Thursday, December 23, 2010
LAME DUCK or GOOSE THAT LAID GOLDEN EGGS
The last weeks of this Congress were called a "lame duck" session, and perhaps 100 members will not be returning.
But, in fact, this Congress was one of the most productive, important, and successful since the New Deal, with the last weeks full of amazing accomplishments.
Among the early successes of this Congress were legislation to
- Improve the health care system
- Stabilize the economy
- Improve regulation of the financial markets
This legislation was the result of extremely hard work, fashioning bills that could survive a wide range of views in the Democratic Party, and implacable Republican opposition.
Successes in the last days of the session included...
- Ratification of the arms treaty
- Health benefits for 9/11 First Responders
- Repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell
- Unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed
- Continued tax breaks for the middle class.
The price for this was to make rich people a little richer.
Despite these results, many of the Congressmen who helped make these bills into law are going home, not to return.
Given the legislative success, the failure of this Congress to appeal to voters is largely, I believe, due to the lack of public charisma in the leaders, Harry Reid & Nancy Pelosi. Getting legislation through Congress is only part of the job. The other part is to win the support of the public. They may be terrific legislators, but they are not good at communicating with the voters. Indeed they were not good at selling the "Media" either, which berated Congress (and the President) constantly during the last two years.
Killing the Goose That Laid The Golden Eggs, did not produce instant gold, it prevented more golden eggs from being laid. Similarly reducing the Democratic presence in Congress will not produce more great legislation, it will make it much harder to legislate anything.
Great credit should be given to President Obama whose willingness to compromise, and sheer determination, were critical in winning passage of so much needed legislation.