Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 2, 2007

A MISGUIDED VICTIM COMPLEX.... To add a bookend to the previous post, Justin Rood noted that the 110th Congress hasn't even officially begun, but several House Republicans have already started feeling sorry for themselves.

In a "Dear Colleague" letter circulated to fellow Republicans, three House GOPers are trying to push a "Minority Bill of Rights" -- based on a two-year-old proposal by then-Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). You can read the letter here.

"Unfortunately, as you are well aware, the Democrats' forty-year reign over the House was plagued by consistent, systematic efforts to usurp the rights and privileges of the Republican minority," write Reps. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Tom Price (R-GA).

I'm afraid on the hypocrisy-o-meter, these three just buried the needle.

Two years ago, Nancy Pelosi and other House Dems proposed some modest measures that would improve the democratic process on the Hill: bills would only come to the floor after open committee hearings, lawmakers would be able to offer amendments to bills, and members would have at least 24 hours to actually look at legislation before being asked to vote on it.

What happened in response to Pelosi's written request? Dennis Hastert blew it off and refused to even acknowledge the correspondence.

Now, all of a sudden, the same ideas have been repackaged as a Republican-backed "Minority Bill of Rights." For reasons that escape me, McHenry, Cantor, and Price seem to believe "their" idea should be taken seriously.

As for their argument about abuses that may have existed before 1994, Kevin thoroughly debunked the Dems-were-just-as-bad notion a couple of years ago.

When it comes to abuses of power, modern Republicans are in a league of their own. And now that they're in the minority again, worried about abuses that haven't actually happened, we're apparently supposed to feel sorry for them. Please.

Steve Benen 2:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (56)

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Comments

Ah, Kevin.

Everyone knows that "blowing it off" is what Dennis Hastert does. He was too busy trying to stop Mark Foley's transgressions to listen to Nancy Pelosi whine.

Nancy needs to respect the minority party, or the terrorists will win.

Posted by: 'Real' Al on January 2, 2007 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

Now, all of a sudden, the same ideas have been repackaged as a Republican-backed "Minority Bill of Rights." For reasons that escape me, McHenry, Cantor, and Price seem to believe "their" idea should be taken seriously.

Kevin, it SHOULD be taken seriously because it would be HYPOCRITICAL for liberals, Democrats, and Pelosi to support the Republican-backed Minority Bill of Rights in 2004 but to be opposed to it in 2007. But, as many conservatives have noticed, liberals have no problem with being hypocritical because all they care about is power.

Posted by: The Real Al on January 2, 2007 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

"Nancy Pelosi is a hypocrite?

I'm shocked, SHOCKED I tell you."

No matter how stupid I think you are, troll, you manage to surprise me with even greater displays of stupidity. Eat shit and die, loser.

Posted by: brewmn on January 2, 2007 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

I notice the three reps are from the South where persecution complexes and hypocrisy abounds. Why am I unsurprised?

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 2, 2007 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

"Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC)"

aka, the poster child for the GOP youth movement--the youngest of the College Republicans who thought that the end of history meant the end of elections. Give him two years and he'll turn Dem.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on January 2, 2007 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Anybody here have nexus-lexus,I was wondering how many times Bipartisan has been said since the election.As to how many mentions before the elections.Seems to be the favorite word of Repubs lately.

Posted by: Thomas3.6 1/2 on January 2, 2007 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

If Republicans were serious, they would aknowledge their errors the past 6 years and pledge not to re-commit them should they regain the majority. A letter which demands Democrats makes concessions while appearing to defend Republican practices the past 6 years is just a silly PR stunt and should be treated as such.

Posted by: Chuck on January 2, 2007 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

Very amusing. That kind of whining apparently did so well for the Democrats that now the Republicans are going to try it? Man, that's lame.

Posted by: Doctor Jay on January 2, 2007 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

Bullies always turn out to be the biggest babies.

Posted by: craigie on January 2, 2007 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

What Pelosi should do is modify the agreement to a "tough but fair" system. For each documented case of procedural abuse by the Republicans since 1994, the Democrats in the majority get one free pass to do the equivalent.

