Or, in the case of the United States Congress, the extra work and productivity, the spirit of cooperation -" well, relatively and/or comparatively speaking, that is.
Facing what GOP leaders have pointed to as the downright ungodly, or anti-godly, hell, let's just call it the unpleasant prospect of working during the week between Christmas and New Year's, the Democratic and Republican Parties are instead finding ways to actually bring bills up for relatively rapid debate and vote, for better and for worse.
Talk about holiday miracles.
Truth be told, it's not just a case of staring down the barrel of the 12 days of Christmas. This 111th Congress is also taking its last turn onstage before giving way to the debut of the 112th version in January. And so some in the Republican minorities of "The Fighting 111th" seem motivated to dispel the notion that they've been little more than a contentious gaggle of "do-nothing" obstructionists"The Party of No.
They actually seem, for this brief week or two, more concerned about the judgments of future history writers, and less concerned about the judgments of current Fox news writers; acting like they don't want the Democrats to be the only ones to go down in the history books with a record of achievement in this Congress.
For when you look back at the last two years, regardless of what you may think or what you may have heard or been told, the facts are the facts -" and you can look them up. What they show is that despite uniform, intense GOP opposition, Democrats have still managed to pass groundbreaking, however imperfect, incremental and compromising they may be, genuinely groundbreaking pieces of major legislation in the areas of health reform, economic stimulus, financial sector reform, credit card industry reform, and consumer protection reform. Facts.
Whatever else you may say about Republicans in Congress, you can't say they're flat out stupid. Well, there is Michelle Bachmann, but hey, let's toss her out. Please. But I digress. Point is, many of these GOP politicians do know the facts. So it makes an awful lot of sense that at least some of them have broken rank and decided these last pre-Holy Days days would be a good time to go on the record as having actually accomplished something too.
First came bipartisan passage of the massive new tax bill, or "Tax Cuts, Come One, Come All, Get Your Red Hot Tax Cuts!", already signed into law by President Obama. Then came same-day examples of how this "Git-R-Done" attitude goes only so far and cuts across party lines, for good and bad. Eight GOP Senators joined fifty-seven Democrats in repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that for years banned or expelled gay Americans from military service. But on the same day, five Democratic Senators joined thirty-six Republicans in shamefully shelving the DREAM Act for who knows how long, denying a path to citizenship for young immigrants brought to this country as children and left undocumented through no fault of their own.
Look for at least a couple of more major votes before this Congress takes its final bow and heads home for the holidays.
First and more likely to gain pass passage after being repeatedly, unconscionably blocked by GOP Senators, is the 9/11 First Responders bill. The party that has always claimed to be all about national security has been holding up legislation that would provide critically needed, long overdue medical assistance and compensation to those heroes still suffering from having rushed to Ground Zero to help immediately after 9/11. It appears now that enough of the Senators who have held this bill back have changed their votes to finally get it passed. History will still make note of their delay.
Speaking of security issues, President Obama and the Democrats are pushing hard for Senate ratification of the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START. The treaty has already been negotiated and signed between the USA and Russia, following extensive input from both Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress. But such is the desire of some in the GOP to snatch defeat from the jaws of anything that might seem a victory for the Obama administration, that there's now real doubt as to whether the treaty will be ratified. Still, there will at least be a vote, which means there's a chance that just enough Republican Senators may once again put the judgment of history above the pressures of partisan politics. You might want to call and remind them they have a choice.
Now, if we could just pass a law that puts a combination of Holy Days & Call of History deadline pressure on every session of every Congress"
Santa, are you listening? Still time to get those letters to the North Pole, folks.