The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 1/2/13, 7:00 PM ET

Rewriting the idea of a do-nothing Senate

Headlines over the past week have indicated this Congress has done less than any other since the 1940s. But after it passed the fiscal cliff deal, the U.S....

What Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell did while you weren’t looking

Updated

It’s easy to hate on the 112th Congress. Paralyzed by partisan gridlock not seen since the 1940s, the Congressional record shows that America’s “do-nothing Congress” hasn’t passed many bills while in office.

But, msnbc’s Lawrence O’Donnell came to the Senate’s defense in his Rewrite segment Wednesday.

He praised both Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for working together–out in the open, with C-Span cameras rolling–to get the fiscal deal passed in a “truly bipartisan vote” to raise income tax rates.

After the fiscal cliff deal came and went, the U.S. Senate quietly did a lot of work with the help of just a few devoted legislators. With McConnell’s support, Reid succeeded in pushing through a slew of nominations on behalf of President Obama.

“Harry Reid, who every day does much more than most people in the news media realize, and definitely accomplishes much more than the news media ever reports, pushed through pages and pages of nominations for President Obama yesterday when everyone was focused on what the House would do on the fiscal cliff vote. And Harry Reid did that with the active but invisible help of Mitch McConnell who did his part to make sure that no Republicans would vote against any of those nominations. And what did the United States Senate do today, that dysfunctional United States Senate? According to the news media, absolutely nothing.”


Before dismissing all lawmakers in one fell swoop, O’Donnell argued the Senate leadership deserves way more credit:

“So what is the truth? Is the Senate a hopeless dysfunctional place? Does Mitch McConnell hate Harry Reid so much that Vice President Biden had to be brought in to negotiate the final terms of the Senate fiscal cliff deal? The answer is that the truth is complicated, but the news media hates complications. The news media craves personal drama. McConnell hates Reid, or Boehner hates Reid. The news media, like screenwriters, loves the last minute rescue by the improbable hero, in this case, Joe Biden. That’s an easy story to tell. The truth is more complicated.”

What Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell did while you weren’t looking

Updated