How Not to Play the Minority Party

Yesterday’s House vote unraveled in strange ways, have no doubt about it. The real shocker was not that one Republican (Joe Cao) voted in favor of the legislation. Let’s face it… the guy is from New Orleans and he’s up for election next fall along with the rest of them. No, the real eye opener was exactly how out of practice the GOP seems to be at fighting from the cheap seats. Their opportunity came and went earlier in the day, as Allahpundit pointed out, during the vote on the Stupak amendment which would prohibit the expenditure of any federal dollars for abortions in connection with the Pelosicare bill.

The breathless response from Firedoglake should have told them the whole story. “64 Dems Ask for Primary Opponents.” There were already three dozen more Democrats who had gone on record as saying they couldn’t vote for Pelosi’s bill without the amendment. Hello? McFly! McFly! Is anybody home?

All the Republicans needed to do was march up, one by one, and vote “present” on the Stupak amendment. The Democrats didn’t have enough votes to pass it without them. The amendment fails and the Republicans gain another 25 to 30 votes on the floor for the entire bill. Would it be so hard to go home to your constituents and say, “Yes, I voted present on a very good amendment, but it was in the larger interest of defeating the very bad bill to which it was attached.” I can’t imagine their base holding their feet to the fire on that one.

Unfortunately, the Republicans spent a long time in the majority, and I fear they’ve forgotten how to fight from the minority side. But no matter. There’s still a very, very tough fight to come in the Senate, followed by the effort to combine the two versions into one which can pass yet another full vote in Congress. Stock up on the popcorn. This game is going into overtime.

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  • Shamrock

    The republican voters are so batshit crazy right now, that if anyone voted present they would have had half of their votes go to another conservative canidate like it did in northern New York. Its a good thing it passed though, I mean you were arguing that the majority's bill should have been defeated. That is not a democracy if the majority gets defeated. We have a checks and balances system, but those are the senate and the President, not the minority party. The constitution has nothing to do with party affiliation and about what has the most votes. To advance that the Minority Party should do shady ward boss politics seems very un-American.

  • JeffersonDavis

    “That is not a democracy if the majority gets defeated. “

    That is not entirely correct, Shamrock. The founding fathers warned of partisan majorities from the onset. If these votes were left to the people (as Jefferson supported a “direct” democracy) they would crash and burn quickly. The majority party does not represent the “majority” opinion among the people. You are right, it would not be democracy if the democrats (or republicans for that matter) ram any kind of legislation down the throat of the American public.

  • Shamrock

    Jefferson also said the French Revolution was a good idea. Adam's system of representation is the one we went with. And the majority wants health care. I mean if you take the populations of California, New York and Chicago you would have the Marjory and they want health care. By your Jefferson system, the other states wouldn't even need to vote. Funny, because the states that supported him would be the ones with no vote by such a system.

  • SteveK

    Elections have consequences – John McCain

    Elections have consequences – Barbara Boxer

  • JSpencer

    It's a pity the GOP doesn't seem to have any ideas of thier own to contribute to solving a serious problem that's been growing for decades. Instead the only idea they seem to have is… well, geeze, I guess they don't have any ideas. Only no. No. No. No . . . and, well… that old standby, “no”. I'd be happy to advocate for and defend the GOP if they were doing anything positive to address the serious problems in this country, but I'm not going to bat for them until they actually wake up from thier bizarre partisan nightmare and start showing they actually care about the US of A…. which could actually use their help! I'm still waiting…

  • DLS

    “You are right, it would not be democracy if the democrats (or republicans for that matter) ram any kind of legislation down the throat of the American public.”

    Well, to many, “progress” means simply Feeling Good and getting what they want, and they have no patience or even tolerance for real democracy or other elements of propriety or of procedure when these are viewed as encumbrances or resistances.