Over the next few days, a group of Congressional experts will try to answer the big questions that came out of the Capitol last year: Were the Democrats as hapless as the press made them out to be? How could've they been more effective in meeting those filibustering Republicans head-on? What happened with the timetable for withdrawal? And, hey, where's Rahm when you need him? You can read their responses here: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven, Part Eight, Part Nine, Part Ten, Part Eleven.

From: Eve Fairbanks

To: Michelle Cottle and Eve Fairbanks

Subject: O Rahm, Where Art Thou?

Norm, I think you make a good point that the choice of issue is crucial--I thought the Dems could have pushed S-CHIP even further than they did, because unlike Iraq, it's pretty clear cut, or at least seems like it on the airwaves. (Sick kids! And I thought that stunt the Republicans tried to pull undermining Graeme Frost, the ill kid Democrats got to give their radio address, backfired on them pretty badly.) Following up, is there anything coming up next session that'll have that clarity, do you think? Is there something more in the works on energy, for instance?

And for my last question: Where's Rahm when you need him?! Isn't he the kind that goes in for "talking points on [insert Republican here]'s penchant for drowning puppies"? And I mean that in a good way.

(Read Norman Ornstein's response here.)

Eve Fairbanks is an associate editor at The New Republic. Michelle Cottle is a senior editor at The New Republic. Norman Ornstein is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the author, in 2006, of The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track, with Thomas E. Mann.

By Michelle Cottle, Eve Fairbanks, and Norman Ornstein