From January of 2011 until December of 2012, the Unimpaired Duck 112th Congress managed to do less good and more harm than any of its 111 predecessors. In November 2012, however, an unforgiving electorate chastised a GOP majority that held onto control of the House only through the mercy of intensive Red State gerrymandering. Under pressure from its own past political mistakes, and opposed by a President with a brand new electoral mandate, for its Lame Duck session, the 112th Congress stepped through the looking glass and suddenly transformed. The Lame Duck became an unprecedented engine of constructive legislation and other needful action.
For the 1st time in more than two decades, Congress voted to raise income tax rates. In the past, extensions of unemployment benefits have been fought over ruthlessly, but slid through the Lame Duck 112th Congress.
Suddenly, quietly, without even a whimper, the Lame Duck Senate blew up a logjam of Presidential appointments that had been obstructed by the Senate's endless parliamentary rigamarole, that has hampered the President's ability to staff vital executive and judicial positions. The Senate's action will now enable the President to fill out his team and govern on a sounder footing during his second term. The glitch in the Alternative Minimum Tax that for years threatened genuinely middle class incomes has now been permanently fixed. Tax cuts for 98% of Americans and 97% of small businesses have been restored and enacted permanently. Tax breaks for clean energy were reauthorized, reintroducing stability to a deserving industry suffering from lack of certainty about the supports.
After any negotiated agreement, both sides always wonder how much they may have left on the table. Hence, both our distinguished fellow Kossacks and those mindless louts over at Red State are criticizing the Democrats and Republicans, respectively in almost identical terms, for being treasonous sell-outs and disloyal to the true cause of progressives/conservatives.
It reminds me of something said by a very experienced old judge who presided over the first jury case I ever tried. He had been a country district judge in a rural county seat of a Southern state in cattle and oil country. He had been on the bench since the 1930's. Now he was semi-retired and filled in for other judges or to relieve trial docket backlogs in other counties. He was a real character.
The Judge made some ruling, I don't remember what, but I made an objection and so did the defense lawyer. The old judge just smiled, instructed the reporter that his ruling stood and remarked that "When both sides object, I know I got it right."
If I were President Obama, that is how I would be feeling right about now.