Turmoil in Washington

It took six weeks for the tremors of the November election to finally be felt in the nation’s capital.  On Thursday, lame-duck Democrats were in retreat, confusion and turmoil while they still tenuously held majorities in both houses of Congress. Election Day, November 2, may have been the paper electoral defeat for Democrats. But Thursday, December 16, the rout was the real thing as it dramatically played out in both congressional chambers. And it all happened on the 237th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party.

By any political standards, Thursday was a wild day.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was disgraced as he was forced to pull his ridiculous 2,000-page $1.2 trillion spending bill from the floor.  On the other side of the Capitol, meanwhile, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was forced to pull the president’s own tax bill from the House floor as she met behind closed doors with frantic and angry fellow Democrats.   A few minutes before midnight the White House prevailed and got the tax bill passed. But at what cost?  What deals did they make?  And what comes next from angry left-wing Democrats is anybody’s guess.

The real winners may be a number of out-of-favor fiscal conservatives who have lived in the political wilderness for many years.  In the Senate, it may mean new prestige and influence for Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Jim DeMint (R-SC).  In the House it will mean more sway for Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), and perhaps Tea Party caucus chair Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN).   They have the momentum after Washington outdid itself in trying to ram through a federal spending bill that was obscene even by Washington standards.

About a day ago the Democrats unveiled a stunning 2,000-page $1.2 trillion spending bill and gave Republicans less than 24 hours to read it before a vote.  It was shades of the ObamaCare vote all over again.