Posted by Curt on 18 December, 2007 at 6:33 pm. 9 comments already!

Tell me, how well regarded will Pelosi and Reid be by the rank and file Democrats in both houses of Congress at the end of their term?  Will they laud them for their many victories? 

Oh wait, they don’t have any:

After a full year of partisan rancor and insubstantial political votes taken on
the House floor, her Congress is crashing on several important deadlines this
week as members prepare to leave for Christmas. And Pelosi is about to be owned
by the Republican minority.

That’s right: By the end of this week, she
will likely have lost five major legislative battles, almost
simultaneously.

1) The first and biggest Republican victory comes in the
form of the omnibus spending bill, which funds nearly every government agency.
Not only does the bill, which was handed down yesterday morning, match President
Bush’s funding levels, but it also contains none of the so-called
“policy-riders” that Republicans had most feared, such as the abolition of the
government’s Mexico City policy and even an expected expansion of union-backed
“prevailing wage” rules. Democrats had no choice — they simply ran out of time,
mostly because they thought it to their advantage to run down the clock (on this
and the issues that follow). The best they seem to have come up with is a cut in
abstinence education funding and money for needle exchanges in the District of
Columbia. They are even patting themselves on the back for keeping out certain
Republican provisions (English in the workplace), as though they were in the
minority.

Conservatives have complained loudly (and rightly) that the
bill is something of a “Christmas Tree,” containing more than 9,000 earmarked
pork projects and $11 billion in so-called “emergency funding” (actually a
widely used accounting gimmick to make the final number appear closer to the
president’s request). The bill
has other defects as well, yet Republicans are amazed at what they have gotten.
They can’t believe it, and they are making heroic (if unsuccessful) efforts not
to crow too loudly before it passes. This summer, Republicans could not have
imagined negotiating Democrats down to this funding level — $933 billion in
regular discretionary spending, right at the level of President Bush’s request.

Add in the fact that by the time the bill passes it will have full and unconditional funding for the Iraq war.  Where those 180 days go Nancy?

You can bet the lefties are going to be a bit upset.  I mean here they thought their party would actually keep promises, would actually take the coward route like they wanted, and not talk out of both sides of their mouths.  How wrong they were.

Then we’re not done yet.  The Democrats appear poised to allow the fix for the AMT to flounder, causing 25 million households to overpay on their taxes next year.  I’m sure that will go over real well with voters.

Senate Democrats,
who already agreed to fixing this broken portion of the tax code on Republicans’
terms (without raising taxes to compensate), are watching impatiently as their
House colleagues refuse to acknowledge that they lost this issue weeks ago.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) will adjourn the Senate, leaving
Pelosi alone with the undesirable “take-it-or-leave-it” choice of fixing the AMT
on Republicans’ terms — with no tax hike — or else passing nothing and causing
25 million American households to overpay on their taxes next spring by an
average $2,000.

This latter option has always been viewed as politically
unpalatable, and it will cost Democrats dearly if they do nothing. Even if they
pass the Republican bill, they will have brought the issue past a key deadline
that guarantees late tax refunds for millions of Americans, sure to become a
political issue next year.

And finally, the SCHIP bill.  They wanted to increase spending to include just about anyone who breathes oxygen while the Republicans wanted the program to do what it was designed to do.  Help poor KIDS.  But alas it appears that the Democrats failed on this front also:

Republicans, who hoped merely
to extend the current program beyond the next election, were pummeled
rhetorically for their resistance to the change. Yet after last night’s
negotiations, sources on the Hill say that they are about to get exactly what
they wanted — another extension of the program, as it exists, through March
2009. The Democrats are getting certain minor provisions in return, but nothing
that makes up for the loss of their moral trump card, and an election-year vote
on children’s insurance.

David Freddoso tells us that there is no one to blame for the Democrats Waterloo this year other then themselves.  When good faith negotiations could have yielded results they instead chose to make political sporting attack ads.  They held meaningless investigations and votes.  They wasted everyone’s time, and on the taxpayers dime.

The Democrats should be so proud to have been lead by the likes of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

I know the Republicans are happy, we couldn’t have asked for better Christmas gifts.

UPDATE

More on the AMT from Michael Goldfarb:

The Alternative Minimum Tax will raise taxes about $51 billion in 2008,
if it is not ‘fixed.’ The crux of the argument comes down to this:
Republicans oppose a tax increase to ‘pay’ for the AMT fix because the
AMT has only expanded due to an error when it was created. Republicans
and Democrats universally agree that it was never meant to hit the
millions of taxpayer it is slated to affect next year. And if the
Treasury never intended or expected to collect the money, why do
Democrats consider the revenue to be ‘lost?’

And a perfect video of the Democrat majority:


UPDATE II

Dafydd with a great analysis of the Democrats failures this term:

President George W. Bush — dubbed irrelevant by congressional Democrats after they won a massive 15-seat majority in the House and an even more massive 2-seat majority in the Senate in 2006 — has just won his 2,337th confrontation with the hapless Democrats this year. This time, it was on the Democrats’ tax and spend and tax bill:

~~~

Strangely, President Bush has more clout today, with a Democratic congress, than he did in 2004-2006 with a Republican one. But there is actually a very good explanation for that oddity.

When the Republicans were running Congress, Bush was constrained against using his most potent weapon, the veto: Bush, far more than congressional Republicans, follows Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment — “Thou shalt not speak ill of fellow Republicans” — and it would be a terrible insult for a Republican president to veto legislation approved by a GOP Congress.

This was unfortunate and politically catastrophic, because spending under the 109th Congress, and the 108th before them, rose out of control — though not as fast as if the Democratic proposals had been adopted instead. I believe this was even more the cause of the 2006 defeat than the Iraq war, probably second only to the hot e-mails to pages by former Rep. Mark Foley of Florida.

A threat by a Republican president to veto Republican legislation would have produced a miracle of financial rectitude: As much as Bush did not want to humiliate them, they were even more anxious not to be humiliated. Thus, the mere threat could possibly have reined in the spending… and possibly even saved the GOP majority.

~~~

So first the Democrats caved two or three hundred times on Iraq; then they caved on the huge spending increases they wanted; now they cave on the draconian tax increases they wanted to slap onto the “excess profits” of the oil industry; and they’re just about to fully cave on their latest foray into government-run health care. Bush just ran the table.

As the title says, the “lame duck” president crushed the Democratic Congress so anxious to get the hell out of Dodge in time to raise money, run for reelection, and party like it’s (still) 1999 (generally, Democrats manage to combine all three into a single event). The power of the presidency — and the genius of the Founding Fathers’ demand for a strong executive — is thus reaffirmed.

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