- ratification of the START treaty, renewing U.S.-Russian cooperation in limiting nuclear arms
- repeal of DADT, arguably the greatest triumph in civil rights since the 1960s
- passage of the desperately needed food safety bill
- medical help for 9-11 first responders suffering from chronic illness as a result of their heroism
- passage of the compromise tax-and-stimulus package that protects millions of Americans from immediate loss of unemployment benefits.
To the public, it may seem that all this occurred in a fit of holiday goodwill that turned even the dour Mr. McConnell into Ebenezer Scrooge after his conversion. Cynics may point out that after whining didn’t work, the Republicans decided they’d have to actually get some work done before they could go home for the holidays.
The reality, though, is that the work had been done, the groundwork painstakingly laid during months of negotiations, through the tough and inspired leadership of two of the most productive (albeit reviled) members of Congress: Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.
Like the rest of us, Congress will emerge after the distraction of the holidays with a laundry list of things to be done and resolutions for the new year. We shall follow along with interest.
Meanwhile, though, I wish you all good cheer and happy holidays!