Friday, November 10, 2006

Not-so-lame Ducks

I don't like the term "lame duck". "Lame duck" implies that a person is ineffectual and can be ignored. This does not take into account the fact that such politicians often have all of the authority or their office, but lack the accountability of an official seeking re-election. This can make an individual extremely dangerous. This is evidenced by the unpopular pardons, appointments, and legislation that these "lame duck" periods are known for.

I think a better term would be the "kamikaze period". During this time, when officials hold offices but do not need to worry about keeping them, they can concentrate on doing as much damage -- or furthering of their own and their party's goals -- without worrying about the ramifications, like a kamikaze pilot or suicide bomber attempting to do maximum damage to the enemy without worrying about his own survival.

I have some personal experience with this mindset from playing Halo online. In these games, I frequently kill enemy characters driving vehicles using a well-placed grenade thrown right before they run me over. Because my character will respawn a few seconds later, I don't have to worry about my own death, and when the character in the vehicle is carrying the flag in an attempt to score for his team, it's well worth standing still to aim my grenade -- ensuring my own death -- to ensure that the flag carrier is also killed. In the same way, an outgoing politician -- voted out of office to be replaced by a member of another party -- is willing to damage his own credibility to to ensure that his successor will be unable to "score" for his party. This, of course, is bad because it is the incoming politician who represents the will of the constituents.

The democratic Senate and House majorities may have been elected, but we're not out of the woods yet, and things are likely to get worse before they get better.

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