Borrowing from Newt Gingrich's Contract With America and typical "first 100 days" reviews of each presidency, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi pledged that Democrats would enact six legislative priorities within 100 hours of becoming the new majority. The top six priorities for Democrats were:
Enact all the 9/11 Commission recommendations.
Increase the minimum wage.
Expand stem cell research.
Negotiate for lower prescription drug prices.
Cut interest rate on student loans.
End subsidies for big oil and invest in renewable energy.
The six priority items, which oddly left Iraq missing from the list, were full of political rhetoric, decoys, false promises and bad ideas.
So, did Pelosi achieve her goal of passing her "Six for '06" agenda in 100 hours?
Well, all six bills had passed by the afternoon of Jan. 18. Success? Seeing how the Democrats took over on January 4, my calendar says it took two long weeks. At 24 hours in a day, that adds up to 336 hours. I guess they missed their goal by a mile.
In the spirit of bipartisanship, perhaps we should cut them some slack and not count a couple of Mondays off for holidays, 288 hours.
Ok, so maybe Pelosi had a few victory laps she needed to run to catch up with all the lobbyists, donors and lefties who funded her party's ascension to power, so we'll give them their weekends back. I'm sure their priorities could stand to be delayed a day or two or four -- 192 hours.
Now these Congress members certainly aren't spring chickens any more, so we don't want them burning the candle at both ends. Let's not deprive them of their eight hours of beauty rest each night -- 128 hours.Hmm, still didn't make it. So, let's assume they only come in to work a couple of 40 hour weeks. I'd sure like to experience one of those weeks 80 hours! So, I guess they did make it after all. Congratulations Nancy, you got your priorities done in less than 100 hours of work and still managed to get your beauty sleep.
What gave me pause, even after all the handicapping they gave themselves, was that the clock on the speaker's Web site said the "Six for '06" agenda was passed in 42 hours and 25 minutes. Wait a minute. How'd that happen?
First, it requires strong-arming the minority right out of its socks. After promising to let the sun shine into the legislative process, Nancy Pelosi closed the curtains, shut out the Republicans and shoved her agenda down our throats. None of the six pieces of legislation received a hearing in committee.
It turns out the official timekeeper, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, was also counting only time spent on the six priorities. So next time you're two hours late to the office, why don't you try telling your boss that you weren't really late because you slept for two extra hours and since during that time you weren't working on "getting to the office" those two hours don't count.
In the end, most of this legislation will die under the weight of the Senate or the pressure of the president's veto pen, but in the meantime, it became quite a signal to the American public as to the type of folks we are dealing with in Congress.
Two weeks on the job, and Democrats have already shown themselves for what they are. The same power-hungry, fact-twisting liberals they were when they left the majority 12 years ago.
Now that the new Democratic Congress has gotten through it's first 42 hours, we can all get down to the business of a real legislative process where the issues are real and the battle is fair.
In the meantime, the new season of "24" is back where terrorists are bad, Americans are good, and an hour is still 60-minutes long. It seems the Democrats could learn a lot from a television show.