Seems like everything I read over the last few months, before and after the election, was that this lame-duck Congress wouldn’t accomplish squat before its well-deserved demise. And when it DID talk about getting anything done, its sense of priorities was bizarre. For instance, just the other day on the radio I heard some Democratic leader (and I’m totally drawing a blank on who it was, which disappoints me, because it means I don’t get to castigate him or her by name) talking about how the Congress had Two Big Things to act on before quitting — the Obama/GOP tax cut deal, and DADT. Really. I’m serious. A bill with huge, systemic impact on our economy at a moment when we’re desperately trying to climb out of the hole the Great Recession put us in was mentioned in the same breath, and as being equally important to, a Kulturkampf wish list item. Really. This is the way these people think.
Where was I? Oh, yeah, they weren’t going to get anything done.
Well, today they passed this:
Congress passes extension of Bush-era tax cuts
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 17, 2010; 12:40 AMCongress approved the most significant tax bill in nearly a decade late Thursday, overcoming liberal resistance to continue for two more years tax breaks enacted under president George W. Bush and to provide a fresh boost of federal support to the tepid economic recovery….
How about that?
Of course, it wasn’t actually the Congress that made this happen. President Obama did, by very astutely making a deal with Republicans for something they wanted in order to get something he wanted while he still could.
Which is interesting. I mean, set aside the rather obvious reasons to worry about this bill. This actual effective action by the POTUS could have implications in all sorts of areas. This may be the clearest, most overt case since entering office in which Barack Obama has clearly stepped out and led, without deferring to the ditherers in his own party (as he so wrongly did on health care) or anyone else.
He showed, you know, leadership. The thing we elect presidents to show. This is important. It is perhaps even promising. Basically, what I’m saying here is that what Obama pulled off is quite the opposite of conventional wisdom among some on the left and the right, summarized in this cartoon by my buddy Robert.
Oh, by the way, no word on DADT. At least, I don’t think so. Maybe you’d better check with someone who is actually into following that…