Democratic Senate's first day sure to shock Bush

Like a young boy who's the new kid at school, George W. Bush probably has no idea what to expect as he starts life with a new, Democratic Congress today. Facing a crew fronted by new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Bush will have to deal with a Congress intent on the actual work of governing, like passing meaningful legislation, scrutinizing judicial nominees and, most frightening of all for Team Bush, actually fulfilling their role in performing oversight on the executive branch of government.

In the Senate, things will start out this morning with a joint, all-Senators meeting in the Old Senate Chamber before officially opening the 110th Congress at noon.

Fear not partisan Democrats: I interviewed Harry Reid last month and, while he says this "bipartisan caucus" is intended to foster a "new tone" in the Senate, there was no mistaking a look in his eye that said he has had enough of Republican games and is committed to governing in a way true to Democratic ideals.

Indeed, when Bush wrote in his silly Wall Street Journal editorial yesterday that "If Congress chooses to pass bills that are simply political statements, they will have chosen stalemate," Reid fired back as follows:

"There is nothing political about finding a policy to end the war in Iraq, raising the minimum wage, achieving energy independence or helping kids afford college. In fact, politics has prevented progress on these issues for too many years."

No amount of having coffee and bagels with the Republican minority for an hour today -- in a get-together that's entirely ceremonial and not legislative -- will make that go away.


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