by Chris Bodenner
Despite the Dems' last-minute legislative wins, Pareene insists that the Senate is still broken:
First of all: All of these things should've been taken care of before the election. As Dave Weigel said, "twenty years ago, things like the food safety bill, which passed on a 75-23 vote, would not have been punted to the lame duck." There was no good reason — beyond Democratic infighting and incompetence — to delay the tax cut vote. (It might've been politically useful to hold a vote on the 9/11 first responders healthcare bill before the election too, come to think of it.) But nothing that passed was particularly controversial (not even "don't ask, don't tell") so all of it could've been taken care of long before a last-ditch lame duck. Before the days when every routine bit of legislation required 60 votes to even be considered, this entire lame duck docket could've been taken care of on some random week of the regular legislative session, with time enough left to confirm a few dozen uncontroversial presidential nominees.
John Judis is far more optimistic.