Chaos in the House of Representatives

Discussion in 'Politics' started by madanthonywayne, Aug 3, 2007.

  1. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

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    Apparently, last nite the House Democrats lost a vote that would have banned Illegal Aliens from getting federal funding (that is to say, the Democrats want the Illegals to recieve the funding, but a bill passed banning it). Faced with that loss, they decided to change votes after the voting had been officially ended. The Republicans went nuts and walked out en mass. To cover their tracks, House Democrats erased the record of the vote!

    Then today a computer glitch popped up that prevented any further voting!

    With Democrats in charge, the House is looking like a banana republic.
     
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  3. hypewaders Save Changes Registered Senior Member

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    madanthonywayne: "With Democrats in charge, the House is looking like a banana republic."

    That resemblance was most evident prior to the Democrat Congress, with the emergence of the neocon "Unitary Executive" during a Republican majority.

    Banana Republic (AHD)-
     
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  5. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

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    Is your assessment based on anything other than your distaste for Republicans? Were there examples of vote tampering and unexplained computer glitches under your unitary executive?
     
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  7. hypewaders Save Changes Registered Senior Member

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    Banana Republics don't have a Congress- Just a Presidentissimo.
     
  8. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

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    That's what I thought you'd say.

    I'd always thought the critical distinction was that their governmental procedures were a joke. They were just going thru the motions with the outcome decided in advance. Like this situation with the House Democrats.

    But apparently, according to you, merely having a congress and president of the same party is all that's needed. So long as the leaders in Congress hate the president, anything goes.
     
  9. hypewaders Save Changes Registered Senior Member

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    "I'd always thought the critical distinction was that their governmental procedures were a joke."

    Byzantine would have been a more fitting cliche for you to choose in that case.


    "But apparently, according to you, merely having a congress and president of the same party is all that's needed. "

    If it's a healthy democracy you're contrasting with your strained banana-republic analogy, then I would include an informed and politically-engaged citizenry as a key component.
     
  10. Redefine91 I piss excellence Registered Senior Member

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    Thats really pathetic. Americas going to hell if our leaders are this big of pussies with immigrants.

    Wonder why this wasn't ran by more newspapers. Reverse the parties and its the end of the world to the news.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2007
  11. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    What a bunch of crybabies. It's looked like the vote was close and Republicans tried to use some procedural tactic to nullify the last votes that were cast, giving themselves the win. They are mad because this bill reverses the Republican's previous cuts.

    Here's a less sensational account of the vote:
    http://www.govexec.com/story_page.cfm?articleid=37664&dcn=todaysnews
     
  12. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    Wow. Rep. Cantor's pissed. He can't even remember that he's a member of the House of Representatives in a constitutional republic.

    Anyone want to bet whether or not my comment at his blog will see the light of day? I'll reproduce it here, later, if it doesn't. I won't actually bet; I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt.
     
  13. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

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  14. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    Wow. Too bad it's only political show.

    Really, had the Republicans conducted themselves better during their tenure, I might not have laughed when he said he had never left the House ashamed. And pretending that shenanigans have never taken place on the House floor is a sad, overused joke. (Anyone ever see Tip O'Neill ram a vote through?) The thing is that, while you or I might think the whole thing is bizarre and reflects badly on the Democrats, and while that might translate into some electoral backlash next year, such appearances are, in the first place, par for the course no matter who has the majority, and, to the other, considerably less offensive than the last few years under GOP rule.
     
  15. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

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    It's true the GOP sucked ass in the last couple years of their majority, but the closest thing to this was when they held the vote time open until Bush could pass his stupid Medicare drug plan. While that was offensive, it wasn't breaking any rules. Changing the vote after the fact or erasing votes you don't like is quite a bit worse.
     
