My column today is on the omnibus bill. I woke up this morning to discover that the omnibus bill failed, thus nullifying my column. Some might say that the breaking news gods are punishing me for my hubris. But I prefer to think that it was the incredible force of column that caused the Democrats to crumble. The idea’s utter lack of plausibility makes it all the more appealing. Next column topics: DREAM Act, START etc.
Here’s the opening of the column:
The gold standard in contemptuous politics remains Emperor Caligula’s appointment of his horse, Incitatus, to the Roman senate. Well, Harry Reid (D., Nev.) is getting some long-delayed senatorial payback.
Figuratively speaking, Reid plans to drop on the president’s desk a steaming pile of what Incitatus used to deposit on the stable floor. This sack of non-Shinola goes by the technical name of an omnibus spending bill, which the White House has indicated President Obama will sign. It wraps together all the bills to fund government operations beginning January 1 into a single $1.2 trillion monstrosity so laden down with spending grotesqueries that it comes out to more than $623 million a page — and it’s 1,924 pages long. By my rough estimate, that’s about $3.1 million per word.
It’s a bold gambit by Reid and the Democrats, who have failed to pass a single appropriations bill this fiscal year — a historic first. Now, a lame-duck Congress that shouldn’t be convening at all wants to use a looming deadline for a vote on raising the national-debt ceiling to cram through legislation that will make the budget and the deficit continue to balloon like Marlon Brando in his later years.
Like Lloyd Bridges in Airplane! picking the wrong week to stop sniffing glue, the Democrats have chosen a bad moment to stick to their old ways. We had this thing called an “election” just over a month ago, in which the American people said no more of this horse-stable-filler.
Saint Augustine famously said, “Lord, make me chaste, but not yet,” and that’s the basic rationale driving Reid. This is one last trip to the fiscal cathouse before he joins the monastery — which is why this mess comes with $8 billion in earmarked trinkets for the trollops.
Update: John Cornyn agrees! I just got a mass-blast email from his office. It begins:
Dear Jonah ,
You did it. Facing pressure from you, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Thursday night he was withdrawing the Democrats’ last-minute, 2,200 page-long, $1.1 trillion spending bill. He withdrew it from the floor because he didn’t have the votes. And he didn’t have the votes because you didn’t relent ….