Lame-duck lunacy

LAME-DUCK LUNACY…. Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), the chairman of the Republican Study Committee and one of Congress’ more humiliating buffoons, demanded this week that there should be no post-election session on the Hill, no matter what work might need to be done.

Price is even pushing a resolution on the matter: “This No Lame Duck resolution will allow our Democrat [sic] colleagues to make it clear whether or not they plan to govern in accordance with the will of the American people or in spite of it.”

Price is hardly alone. House Republicans have been nearly hysterical for weeks, warning of all kinds of nefarious schemes that Democrats might hatch after the election. Tea Partiers, FreedomWorks, Americans for Prosperity, and Newt Gingrich are all obsessed — working feverishly to oppose the existence of a lame-duck session.

It’s all rather bizarre. For one thing, the same legislative dynamic that exists now will exist until the next Congress is sworn in. Bills that can’t pass now won’t magically be able to pass in November and December.

For another, as we’ve talked about before, the 1998 midterms were largely a repudiation of the Republicans’ impeachment crusade against then-President Bill Clinton. House Republicans responded to the election results by impeaching the president anyway — relying on a lame-duck session to ram articles through the chamber quickly, before newly-elected lawmakers could take office. This year’s cries are pretty tough to take seriously given recent history.

And finally, as Dave Weigel noted today, the GOP panic just isn’t rational.

On Tuesday, in an attempt to debunk the lame-duck panic, Politico’s Jonathan Martin discovered, in plain sight, “a host of moderate Democrats who will be on the ballot in 2012 and aren’t going to have any more appetite to take a difficult vote.” Another factor that hurts the Democrats — one that didn’t hurt Gingrich in 1998 — is the Senate’s method of installing new members. The winners of elections in Illinois, Delaware, Colorado, New York, and West Virginia will be replacing appointed senators, and their terms will begin right away. We won’t have Roland Burris to kick around anymore, but Democrats might have to deal with a Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., who’d be as likely to support card check as he’d be to emigrate to Luxembourg.

Republicans find the strangest things to get hysterical about.