Posted by: JanF | December 10, 2010

Dry powder and missed opportunities

As the lame duck Congress goes quacking off the national stage, I felt the need to jump up on a soapbox for one last rant at the 111th Congress.

One of the phrases that used to set my teeth on edge throughout the Bush years was the need for Congress to “keep their powder dry” to save themselves for the “big battles” looming. That did not change much when Democrats took over in January 2009. We were always told that the time was “not right” and that we needed to be “patient”.

Er, Congress? Your powder is dry, the big battles came and went (you lost quite a few of them, by the way) and now you are on your way out. If you turn and look back at your stash of dry powder, the winds of change just blew it back in your eyes. Does it sting a little? Well, it stings We The People a lot. Those of you who retired or were retired will go on to your new lobbying jobs, the rest of you will go back to the 112th Congress to watch from the sidelines as the Republicans take their best shot at turning America into a Third World country. That “America” will be us, by the way, weeping silently as our hopes and dreams for a better day are deferred, delayed or lost.

The lesson to be learned is that when you have Congressional majorities and the presidency you should strike while the iron is hot and not save them for a rainy day.

Mixed enough metaphors? I’m not done.

The can got kicked down the road until it hit a brick wall and the country got stuck between a rock and that hard place.

Okay, now I’m done.

Here is what got pushed to the end of the 111th Congress and lost:
– Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
– The DREAM Act
– The DISCLOSE Act
– Emergency Senior Citizens Relief Act
– Health care for 9/11 responders
– Unemployment compensation
– A second stimulus package

The ball was in your court, Congress, and you passed it out of bounds (okay, that was really the last one).

And now you are complaining that you are being coerced into voting for bad compromises. Stop whining … you put yourself in this situation.

You had the ball when the clock started ticking. You are like the football fans complaining about the blown call in the last 15 seconds of the game and how your team lost. It was not the last 15 seconds that lost this game. It is what you didn’t do in the first 59 minutes and 45 seconds.

I am going to add one more resolution to my list from last Friday.

On January 2, 2013 when the 113th Congress is sworn in and we have our majorities back and a brand new 4 year term for Barack Obama, I am not going to let Congress off the hook. You are going to prioritize the legislation we need and get to work immediately on the People’s Business. Time is not our friend, electoral politics are smelly and disgusting and I never again want to hear about someone “saving their powder” or “waiting for the perfect time”.

The People’s Business is not going to wait for you next time. We learned our lesson.

Hey, Lucy! Charlie Brown is putting you on notice … next time we are going to kick that ball through the goal posts.

This time we win

(A version of this was originally posted on 12/10/2010 at BPI Campus)

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