President Obama, 'Lame Duck' Democratic Congress bask in Zadroga bill, Don't Ask Don't Tell success
BY KENNETH R. BAZINET
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS -- December 26, 2010
President Barack Obama has reason to celebrate during his Christmas vacation in Hawaii after a great month for the 'Lame Duck' Democratic Congress.
In a swift and improbable political turnaround, the lame-duck Congress has revived a dead-duck President, pols and pundits believe.
"There was nothing lame about this Congress," Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) quipped about the flurry of bills passed in the final days of the postelection session.
President Obama, left limping after the Republicans scored a huge victory in the November midterm elections, was the major beneficiary.
Democrats managed to get their ducks in a row and help resuscitate Obama with some luck - and some well-played chess just weeks after what Obama bemoaned as a "shellacking" in the elections.
"Pundits wanted to write him off, but President Obama went right back to work and we delivered," said Gillibrand, who gained national attention for championing the 9/11 health care bill and an extension of unemployment benefits.
Political scientists have taken notice.
"It's official. Like it or not, this lame-duck session is the most productive of the 15 held since [World War] II," noted University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato.
A new CNN poll showed a majority of Americans have reversed course and say Obama is again taking the country on the right track.
Even Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn, Queens), a leading liberal White House antagonist, said the tally sheet shows Obama compiled an enviable legislative trophy case.
"Nobody is talking about a 'shellacking' anymore. . . . Things don't feel so bleak," Weiner told the Daily News. "When they look at the scorecard, most of Obama's [political] left will be celebrating a very merry Christmas."
In quick succession, Congress approved the tax deal, the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on gays serving openly in the military, a nuclear arms accord with Russia and the $4.3 billion measure to care for ill Ground Zero responders.
"The timing was just right," Weiner said.