November 21, 2006

Perhaps the biggest flaw of Republican rule of Congress wasn’t the misguided legislation, unhinged rhetoric, or dictatorial style; it was the GOP’s inability to actually govern. Even when lawmakers have no real policy agenda to pursue, there are certain measures Congress needs to pass — such as a federal budget.

In this respect, 2006 Republicans were almost comical in their ineptitude. Spending bills were nearly two months overdue by the time the election rolled around, and now the outgoing congressional majority is giving up and asking Dems to clean up their mess.

Republicans vacating the Capitol are dumping a big spring cleaning job on Democrats moving in. GOP leaders have opted to leave behind almost a half-trillion-dollar clutter of unfinished spending bills.

There’s also no guarantee that Republicans will pass a multibillion-dollar measure to prevent a cut in fees to doctors treating Medicare patients.

The bulging workload that a Republican-led Congress was supposed to complete this year but is instead punting to 2007 promises to consume time and energy that Democrats had hoped to devote to their own agenda upon taking control of Congress in January for the first time in a dozen years.

It’d be amusing if it weren’t so sad. As Kevin Drum put it, “It’s like watching a bunch of first graders stomp off the playground after the teacher has told them to break up a fight.”

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