Saturday, June 7, 2008

A Lame Duck Congress?

Near the end of a President's second term, it's not uncommon to hear the term "lame duck" attached to him. In political terms, it means that the President is really unable to influence much from a policy standpoint, so he's reduced to letting events shape him, not the other way around.

After watching the Democrat-controlled Congress over the past couple of years, I think we might need to extend the use of "lame duck" to include Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. The recent debate over the Senate's "cap and trade" bill as a means to combat global warming is a prime example. After three days of debate, Senate Democrats (yes, you read that right) pulled the 500 page bill they were debating because it was clear they wouldn't be able to get 60 votes to advance it. Yet, Senate Democrats were overjoyed because a) they didn't figure the bill would be passed this year, but would be passed at a later date after (they hope) a Democrat takes the White House, and b) they saw a slight increase to the number of Senators who favored a cap and trade system.

That's as may be, but the bill was still yanked due to a lack of support.

Although the focus of the debate over this issue has been the merits (or lack thereof) of manmade global warming, the issue that shouldn't be ignored is how ineffective Congress has been since the Democrats took control following Election 2006. Note to Pelosi and Reid: Just because the term "do-nothing Congress" is part of our political lexicon, there are times when you shouldn't take it literally. There are a number of issues facing Americans, including rising oil prices and the war on terrorism, that rank a bit higher than global warming (maybe because the other two are real issues...I'm just sayin'), but they're focusing on issues that bear little resemblence to what's going on now. Sure, Democrats passed an increase to the minimum wage, but they also focused on naming post offices and using their power to hold hearings over "crimes" they say Bush committed.

And these guys wonder why Congress's approval ratings are so low.

As much as Democrats try to paint Bush as a "lame duck President" (although as a means to diminish his role as President and cover up the fact he's been making them look like buffoons), watching Democrats use their power to build a wall between them and the people they claim to represent has been interesting to watch. They certainly talked a great game when they were trying to win control of Congress, but it's clear they've failed to accomplish much.

Lame duck, anyone?

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