Today sees the end of the 112th Congress and the start of the 113th, and that has a few pundits shedding a tear—from laughing so hard at how futile and ridiculous this last wave of Congress has been. Among the adieus to the 112th:
- Gail Collins, the New York Times: Collins reminds us of all the things Congress failed to save (the USPS) or reform (farm subsidies). And while the Senate is "a group that’s generally less proactive than a mummy," she reserves special affection for the House. "To be fair, it takes a lot of effort to vote to repeal ObamaCare 33 times." Thankfully, she writes, we'll be losing "nut jobs" like Allen West and Joe Walsh, but the congressional shenanigans won't end if Collins gets her wish for a South Carolina Senate seat showdown: "People, while you are praying for a safe, sane, and peaceful new year, I want you to make a small exception and pray that Jenny and Mark Sanford run against each other."
- Howard Kurtz, the Daily Beast: Kurtz says the 112th's legacy has nothing to do with any significant legislation and everything to do with the new normal it ushers in: "The era of a national legislature boldly tackling major problems is over. The era of the grand bargain is over. Even the era of hold-your-nose-and-cooperate-for-the-good-of-the-country is over."
- Jonathan Allen, Politico: Allen notes that the 112th exits stage left having instituted the least number of laws of any since record-keeping began in 1947. "A Congress that opened with the arrival of the much-heralded Tea Party descended into a two-year food fight, and it will leave the mess to its successor. The 113th Congress will be sworn in on Thursday. The members of the 112th Congress just hope they don’t get sworn at."
- Ezra Klein, Bloomberg: Klein sees the 112th as having come full circle, starting with April 2011's near government shutdown and ending with the fiscal cliff, another self-created "mess it couldn’t clean up." The cliff deal "simply sets up another fight in the weeks ahead. Continued fear and uncertainty over the impending battle is the legacy of the 112th to the nation's economy. Thanks, guys."