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An unusually busy lame-duck session

Somebody is getting screwed here


Politico:

A repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell?” Don’t bet on it.

The window for action on reversing the ban on gays in the military is quickly closing, and the path to undoing the 17-year-old law is riddled with roadblocks: a crowded lame-duck calendar, Democratic defectors, and emboldened Republican senators who have no desire to hand a legislative victory to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

If Democrats fail to pass the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” next month — before Republicans take control of the House in January — it could be years before they get another shot.

“Unless Democrats completely neglect the tax-hike issue and everything else they’ve been talking about lately, like the DREAM Act, the START treaty and controversial nominees, they won’t be able to finish it,” said one senior Senate GOP aide.

The repeal of “don’t ask” has been attached to the defense authorization bill, and Senate Republicans have already blocked the bill once before over this issue.

DADT, the DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors), the START treaty, the Paycheck Fairness act, retroactive immunity for mortgage fraud, the extension of Bush tax cuts for the rich and the Catfood Commission report are all on the table of the 111th Congress.

This Congress has been in session for almost two years and several of the items before them have been languishing the entire time. START has been waiting a Senate vote since last Spring and the only thing of recent development is the discovery of massive mortgage fraud.

So why with less than two months left to go are all these items suddenly urgent?

I can’t recall any prior lame-duck session with such a full agenda of important legislation. Some of these items might have helped the Democrats energize their base for the election earlier this month. Yeah, those bills might have helped some GOPers too, but it wasn’t like the Democrats were expecting to gain seats on November 2nd.

If they couldn’t pass them before, what makes them think they can pass them now?

Maybe it’s just my Reynold’s Wrap beanie, but I get the feeling the Democrats aren’t being fully honest with us. Either that or they’re not playing with a full deck.




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61 Responses

  1. Steve Benen:

    NONE DARE CALL IT SABOTAGE…. Consider a thought experiment. Imagine you actively disliked the United States, and wanted to deliberately undermine its economy. What kind of positions would you take to do the most damage?

    You might start with rejecting the advice of economists and oppose any kind of stimulus investments. You’d also want to cut spending and take money out of the economy, while blocking funds to states and municipalities, forcing them to lay off more workers. You’d no doubt want to cut off stimulative unemployment benefits, and identify the single most effective jobs program of the last two years (the TANF Emergency Fund) so you could kill it.

    You might then take steps to stop the Federal Reserve from trying to lower the unemployment rate. You’d also no doubt want to create massive economic uncertainty by vowing to gut the national health care system, promising to re-write the rules overseeing the financial industry, vowing re-write business regulations in general, considering a government shutdown, and even weighing the possibly of sending the United States into default.

    You might want to cover your tracks a bit, and say you have an economic plan that would help — a tax policy that’s already been tried — but you’d do so knowing that such a plan has already proven not to work.

    Does any of this sound familiar?

    Yeah, it kinda sounds like back in 2002-2004 when the Republicans were accusing Democrats of treason for not rubberstamping G-Dubya’s agenda.

    Did the Democrats run out of race cards?

  2. And don’t they just work Tuesday-Thursday most weeks? I don’t know how they can even pretend they’ll do all that stuff.

  3. Don’t know why all the photos are of Sue Lyon ….

  4. I think you’re spot on. I don’t think the Dems want to pass any of these things. Or perhaps I should say, the corporatists masters pulling the strings don’t want their puppets to pass any of these bills. Frankly, it’s rather transparent. Ah, they just don’t make crooked politicians like they used too. In the good old days, at least they’d make it look like they were trying.

    • Or they at least had flair — Like Huey P. Long who actually said at a speech at LSU that yes, he had gotten money in his pockets, but some of that money also went to build bridges, roads, hospitals and this school. LOL

  5. How about the Democrats doing nothing about the subprime mess that everybody knew would be a disaster, ignoring Hillary’s warnings and proposals until the crisis exploded in September 2008? The Democrats wanted the crisis to win big in 2008.

    Washington is about politics, not solutions. Those who supported Hillary know it.

    • Failure to pass any real banking reform, any other of that stuff important to us ordinary citizens — that was the plan. First they had the bipartisan sh!t to blame, now the Repubs, when it’s their own spinelessness. Oh, and wanting to please their corporate donors.

  6. This is fun. It’s been around a while, so you may have seen it. But it’s Jewel going undercover and singing Karaoke in disguise. The reactions of the “ugly duckling” singing well are priceless:

  7. The first video on the karaoke channel is a good one:

    • WTF is a “pompitous”? ❓

      Or was Steve, or whoever wrote the song, just using certain recreational chemicals at the time? 😈

  8. Frank Rich is such a crybaby.

    It’s anti-elitism that most defines angry populism in this moment, and, as David Frum, another Bush alumnus (and Palin critic), has pointed out, populist rage on the right is aimed at the educated, not the wealthy. The Bushies and Noonans and dwindling retro-moderate Republicans are no less loathed by Palinistas and their Tea Party fellow travelers than is Obama’s Ivy League White House. When Palin mocks her G.O.P. establishment critics as tortured, paranoid, sleazy and a “good-old-boys club,” she pays no penalty for doing so. The more condescending the attacks on her, the more she thrives. This same dynamic is also working for her daughter Bristol, who week after week has received low scores and patronizing dismissals from the professional judges on “Dancing with the Stars” only to be rescued by populist masses voting at home.

