Bill Murchison

Top Reason (as Letterman might put it) for Loving the Establishment Media: their alacrity in back-patting-a-president-they-hated-to-be-so-hard-on. Barack Obama's new-found statesmanship during the pre-Christmas lame-duck session bids fair -- if you take the commentators at their word -- to give him his second presidential wind.

Why, the lame ducks of Capitol Hill passed the president's compromise (except, of course, compromise always takes more than one party) on taxes (which measure the liberals had hated when it was announced); repealed the Clinton era "don't ask, don't tell" policy on military service by homosexuals and lesbians; ratified (with vital Republican help) a nuclear arms treaty with Russia; extended unemployment benefits; and thus allowed Obama a Christmas victory lap. Well, I mean, so as you'd suppose just from the thump-thump of the media beat.

Our "transformational" president would be well-advised to bask in such acclaim as falls presently on his ears, because he is unlikely to get much of that commodity once the new Congress convenes. The lame ducks of Capitol Hill, waddling into the political twilight, did all they could to accommodate the swan in the White House. Things are about to become a little bit different. And high time.

Overwhelming liberal Democratic control of the House was the key to anything and everything Obama wanted in the last session. House Republicans were relatively few, and they often found themselves penned in a tight corner of the stockyard by the crack of Nancy Pelosi's bullwhip. They couldn't do much besides state their case and hope for the best. All the bad stuff -- starting with Obamacare -- originated in the House, and then went to the Senate for such minor modifications as the Republicans there could work.

Unfortunately for the speaker, the voters snatched away her bullwhip and dismissed the posse that rode behind her. The House is Republican territory. Nothing the House won't put up with will pass. Nothing.

That means all the creative ideas will emerge this year from a House: sick of life on the Pelosi plantation and determined to enact, not the President's ideas as they are, but their own ideas: hand-tooled and crafted by the GOP's sharpest thinkers. These include, just to name a few: Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Eric Cantor of Virginia and Jeb Hensarling of Texas. Each one understands basic economics better than -- to judge by results over the past 18 months or so -- the combined Democratic majority of the old Congress.

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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