  16. countezero Registered Senior Member

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  17. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    Actually, the only thing that needs to be resolved about this is how the procedure reflects rule changes made in January. The GOP held votes open in order to pressure their own members to change votes. Hell, I was looking for information on the rule changes mentioned in the Post article Countezero offered, and one of the first links I came across, while it had nothing to do with the rule change, was a newsletter from the office of Rep. Sandy Levin:

    On October 7, the Leadership of the House held open what was supposed to be a five-minute vote for over 45 minutes in order to pressure a handful of House members to change their votes on a controversial refinery bill As the scheduled five‑minute vote was set to end, the refinery bill was losing Over the next 41 minutes, House leaders persuaded three Republican lawmakers to change their votes from no to yes, and the refinery bill squeaked by on a vote of 212 to 210 (House.gov)​

    It would seem that vote at least broke whatever rule established the original voting period. And this is the reason that the Democrats will get away with some lowballs. They're not going as low as the GOP went.

    The only substantive questions left to consider, in my opinion, is why the House Democrats made the rule as such, and why any Democrats would be changing their votes in the first place. In the first question, we might consider legitimate criticism of the idea that legislators should sign anti-corruption statements, or whatever that fracas was about last year: we already expect them to not be corrupt; an anti-corruption statement is redundant and insulting. To the second, we might consider some political criticism of a recent vote, I think, on funding of the war. It was said that certain Democrats with tough political stakes on the line waited until after the bill was sure to pass the chamber before they voted. This suggests, figuratively, emasculation: they haven't the stones to do the job. More than the everyday chicanery of our legislative process, it is the lack of integrity that is worrisome.

    Remember: if the Democrats don't play ball, they lose in the elections. If they play ball, they get criticized for lacking integrity. It's a lose-lose situation for Democrats and the American people alike. And, frankly, I blame the People.
     
  18. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

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    I think the people may be getting sick of it. But I may be overly optomistic. Regarding your statement that this is nothing new, this recent development suggests otherwise:
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2007
  19. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    I suppose its only natural to blame any screwball shit the Reps pull on the Dems, for not stopping them. After all, we've just seen thirteen years of blaming the Dems in the House while the Reps were in charge, and clearly the Dems are even more to blame now than they were then.

    It isn't quite fair,though, to be blaming the Dems for the appearance of a bunch of Rep "adults" choreographing a little walkout while shouting "shame, shame" - some little personal accountability needs to be preserved, and the appearance of banana republic debate that created is not wholly the Dems fault.

    The most childish House display I can recall offhand was the general chaos Newt Gingrich created after he felt slighted in the location of the seating offered him on some official plane flight.
     
  20. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    Depends on what you're referring to

    Indeed, the special committee is unusual.

    "We are not irrelevant here," said House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). "Just because we are in the minority doesn't mean we're irrelevant." (Weisman and Williamson, Washington Post)​

    In addition to the irony of a GOP legislator making this statement, it is worth noting that the Democrats agree.

    House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) accepted GOP calls for an investigation. "I do not believe there was any wrongdoing by any member of the House. I do believe a mistake was made," he said. "And I regret it." (ibid)​

    So what has happened, it seems, is that the GOP has gone spectacularly ballistic over something that, at worst, seems to equate to turnabout. In their tantrum, the GOP has called for historically extraordinary measures, and it seems the Democrats feel they have nothing to fear, so they've obliged.

    What makes this outburst seem even more spectacularly stupid is the issue the GOP is fighting for. As pointed out in the WashingtonPost.com article Countezero provided:

    The contested provision was simply a restatement of current law, and Democrats stewed that the vote on the illegal immigrant measure was aimed chiefly at forcing swing-district Democrats into a politically bad vote. (Taylor, WashingtonPost.com)​

    Extraneous political crowing. That's what the GOP is demanding an investigation for. Because they felt screwed by the Democrats' response to a GOP attempt to muck up legislation with extraneous crap for exploitative political reasons.

