Wednesday, December 22, 2010

They Shoot Horses Don't They?

Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet reportedly fear that some important items for Colorado will fall along the wayside if the lame duck Congress fails to pass an omnibus, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink public lands bill by the time it adjourns. But I say let the lame duck session, and everything left unfinished, die, since little good can come from this sort of 11th-hour sausage-making. They shoot horses, don't they?

Most Americans still don't have a clue what was in the last catch-all public lands monstrosity, rammed through in early 2009 in similarly-rushed circumstances. That "omnibus" was a dumping ground for 160 bills that couldn't find any other way of garnering majority support. And here we are, less than 2 years later, engaged in the same tawdry exercise. The only reason Congress can get away with it is that this really is (what Gore Vidal called) The United States of Amnesia.

If the items Udall and Bennet seek have enough merit to win a majority the honest way -- and some might -- the senators should have a very good chance of reviving them in the next Congress. If the only way to pass good bills is to package them with bad ones, the system really is broken.

It's time to treat this lame duck just as we treat lame horses, by putting it out of its misery, before it can do any more harm. If these items have to die with it, so be it.

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