Oliver Willis gives the President and Congress decent grades for his lame duck session victories:
Sure, there were defeats that affect our long-term economic structure, particularly the tax cut deal and the inability of congress to pass the budget. But at least the tax cut deal has help for the unemployed in addition to its sop to mulit-milion and billionaires.
They passed START. Don’t ask, don’t tell was repealed. 9/11 aid was passed (while also exposing the GOP’s use of 9/11 as a political fig leaf yet again). Like kids scrambling to get their science fair project done the night before it’s due, congress did something.
The overall legislative agenda has been about 60% of the progressive way I’d personally like to see, and I’ll always be pushing for that 100%. But still, pretty good show considering the situation.
I'm still seething from Obama's massive cave-in over the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, but I guess scoring victories over the Republicans, however small, should be cause for some sort of celebration. I'm still worried that the pattern of negotiating from the center and ending up with Republican legislation will become the norm with Obama, and we'll be left pyrrich victories that completely ruin whatever was left of the progressive movement in Washington.
But still, START, DADT and the 9/11 aid were important pieces of legislation, and regardless of how easily they should have been passed, they still mean an awful lot to an awful lot of people.