As you probably have heard, Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is not happy about having to work during the lame duck session of Congress, where legislators are attempting to unwind many issues they did not consider in the previous, non-lame duck session of Congress, because the Senate is terrible and men like DeMint have been pointlessly obstructing measures like the re-ratification of the START Treaty.
DeMint has famously drawn his line in the sand around the Christmas holiday, saying that working during that time is "sacrilegious." (Whereas threatening to force a Senate assistant to read 2,000 page bills aloud, for no reason, keeps with Christian traditions.)
DeMint attempted to explain his point of view to Foreign Policy's Josh Rogin:
JR: Senator DeMint, exactly how long before Christmas Day is the period during which the American people don't want Congress to work on major legislation, in your view?
JD: It has nothing to do with us not being willing to work. For the [continuing resolution] I'm willing to work right through New Year's. It's just, trying to do [New START] under the cover of people being distracted. We've worked with a lot of people on the outside and around the country who feel this is a bad way to do a bad treaty. People are distracted.
Yes, people are just so distracted, what with the mistletoe and the carolers and that lunar eclipse that everyone stayed up to watch last night, making everyone so tired and crotchety at work today.
Rogin seemed pretty unsatisfied with the answer ("How long are people distracted before Christmas? Is it the entire month of December, or what?"), so DeMint changed the subject, averring that the lame duck session itself was an "illegitimate process" that shouldn't be used to "pass major legislation." Like creating the Department of Homeland Security? Or impeaching Bill Clinton?
Finally, DeMint got ecumenical about it: "Sure, we normally take off for Jewish holidays. It's more of the distraction of the end of the year. I'm not trying to make it just an issue of Christmas." For what it's worth, Senator Joe Lieberman came in to work on Shabbat to get "Don't Ask Don't Tell" repealed. He didn't seem distracted!
Meanwhile, many of the 9/11 responders who would benefit from the passage of the Zadroga bill during this lame duck session of Congress are spending the Christmas season being "distracted" by cancers that they were afflicted with that time they all tried to save a bunch of people's lives.
Jim DeMint and the war on Christmas vacation [The Cable @ Foreign Policy]
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