Once the books are balanced, they can then implement the minority bill of rights, which I think is a good idea but just too hard to swallow with the recent history of the Republican abuses.

Posted by: Alan on January 2, 2007 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

I'm afraid on the hypocrisy-o-meter, these three just buried the needle.

Maybe, but Conyers, Mollohan, Murtha, and Jefferson are making Pelosi's promise to drain the swamp of corruption look even more hypocritical than that. Her first 100 hours of speakership are likely to be spent in answering, or ducking, questions pertaining to her plans to deal with those problems.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on January 2, 2007 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

i'm not above gloating now that the boot is on the other neck.

your pal,
blake

Posted by: blake on January 2, 2007 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know about the open amendment process idea . . . but the part where everyone (majority and minority) gets some time to actually read a bill before voting on it seems like a decent change in the interest of good government.

Posted by: B on January 2, 2007 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Do the Repukeliscum have offices? If so, why?

I have always felt that Pelosi was being too nice.

Especially for that little piece of shit McHenry. What a piece of crap that toad is.

Posted by: POed Lib on January 2, 2007 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Once the minority of House and Senate are comfortable in their minority status, they will have no problem socializing with the Democrats. Any farmer will tell you that certain animals run around and are unpleasant, but when they've been fixed, then they are happy and sedate. They are contented and cheerful. They don't go around peeing on the furniture and such.

Posted by: Ranger Jay on January 2, 2007 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Anybody here have nexus-lexus

That's "LexisNexis".

Posted by: an employee on January 2, 2007 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

If Republicans were serious, they would aknowledge their errors the past 6 years and pledge not to re-commit them should they regain the majority. A letter which demands Democrats makes concessions while appearing to defend Republican practices the past 6 years is just a silly PR stunt and should be treated as such.

Yep, that is sure true. The bullies and Lord Fountlerois in the Repukeliscum Party are discovering that "Payback is a bitch."

Whatever Pelosi does is not nearly enough. They need to RAM the corrective factors down the THROATS of the REPUKELISCUM. If they are gaggin', I be happy.

Posted by: POed Lib on January 2, 2007 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

In the interest of bipartisan efficiency, Pelosi should not waste time on this proposal, since the Republicans have already previously rejected it.

Posted by: Nemo on January 2, 2007 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

McHenry(A closet Gay) is afraid the Dems will vote in some Gay rights!

Posted by: R.L. on January 2, 2007 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

It's Steve, y'all - Kevin's not back yet.

There's nothing hypocritical about making the repugs play by the rules they created.

There's nothing hypocritical about making the repugs sleep in the bed they made.

There's nothing hypocritical about making the repugs learn a little political lesson in hopes they grow up enough to behave like rational adults instead of spoiled toddlers.

Posted by: Yellow Dog on January 2, 2007 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

It's official: "Al" is a 'bot. Or else "Al" is so quick to ride to the defense of BushCo that he/she/it can't comprehend that this was a guest post written by "not Kevin".

Classic.

Posted by: I Heart Al on January 2, 2007 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

It is OK if you are a Republican!

And Republicans HAVE ALWAYS cared most about minorities!!

Posted by: Al's Mommy on January 2, 2007 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Crap, now I have to go digging through all the crap in my attic to find that "World's Smallest Violin".

(or maybe I sold it in that garage sale last year. . . )

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on January 2, 2007 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

Alan Nails It.
(and he didn't even kiss it first!)

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on January 2, 2007 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Frequency Kenneth, dear, please go out and get a job. Remember, your unemployment benefits expire in two weeks.

(Jesus Christ, how did I manage to raise such a loser?)

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth's Long-Suffering Mom on January 2, 2007 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

And blake gets sloppy seconds. . .

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on January 2, 2007 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

I'd call Patrick McHenry the poster boy for chutzpah, but I'm sure he is far too goyishe to comprehend the reference.

Posted by: Marlowe on January 2, 2007 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

This hypocritical double standard is characteristic of the authoritarian personality.

