I mean the Democratic Party, of course, or at least the Democrats on Capitol Hill. Republicans can push them around by calling them soft on terrorism, but it goes even further than that, as we saw yesterday:
House Democrats had to scrap their only substantive bill of the week Thursday after Republicans won a procedural vote that substantively altered the legislation with an anti-porn clause.
Democrats had labeled their COMPETES Act — a bill to increase investments in science, research and training programs — as their latest jobs bill. It was the only non-suspension bill Democrats brought up all week.
But the Republican motion to recommit the bill — a parliamentary tactic that gives the minority one final chance to amend legislation — contained language prohibiting federal funds from going “to salaries to those officially disciplined for violations regarding the viewing, downloading, or exchanging of pornography, including child pornography, on a federal computer or while performing official government duties.”
That provision scared dozens of Democrats into voting with Republicans to approve the motion to recommit. After it became clear the GOP motion was going to pass, dozens of additional Democrats changed their votes from “no” to “yes.” In the end, 121 Democrats voted with Republicans — only four fewer than the number of Democrats who voted with their party.
But because of additional changes contained in the motion, Democrats decided to pull the bill from consideration immediately following the passage of the motion to recommit.
This shows not just that, as Steve Benen noted, Republicans aren’t at all “serious about lawmaking and public policy” but that Democrats are pretty much a bunch of cowards. Of course, no one wants federal funds going to people who have been “disciplined” for “viewing, downloading, or exchanging” child pornography (although pornography generally is broader and less easily defined, suggesting that application of the law could possibly be subject to abuse), but the obvious purpose of the Republican motion was not to keep federal funding from those people but to block the Democrats’ legislation. And the Democrats, terrified that they would be labelled pro-porn (and pro-child porn) by Republicans this fall, caved.
I know what Democrats are like, and I’ve come to expect this sort of thing, but it amazes me that a party with a popular president in the White House and huge majorities in both houses of Congress is so despicably pathetic, not least at a time when they actually have a chance to do some good for the country. It’s infuriating.
(Cross-posted from The Reaction.)