Predicting the extent of “lame duck” legislative shenanigans that would ensue if one or both houses of Congress changes hands in the Nov. 2 elections became a Washington parlor game during the August recess. But this is serious stuff to anyone who cares about, oh, limited government, rule of law, free markets and individual liberty.
Not content with the damage they’ve already done, liberal lawmakers could really go for broke should they find themselves on the outs come the morning of Nov. 3. One endangered liberal, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, says he’s “committed” to convening a lame-duck session.
When friends of religious liberty gathered today at Heritage, Tom McClusky, senior vice president of Family Research Council’s legislative action arm, FRC Action, presented one parade of potential horribles.
Scanning McClusky’s “You’re So Lame” list of 24 liberal goals, Jordan Lorence, a senior counsel at the Alliance Defense Fund cracked: “It’s the legislative equivalent of the barroom scene in Star Wars.”
Indeed, what McClusky calls a “partial list” is a veritable cantina full of smugglers, bounty hunters, intrusive bureaucrats and space cadets set to run amok. It begins with more taxpayer-funded abortions and embryonic stem-cell research; promotion of same-sex marriage at the expense of traditional marriage; creating employment rights based on sexual orientation and ending the military’s ban on homosexuals serving openly.
The list includes less-visible efforts to require personnel at military hospitals to perform abortions and to prohibit drug treatment or mental health programs from hiring on the basis of religion if they receive federal dollars. However, higher income taxes and other concerns actually outnumber social issues on this lame-duck menu, among them: more taxpayer funding for liberal groups; “attacks on free speech” via the FCC’s Net neutrality and “localism” initiatives; ending workers’ right to a secret ballot in union elections; passing amnesty for illegal immigrants; pushing through new energy regulations, costs and taxes; and ratifying misguided treaties such as New START and the Universal Rights of the Child.
All too much? Maybe. But, McClusky warns, conservatives shouldn’t misunderestimate the potential for the likes of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid (“perhaps the lamest duck of all”) to ring up one heck of a tab with a liberal “to do” list before the cantina closes for the last time in the 111th Congress.
As Obi-Wan Kenobi said of Mos Eisley Spaceport before entering the cantina there: “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.”