    Give them their investigation. If Hoyer & Co. get burned on this one, they have nobody to blame but themselves. Same goes for Cantor, Blunt, and the rest of the GOP. You know, the GOP is starting to sound like a schoolyard bully: punching and kicking and aiming to hurt and exploit, and the minute someone pushes back, wails that he's being treated unfairly. I've tracked the rule in question back to both its legislation and the House Rules themselves, and hope to offer some perspective on that soon. What would be most helpful in understanding the GOP complaint would be a full transcript of the event. If I find that, I'll let y'all know.
    ____________________

    Notes:

    Weisman, Jonathan and Elizabeth Williamson. "House Forms Special Panel Over Alleged Stolen Vote". Washington Post, August 4, 2007; page A04. See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/03/AR2007080300878_pf.html

    Taylor, Andrew. "Republicans Angry Over House Vote". WashingtonPost.com,, August 3, 2007. See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/03/AR2007080300874_pf.html
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2007
  21. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

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    Now you're being unfair. The Democrats have been demagoguing everything Bush does since he got into office. Don't forget, he was known in Texas for getting along with the other side of the aisle. And frankly, on everything but defense and taxes, he's pretty liberal. He let Ted Kennedy write the education bill as well as the immigration bill!

    Both sides suck. Both sides use dirty tactics whenever they can.

    Look at the wiretapping bill, for years derided as the most horrible assault on civil liberties since Hitler, now the Democrat controlled congress passes it!
     
  22. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    If we mark the Lee Atwater School of Political Engagement, and follow the transition through right-wing talk radio, finally ending up with the dominant practice today, the Rove School of Political Engagement, I'm hard-pressed to blame the Democrats for anything but failing to overcome such bullying.

    One side invents them, the other is forced to match if they intend to win office. And even this is a dubious prospect for the Democrats; stooping to meet successful GOP tactics backfires at least as often as it works.

    I will have to review the law itself. According to an AP story by Charles Babington, "If a U.S. resident becomes the chief target of surveillance, the government would have to obtain a warrant from the special FISA court." This has been the primary point of contention 'twixt Democrats and the Bush administration.

    To the other, I think the Dems are meeting the GOP way too far to the right on this one. Of course, it seems a matter of whether one believes the framers of the Constitution failed to explicitly include or exclude foreign citizens in the application of its contract. I tend to think that within the U.S., the Constitution applies to anyone. (e.g., See the Equal Protection clause of Amendment XIV; while other portions of Section 1 apply specifically to citizens, the guarantees of due process and equal protection are applied to "any person" within U.S. jurisdiction.)

    I think you're overstating the issue. You know, "being unfair".
     
  23. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    Update: Cantor blog suggests insincerity

    Rep. Cantor (R-VA), in describing the events on the House floor, asked, "Is this a democracy or a dictatorship?" (EricCantor.com)

    In a prior post in this topic, I wrote,

    Anyone want to bet whether or not my comment at his blog will see the light of day? I'll reproduce it here, later, if it doesn't. I won't actually bet; I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt.

    While it is true that Rep. Cantor and/or his staff have not chosen outright censorship, nine days later the comment still awaits moderation. Thus, as stated before, I will reproduce the commentary here:

    # BD Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    August 3rd, 2007 at 8:12 pm

    You ask, “Is this a democracy or a dictatorship?” Rep. Cantor, I believe you are a member of the House of Representatives in a republic. If you can’t tell the difference, perhaps you should resign your seat in the House and take some time to think about it. You are, after all, a Republic-an. In a time when conservatives are so anxious to pitch fits about “liberal exaggerations”, what is the point of such uneducated and inflammatory appeals? I understand you’re upset about the proceedings on the House floor, but at least the lights stayed on and people were allowed to speak at all. Quit with the histrionics. The American people aren’t buying it. After all, perhaps the GOP shouldn’t have set such low standards during their tenure as the Congressional majority. You’ve given the Democrats a lot of room to maneuver before they’ve officially stooped as low as your party. And when they do, perhaps then you can start complaining. But all you’re accomplishing with such petulance is reminding the American people just how out of line the GOP has been for the last several years. Good show, Rep. Cantor; I’m sure your constituents are proud.

    Thus far, his "democracy or dictatorship" question seems insincere.
     

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