For a lame-duck session of Congress, they sure did a lot of things. Just yesterday they passed the New Start treaty, the Defense Authorization bill that had been stalled before they pulled out the repeal of DADT and passed it on its own, and by voice vote, the 9/11 first responders healthcare bill after a large group of 9/11 survivors showed up in the offices of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) Washington and pointed out the error of his ways. And to put the holly on the pudding, the Alaska Supreme Court tossed out the challenges by Joe Miller to the write-in votes for Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), pretty much assuring that she will be certified as re-elected and keeping another Tea Party whack-job out of the Senate.
These were all things that President Obama wanted, and with a bit of compromise and cash, which is always the right gift for any occasion to a politician, he got them. It’s also worth noting that the Republicans helped make this lame-duck session a rather big win for the president, and not just by working with him on things like the Bush tax cuts extension. As Adam Serwer notes, they helped by working against him on some things like the New Start treaty and the 9/11 bill. Neither of them should have been controversial, but the GOP leadership in the persons of Mitch McConnell, Jon Kyl, and John McCain decided to make them so. Bad move; they came across as whiners, hypocrites, and Grinches and handed President Obama both victories in Congress and the high ground. It’s especially sweet for him given the election results last November where every pundit pronounced him and his presidency as buzzard meat.
And now he’s off for a Hawaiian vacation. Mele Kalikimaka, Mr. President.