David Harsanyi: Shoot Lame Ducks

When a business fires someone, they usually do it on a Friday afternoon, and you get the chance to get your stuff, and get out. Congressmen, however, get to hang around for months. David Harsanyi thinks we should drag Lame Duck sessions out behind the woodshed:

And lame-duck sessions happen to induce two destructive political habits: avoidance and action.

Avoidance. Remember the endlessly discussed “bipartisan deficit commission”? Practically speaking, it will probably amount to little. Politically speaking, it rigged the election to allow candidates from both parties (Bennet included) to defer their answers on one of the most serious issues of the day. Hey, they were eagerly awaiting the commission’s recommendations on the issue, which would arrive, not surprisingly, during the lame-duck session.

But action is far worse.

You could argue that Congress has a responsibility to deal with impending issues — unemployment benefits extensions or tax hikes, for instance. But should “repudiated” officials be involved in making long-lasting decisions for all of us?

Remember that the Department of Homeland Security was created in 2002, when a lame-duck Congress relied on post-9/11 jitters to create the largest government bureaucracy in American history. A lame-duck Congress impeached the president in 1998.

If authority derives from the consent of the governed, how are non-emergency lame duck sessions justified? It’s unfortunately a fairly regular practice. David again:

So does it make any sense to allow rejected senators — such as Robert Bennett, Blanche Lincoln and Arlen Specter — to help kill earmark reform in the Senate this week, seeing as none of them will experience the consequences of voting to preserve a corrupted process?

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