The session of Congress that occurs after the just-completed election and before the swearing in of the new Congress in January is called a lame duck session. It will last four weeks.
These are the last weeks Republicans will be in control of both houses of Congress and the White House. This was supposed to be a golden age of conservative accomplishment. In reality, it was two more years of the Can’t-Do Caucus telling voters what they promised on the campaign trail at home can’t be done in D.C.
Next year the charade will be over, because the left will control the House.
This brief session will constitute another “Gohmert moment,” which I’ve named after Louie Gohmert, the genuine Texas conservative congressman.
When Gohmert first entered Congress, he and other freshmen were excited about the prospect of passing truly conservative legislation. That was before he met the timid, country club conservatives who comprise House leadership.
Gohmert explained at his first GOP House conference the leadership’s caretaker conservatives were worried. They acknowledged the campaign has promised big things. But in Washington there was “a small chance” Republicans might lose the majority in two years. To play it safe, leadership wanted to do small things, win the election and keep the majority.
Then, leadership promised it would be time to do big things.
Gohmert disagreed, “If there’s any chance we might lose, then this is the time to do the big stuff.” Gohmert was ignored. He’s been ignored ever since.
Rachel Bovard, of the Conservative Partnership Institute, reminds us of what could be done if our placeholder GOP believed in the issues on which it campaigned.
Bovard suggests this last GOP Congress, “take a cue from the Democrats’ playbook in 2010. Like present-day Republicans, House Democrats were then about to lose their majority. Republicans, like now, were expanding their majority in the Senate. But in the face of waning power, Democrats did not fold. They fought.”
The left focused on Cultural Marxism and one foreign policy initiative. The Cultural Marxist hot buttons appealed solely to left’s base - a concept as foreign to GOP leadership as quantum physics is to a cat. The goal was repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” so homosexuals in the military could go ahead and flaunt it, and pass the DREAM Act, an amnesty for younger illegal aliens. The foreign policy initiative was the NEW START nuclear arms treaty. Sure to rev up any surviving ‘Ban the Bomb’ marchers from the 60’s.
Bovard explains, “Democrats intentionally chose to aggressively move forward on controversial legislation on which they had previously punted - likely driven by the fact that they were not sure when they’d again control both houses of Congress and the White House.”
The left was successful on two out of three. Only the DREAM Act failed.
If our conservatives-in-name-only Republicans followed that successful template, top legislative priorities during this lame duck session would be terminating the funding of the organ harvesters at Planned Parenthood; pulling the plug on PBS, NPR, NEA and NEH; fully funding President Trump’s border wall, and reforming immigration law by ending the anchor baby and asylum scams.
Then conservatives would miss them when they were gone.
William Galston, a former advisor to Bill Clinton, said Democrats were successful because, “They were prepared to pull out all the stops.”
Unfortunately, today’s conservative “stop” is Curator of the Senate Mitch McConnell, who follows an extra-Constitutional policy of requiring 60 votes to pass legislation in the Senate, while a simple majority works fine in the House.
And what are the curator’s priorities for the lame duck session? The Hill reports Mitch wants to pass a criminal justice “reform” bill, a pork-laden Agriculture bill, a foreign aid measure and ratify judicial nominations - a routine task in any other Congress but an activity for which this pack of seat-warmers expects fulsome praise.
Do you see any correlation between what the conservative base wants passed and what the housebroken conservatives intend to pass? It’s no wonder many conservatives were guided to the polls by muscle memory rather than enthusiasm.
Evidently lame duck is a dish that can only be prepared by leftist chefs.
As these dissemblers stagger toward the finish line of this Congress, I feel much like Oliver Cromwell did in 1653 when he dismissed the equally wretched Long Parliament:
“It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, ...[you are] enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.
“In the name of God, go!”
Michael Shannon is a commentator and public relations consultant, and is the author of “A Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times.” He can be reached at email@example.com.