donned the

uniform of the country that he claims to

call his own.

Posted by: dennishabern1 | December 24, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

The 111th Congress made loans in our name, indebting us to communist China, Saudi Arabia and the Wall Street-FED-plutocracy. These loans were made wit terms conditions and pledged colllateral entithetical towards the taxpaying citizens of our republic. With this borrowed trillions this Congress expanded the near tyrannical powers of our petty dictators in the various Washington bureaucracies. All I hear extolled as an accomplishment is a diminishment of freedom amnd free choice as Big Brother further taxes rules and regulates every aspect of our existence. I see expanded unemployment since so few enterprises can thrive amidst the burden of taxes rules and regulations foisted upon us. I see a declining dollar, massive trade imbalance due to free trade. A greater percentage of the forced labor ( taxes) going to foereign despots and Wall Street plutocratic financiers.I seethe EPA, FDA, and a host of non-Constitutional agencies ruled by non-elected bureaucrats gaing more power, money and control of every aspect of our lives and a host of government workers with lucrative contracts and exhorbitant benefits at our expense.

Posted by: ServantusDei | December 24, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Greg.........it's a great column. The bottom line of this Congress is not intrusion in our lives; it's the strengthening this Congress has provided to
the average citizen. The rich and powerful have grown increasingly so under both parties, but the Republican party remains their true advocates. I'm not
happy with all the aspects of this Health Care package, but it's a move in the right direction. The majority of the American people agree one's sexual orientation should not be reason to deny their participation in military service. Plus the other areas of progress by this Congress are significant. Now my credit card company has to tell the true impact of making only a minimum payment.

The Bush Administration put us on the brink of an economic collapse such as the one the Soviet Union suffered in the 1980s. It's true the stimulus probably saved more jobs than it created, but my God, think where we would have been without it? The rich and powerful paid millions upon millions to circulate distortions of reality. True, unemployment remains near 10%, but non-partisan studies concluded it would have been 17% or higher without the stimulus. You can achieve a goal of convincing plenty of people that a lie is the truth if you have the economic capability to keep promoting that distortion. And certainly the Republican Party had that support in the midterms.

But clearer minds, and history, will remember this Congress, and in particular
the Democratic Party, as committed to common good over the deep pockets of the
rich and powerful.

Posted by: andyleheny | December 24, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Greg.........it's a great column. The bottom line of this Congress is not intrusion in our lives; it's the strengthening this Congress has provided to
the average citizen. The rich and powerful have grown increasingly so under both parties, but the Republican party remains their true advocates. I'm not
happy with all the aspects of this Health Care package, but it's a move in the right direction. The majority of the American people agree one's sexual orientation should not be reason to deny their participation in military service. Plus the other areas of progress by this Congress are significant. Now my credit card company has to tell the true impact of making only a minimum payment.

The Bush Administration put us on the brink of an economic collapse such as the one the Soviet Union suffered in the 1980s. It's true the stimulus probably saved more jobs than it created, but my God, think where we would have been without it? The rich and powerful paid millions upon millions to circulate distortions of reality. True, unemployment remains near 10%, but non-partisan studies concluded it would have been 17% or higher without the stimulus. You can achieve a goal of convincing plenty of people that a lie is the truth if you have the economic capability to keep promoting that distortion. And certainly the Republican Party had that support in the midterms.

But clearer minds, and history, will remember this Congress, and in particular
the Democratic Party, as committed to the common good over the deep pockets of the
rich and powerful.

Posted by: andyleheny | December 24, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Ummm? the "common good". I never kne it was necessary for Washington to tell me what to eat, what light bulb to use, pay more taxes, to buy or notmto buy health care. Doesn't sound lie freedom to me. I don't need Bloomberg, Obama or anyone else to dictate my choices.

Posted by: Herbert1 | December 25, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

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