    • OMG, it’s got BPDS too!! Too funny. He’s upset that she’s getting more votes even though she doesn’t have experience (dancing). The irony is too much.

      • When Palin mocks her G.O.P. establishment critics as tortured, paranoid, sleazy and a “good-old-boys club,” she pays no penalty for doing so.

        Rich is right. Telling the truth is usually punished.

    • The masses hate the Frank Rich of this world because of their damn hypocrisy. They backed an empty suit because he had a Harvard piece of paper. I’m beginning to think that they gave it to him.

      • We never have seen Teh Lightjerker’s grades, have we?

        I can haz transkript, plz? 😈

  9. OK, crank it up and sing it:

  10. I worried they will use something good as a trade off for something atrocious.

    IOW – they will do something like repeal DADT but legalize mortgage fraud at the same time.

    • I think the votes are there to repeal DADT, but I’m betting that the Republicans, knowing the Democrats want it more than anything else, will demand the Bush tax cuts for the rich to be extended for another 2 years.

      The Democrats don’t need to give up anything to repeal DADT because Obama can do it. He’s a spineless piece of sh*t.

  11. Over at Lucky Star Shrine, where I post as “Kid Charlemagne”, we do talk about other things besides manga and anime.

    A thread that began on the subject of Internet censorship has wandered into free-form political discussion. I suspect some zombie lies were posted in post #40 on page 4. Does anyone know where I can find a quick refutation for them? I did post rebuttals of sorts at posts #45 and 47 on page 5, but a specific refutation would be nice. The poor wingnut has yet to tell me where he got his “statistics”. 😛

    Also, Hill came up on page 6. :mrgreen:

    http://forums.luckystarshrine.com/showthread.php?t=2880&page=4

    • I thought I went to some strange places.

    • The debt of Obama is partly due to the fact that those unemployed don’t pay taxes. Receipts have shrunk. If Obama had not spent any money on stimulus, the deficit would have ballooned. In simple math. If I need to pay $1,000 for rent, and my income is $500, then I’ll borrow $500. If I only make $250, now I’ll have to borrow $750. That’s basically what is happening to the federal government. Krugman has posted on that, but I can’t find it.

      • Also remember, that the unemployed, not only don’t pay taxes, the government has had to pay unemployment to keep them from rioting. The GOP knows that, and I’m betting they will pass an extension. Nobody wants people to go hungry. It’s dangerous to the system.

      • Wrong. Only the first $2600 (approx.; don’t remember the exact figure) of unemployment benefits are tax exempt. Anything beyond that is subject to income tax.. Being unemployed does’t exempt anyone from state and local taxes, either.

    • Before WW2, the word mostly meant not sending our troops to fight in what were seen as other people’s wars. It was chiefly a reaction to the horrible carnage of WW1.

      It’s not totally true that the U.S. was an isolationist. The Marines went to Nicaragua because that country had one revolution after another in the 30s, between WW1 and WW2, if my history is right.

  12. Krugman:
    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/21/fdr-reagan-and-obama/

    Some readers may recall that back during the Democratic primary Barack Obama shocked many progressives by praising Ronald Reagan as someone who brought America a “sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.”

    snip

    And here’s this, from Thomas Ferguson: Obama saying

    We didn’t actually, I think, do what Franklin Delano Roosevelt did, which was basically wait for six months until the thing had gotten so bad that it became an easier sell politically because we thought that was irresponsible. We had to act quickly.

    As Ferguson explains, this is a right-wing smear. What actually happened was that during the interregnum between the 1932 election and the1933 inauguration — which was much longer then, because the inauguration didn’t take place until March — Herbert Hoover tried to rope FDR into maintaining his policies, including rigid adherence to the gold standard and fiscal austerity. FDR declined to be part of this.

    More and more, it’s becoming clear that progressives who had their hearts set on Obama were engaged in a huge act of self-delusion. Once you got past the soaring rhetoric you noticed, if you actually paid attention to what he said, that he largely accepted the conservative storyline, a view of the world, including a mythological history, that bears little resemblance to the facts.

    And confronted with a situation utterly at odds with that storyline … he stayed with the myth.

  13. Roosevelt’s legendary “First 100 Days” concentrated on the first part of his strategy: immediate relief. From March 9 to June 16, 1933, FDR sent Congress a record number of bills, all of which passed easily. These included the creation of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. Congress also gave the Federal Trade Commission broad new regulatory powers, and provided mortgage relief to millions of farmers and homeowners.

    The success of the First 100 Days was important, because it got the New Deal off to a strong and early start. Later, the conservative Supreme Court would declare much of the New Deal unconstitutional, and Roosevelt’s political prestige would decline as his policies failed to resolve the Depression. If Roosevelt had not passed his agenda early, we would probably be without many New Deal programs we take for granted today.

    http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/First100days.htm

    • FDR was not afraid. He was a bit dictatorial when he promised to increase the number of justices in the Supreme Court. It’s a good thing the old men wore robes because I bet they dirtied their pants.

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