Pouring a Little Salt in the Soil

12/06/2006 04:29 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The ignoble exit of the 109th Congress is almost at hand, and the Do-Nothing Congress will certainly deserve its title with this week's lame-duck session, with an emphasis on the "lame."

But what offends me is not just that Congress hasn't done its job, and not just that Republicans are complaining about feeling "tired," and not just that they are already whining about having to work a little harder next year, it's that GOP lawmakers are intentionally screwing things up for next year.

Like a retreating army, Republicans are tearing up railroad track and planting legislative land mines to make it harder for Democrats to govern when they take power in Congress next month.

Already, the Republican leadership has moved to saddle the new Democratic majority with responsibility for resolving $463 billion in spending bills for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1. And the departing chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Bill Thomas (R., Calif.), has been demanding that the Democrat-crafted 2008 budget absorb most of the $13 billion in costs incurred from a decision now to protect physician reimbursements under Medicare, the federal health-care program for the elderly and disabled.

The unstated goal is to disrupt the Democratic agenda and make it harder for the new majority to meet its promise to reinstitute "pay-as-you-go" budget rules, under which new costs or tax cuts must be offset to protect the deficit from growing.

It's like they're pouring a little salt in the soil after burning the place down.

If this were merely a consequence of the GOP's inability to govern, it'd be a frustrating shame. But instead, this is an intentional, spiteful strategy.

We're off to a great post-election bi-partisan start, aren't we?