Not ready to make nice

4 05 2017

So this is floating around Twitter as an example of Dem perfidy:

Interpretation? Pelosi could have stopped it, but instead she chose to let Trumpcare sail on through just so she’d be able to increase the chances for a Dem takeover of the House in 2018.

That House Dems, following the vote, taunted their Republican colleagues (in the same way GOPpers taunted them in 1993, after they voted in favor of tax increases) with a round of na-na hey-hey goodbye seems to confirm this view: they’re singing over people losing health care because they think it’ll benefit them!

Such horseshit.

One, there’s nothing Pelosi or the House Democrats could have done to have prevented the vote. Unlike those of the Senate, the procedural rules of the House give the minority no power to stop the majority. It might have been possible to delay matters for a bit (which Pelosi, thinking this would give the Republican leadership a better chance to round up those last few votes, declined to pursue), but if the leadership wanted the vote, they were going to get it.

So: stop bitching about Pelosi’s unwillingness to stop a vote she was in fact unable to prevent.

Two, talk of punishing Republicans for this vote is exactly what Pelosi and other House Dems should be doing.

Corey Robin, for his part, seems to think the idea of looking to punish Republicans for bad policy  is the exact same thing as encouraging bad policy, that seeking an advantage after a shitstorm is the same thing as whipping up that shitstorm.


In fact, the Dems should be absolutely fucking ruthless about all of this. I and many others—including Robin—bitch about their tendency to collapse in a heap whenever they’re accused of not being nice; well, Pelosi don’t care about nice.

She stood on the floor of the House and warned Republicans against this vote, telling them “you have every provision of this bill tattooed on your forehead. You will glow in the dark on this one. So don’t walk the plank unnecessarily.”

And when that failed, she came back and reiterated

Well, let me just say that they have this vote tattooed on them.  This is a scar they will carry.  It’s their vote.  It’s not the Senate vote.  It’s their vote they are taking.

So that is really a poor choice, cowardly choice, I might add.  Why would they vote for it if they don’t think it’s worthy of support, but because the Senate will change it?  From what I hear the Republican Senators saying, they don’t have any interest in passing this bill as is.

And by the way, whatever happens down the road, the Members of the House Republican Caucus will be forever identified with the worst aspects of the bill they passed.

She didn’t encourage a vote in favor in order to heighten the contradictions, she didn’t say “vote for this terrible bill to help Democrats”; she said “Don’t do this, because if you do we will make you pay.”

And yes, make them pay with their House seats. Elect Democrats in place of Republicans.

How is this anything other than common sense?

But no, the puritans among us would have us believe that looking to unseat Republicans is evidence of a sell-out, and Pelosi’s unwillingness to commit seppuku, bad faith.

The only knives we on the left are allowed, apparently, are those we are willing to wield against each other.


12 05 2011
From the New York Times Caucus blog:

May 11, 2011, 1:16 pm

Republicans Decry Tactics the Party Used in 2009


Yes, it’s true, Republican House freshmen say, our party did help storm town-hall-style meetings to protest changes in the Medicare plan during the debate over the health care overhaul. But they would appreciate it if Democrats did not take that page from their playbook.

On Wednesday, 11 newly elected representatives held a news conference outside the Capitol to promote a letter sent to President Obama and signed by 42 freshmen Republicans asking him “join us to stop the political rhetoric” surrounding their Medicare proposal. In asking the president to work with them to untangle the issues facing massive entitlement programs, the letter further implores Mr. Obama to “condemn the disingenuous attacks and work with this Congress to reform” the programs.

Repeatedly, the members called for a “fact-based conversation” and criticized Democrats for filling town-hall-style meetings with political operatives and citizens who complained – often loudly – about the Republican proposal on Medicare at constituent meetings over the Easter recess. The Republican proposal would convert Medicare into a program that subsidizes future retirees in private insurance plans.

The freshmen conceded that Republicans used similar organized tactics during the health care debate over the summer of 2009, when Tea Party organizers and Republican groups spoke out against the overhaul.

“I’m not going to defend anything in the past,” said Representative Adam Kinzinger, a freshman from Illinois, who led the news conference calling on Democrats to stop their public critique of the plan. “Let’s get past the past.”

Representative Nan Hayworth of New York, a former doctor, said it was time to “have a civilized conversation” and her class was “standing ready to work with the president.”

. . . .

Here’s the letter (via Talking Points Memo).

My favorite bits?

We have all been guilty, at one time or another, of playing politics with key issues facing our country.

As the freshman class, we have the opportunity to wipe the slate clean and fulfill the mandate set by the people to strengthen our country for future generations—not continue the petty politics we have seen in the past, which only creates an environment of stalemate. [. . .]

We ask that you stand above partisanship, condemn the disingenuous attacks and work with this Congress to reform spending on entitlement programs. [. . . ]

As new members of Congress, we are committed to having a fact-based conversation immediately. [. . .]


Oh, now they want a “fact-based conversation”. . . .