Bob Altemeyer found that high scoring right-wing authoritarians are both for and against state-sponsored religious education. When they are in the majority and when it is their religion that will be promoted they are for religious education. But when the same scenario is moved to a country where they are in the minority, they are against it. Non-authoritarians were against state-sponsored religious education in all countries regardless of majority status.

Republicans are not hypocrites if you take into account their point of reference. They are the true moral relativists because moral value depends on the position of the authoritarian in-group. For authoritarians there is no such thing as fairness. There are no universal human rights or values. The problem for non-authoritarians is that they are prone to extend fairness to authoritarians who reject it.

Posted by: bellumregio on January 2, 2007 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Darn it, Steve, could you post a spit-take warning? I almost covered my laptop in soda when I got to that line from their letter. Bwah-ha-ha-ha! What a laughie!

Posted by: biggerbox on January 2, 2007 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

I like Republicans over easy, with two links of sausage, hash browns, and a cup of black coffee.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on January 2, 2007 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

At the risk of sounding like a Christian, does the the phrase "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" have any meaning for the new minority representaives?

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 2, 2007 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

The Democrats will be bi-partisan by not investigating Bush's X-mas card list or Barneys expenses. Dems won't shut the microphones off when Republicans are speaking. Speaker Pelosi certainly won't tell Cheney to go f*** himself. Dems won't deny Repubs the use of Gov. offices, other than in a basement, to hold hearings.

I say, keep the rules Republicans put in place, until they apologize for their partisan ways of the past.

Posted by: AkaDad on January 2, 2007 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

I think Speaker Pelosi should just run under the same rules as Republican'ts. Then when they complain, she should just respond, "What did you do to change these rules when YOU had the power to do so?"

Posted by: Cal Gal on January 2, 2007 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen wrote: "A MISGUIDED VICTIM COMPLEX ..."

The "victim complex" is the essence, the foundation, of modern American so-called "conservatism". It is the Gospel According To Rush Limbaugh, in which all the poor little dittoheads are the victims of "powerful liberal elites." Many so-called "conservatives" are probably secretly happy that the Democrats are back in control of the Congress -- it makes it easier for them to wallow in their sense of poor, pitiful victimhood at the hands of "powerful liberal elites" when the Republicans that they vote for aren't in complete contol of all three branches of the Federal government.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 2, 2007 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

"When Democrats take over the leadership of the House, we will be fair and we will invite the minority party to participate fully in the legislative process."

the invitation has not been mailed yet. if you don't get it by next October, give Pelosi a call. maybe it got lost in the mail.

Posted by: an employee on January 2, 2007 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

Frequency Kenneth, 2004: "I'm a weak-minded, gullible dupe who is incapable of doing anything but slavishly regurgitating scripted right-wing talking points."

Frequency Kenneth, 11/2006: "I'm a weak-minded, gullible dupe who is incapable of doing anything but slavishly regurgitating scripted right-wing talking points."

Frequency Kenneth, 1/2007: "I'm a weak-minded, gullible dupe who is incapable of doing anything but slavishly regurgitating scripted right-wing talking points."


Now that's consistency.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 2, 2007 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

FK You forgot to put a date and remark about about about well every lying thing Bushco said,You know WMD.Last Throwes,We know where they are,We found them,No one could have anticapated.And of course many many things you yoursefl have said.You know just to be fair.

Posted by: Thomas3.6 1/2 on January 2, 2007 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, my heart just BLEEDS for those poor Southern gentlemen. How can we let them be treated so poorly? I'll not be able to sleep tonight, thinking about those pitful congressmen, relegated to servitude and humiliated just because they're a political minority. Tsk tsk.

Posted by: CT on January 2, 2007 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

My solution is for Pelosi to set-up a caste system among Repubicans. Those Republicans who make a video taped public confession of their sins while in the majority with a solemn promise to never do it again should be allowed to operate in the House under the rules that Dems allowed for the minority prior to 94. Those Republicans who refuse, should be subject to the same rules that the Dems had to operate under during the last 12 years.

