Quick Takes

* Today President Obama commuted the sentences of 95 federal prisoners – mostly drug offenders. It is interesting to notice the progression since the announcement of his Clemency Initiative. In March, the President granted 22 commutations and in July the number was 46. Each time the number has more than doubled. In an effort to correct the kinds of stories I wrote about earlier this week, the White House pointed out that – with 184 to date – President Obama has commuted more sentences than the last 5 presidents combined.

* Congress passed the omnibus spending bill – ensuring that there will be no government shut-down this year. For most of us, that’s good news. But to give you some idea of why Sen. Ted Cruz is so disliked by his fellow Republicans, take a look at what he wrote about those surrender monkeys at Politico today.

Since taking control of the Senate, Republican leadership has joined hands with a majority of Democrats to thwart their own caucus’ efforts to stop the Obama agenda 24 times. During each of these 24 votes, this so-called Republican majority successfully passed legislation with a majority of Democrats in support and a majority of Republicans opposed. This is why I have said that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is the most effective Democratic leader in modern times.

* The steps towards ending Syria’s civil war are slowly grinding on. Today it was the U.N. Security Council’s turn to weigh in.

The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution outlining a peace process in Syria. The 15-member council reached rare agreement on the issue in a session in New York on Friday. The resolution endorses talks between the Syrian government and opposition in early January, as well as a ceasefire…

US Secretary of State John Kerry, chairing the session, said the resolution sent “a clear message to all concerned that the time is now to stop the killing in Syria”

* Greg Sargent picked up on an interesting tidbit from the latest Morning Consult poll.

About one in six Republican respondents said they would support Hillary Clinton in the general election matchup between Trump and Clinton.

* Finally, as you finish up the last of your Christmas shopping, please take a moment to make an end-of-the-year contribution to the Washington Monthly. Because we are a 501c3 nonprofit, it is completely tax deductible. Thanks.

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Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.