Posted by: Disputo on January 2, 2007 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

The Southern Gentlemen were part of the "Democratic oppression" of the Republicans until civil rights sent them running into the arms of conservative Yankees. They were enthusiastic about taxing rich Northerners to fund construction projects and miliary bases in their underdeveloped states. In fact, this is the essence of no tax and spend Republicanism. Red State politicians want pork-to-nowhere and money Republicans want to be free aristocrats.

They should really reflect upon the national Republican Party's dominance before the New Deal. This is when the Democratic Party was a regional party of xenophobia, Dixienomics, and that old time religon.

Posted by: bellumregio on January 2, 2007 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Nancy Pelosi, xxx: ...

got a link for those? Google turns up zero matches for the exact text of those first two. after all, you did make it look like those first two were direct quotes. and we'd hate to think you're just lying to us all...

Posted by: cleek on January 2, 2007 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

McHenry is the apotheosis of the College Republicans, a politico who has absolutely no interest in actually governing the country but got into politics simply for the sport of it. He has nothing to contribute to this nation except the mindless bashing of Democrats. His high mark so far was accusing Nancy Pelosi and other Dem leaders of being behind the leaking of the Mark Foley emails; when Wolf Blitzer asked him what evidence he had for this, McHenry shot back, "What evidence do you have that they're not involved?" He clearly thought this was a brilliant answer.

McHenry is at best a poor man's Karl Rove. Thankfully, the American public has realized that the ability to win elections is not highly correlated with the ability to run the country, and that these College GOP types are capable of nothing but their own self-aggrandizement.

Posted by: Boots Day on January 2, 2007 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK
... Conyers, Mollohan, Murtha, and Jefferson are making Pelosi's promise to ... MatthewRMarler at 3:10 PM
As opposed to Rep. Mark Foley, Rep. Robert W. Ney, Rep. Curt Weldon, Rep. Don Sherwood, Rep. Rick Renzi, Rep. Jon Porter, Rep. Richard W. Pombo, Rep. John T. Doolittle, Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds, Rep. Deborah Pryce, Rep. Sue W. Kelly, Rep. Heather A. Wilson, Rep. John E. Sweeney, Rep. Christopher Shays, Rep. Tom DeLay, Rep. Duke Cunningham, Rep Boehner, Rep Gary Miller? Posted by: Mike on January 2, 2007 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

McHenry is at best a poor man's Karl Rove. Thankfully, the American public has realized that the ability to win elections is not highly correlated with the ability to run the country, and that these College GOP types are capable of nothing but their own self-aggrandizement.

He is the most disgusting version of the Repukeliscum Bully Rep left in Congress. He has nothing positive to contribute. He doesn't live in his district. He is doing everything in his power to damage and hurt his constituants.

He is a testament to the brain-dead Republican voter. Why ANYONE would vote for this walking turd amazes me.

Posted by: POed Lib on January 2, 2007 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

Just how brain-dead ARE the trolls here? They are accusing Pelosi of hypocrisy even before she has a chance to respond to the letter! Timing matters when you spew propaganda points.

Offer to implement the "rights" one at a time as long as someone in the Repbublican leadership apologizes on national television for violating said rights when they were in the majority. That's one speech for each item in the letter. After all, if they really believe in these rights, they should be gentlemen enough to promise to admit they were "overzealous" when they denied them to the Democrats.

Posted by: berken on January 2, 2007 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

Dear Colleagues,
Thank you for your letter. In the years ensuing since I she suggested those reforms remarkably similar to those you have forwarded, I have become convinced by Mr. Hastert's fine example that they would compromise the unitary powers of the Speaker.

In short: fuck off, vermin!

Nancy

Posted by: BroD on January 2, 2007 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

The nice thing about commenting on blogs is that you can screw something up royally (as I did above) and hardly anyone will notice much less remind you of it at inopportune times (like ever.)

Posted by: BroD on January 2, 2007 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

It continually amazes me how the Republican Machine can actually think that they deserve any respect from their opponents...whom they didn't respect at all when in power but then, when humbled by the electorate, are prepared to whine "Foul!" when the same proposals that self-same Republican Machine rejected in the majority doesn't seem to still be floating as a proposal when they are now in the minority.

Posted by: parrot on January 2, 2007 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

I have watched the GOP change the rules of Congress, especially in the House, since they took power in 1994 into what currently prevails today. By this letter these three gentlemen are explicitly saying that the rules their own party put in place (and I suspect their own records would show their own prior support for) while in the majority are unfair and unreasonable to expect the minority party to have to deal with. Now personally I believe those rules currently existing to be grossly unfair, unreasonable, and intended to geld the opposition party from any ability whatsoever to impact the political process of governing. Yet I do not hear the GOP being at all willing to come clean that this was their intent and why they did this and that unless the Dems change the rules back to along the lines of what had been the case the last time the Dems were the House majority the GOP will be powerless themselves.

So I would suggest this: That until the GOP acknowledge that this bed is what they themselves constructed for the Dems when they were in power that they have to live with these rules staying in place for the first year of this term of Congress before any substantive changes are done. If however the House GOP leadership is willing to go on the public record in a very public manner acknowledging their own handiwork's true intent and impact then introduce such significant changes as have already been worked up (after all it would be sensible to prepare the revisions ahead of time so as to look prepared and competent to govern) as soon as legislatively possible thereafter. Until then though I really think the GOP deserves some taste of what the last decade and a bit has been like for the House Dems whose powerlessness they used to publicly mock only in some/many cases a matter of months back now, and that it is not hypocritical of the Dems to do so as long as they keep it restricted to no more than half this 2yr term, that way to also have enough time to show the difference under the new Dems rules after showing how the old GOP ones worked for the first year.

That is what I would see as a fair and reasonable compromise between the need for real reform of these rules while at the same time not letting the GOP off the hook for writing them in the first place. They chose to deliberately pervert the will of the American Founding Fathers in the manner in which they gelded the minority party in the House in a manner worse than any prior in American history. They deserve to both get a taste of how it feels as well as being forced to acknowledge in a public permanent record manner their own actions in creating this abuse in the first place.

Posted by: Scotian on January 2, 2007 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

Scotian: That until the GOP acknowledge that this bed is what they themselves constructed for the Dems when they were in power that they have to live with these rules staying in place for the first year of this term of Congress before any substantive changes are done.

I expect that's about what will happen. Then maybe next year a purely cosmetic change.

Mike: As opposed to Rep. Mark Foley, ... .

Of course not. In addition to Rep. Mark Foley, ... .

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on January 3, 2007 at 12:55 AM | PERMALINK

They chose to deliberately pervert the will of the American Founding Fathers in the manner in which they gelded the minority party in the House in a manner worse than any prior in American history. They deserve to both get a taste of how it feels as well as being forced to acknowledge in a public permanent record manner their own actions in creating this abuse in the first place.
Posted by: Scotian

That sums it up for me very nicely.

"If the Founding Fathers could do it all over again, might they look at the House of Representatives today and wonder, 'What were we thinking?' " - Bruce Reed

Posted by: MsNThrope on January 3, 2007 at 8:04 AM | PERMALINK

If the Founding Fathers could do it all over again, might they look at the House of Representatives today and wonder, 'What were we thinking?' " - Bruce Reed

Imagine what Abe Lincoln would say after a look at the GOP.

Posted by: just sayin on January 3, 2007 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

Heh, a month or two ago one of the wingnuts was arguing that the lancet study couldn't possibly be right because there would be lots of refugees if it was.

Now they are arguing that there aren't lots of refugees.

Posted by: jefff on January 3, 2007 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

doh, wrong thread. how'd that happen?

Posted by: jefff on January 3, 2007 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK


MatthewRMarler: Then maybe next year a purely cosmetic change.


which would still put the dems one up on the gop..

again...

gop = victims?

i forget who said..

actions speak louder than words...

Posted by: mr. irony on January 4, 2007 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

The Democrats will look better if they keep their word and run the Congress the way they say it should have been run, when they were the minority party.

Posted by: Neil Bates on January 4, 2007 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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