As Andrew Rosenthal writes in the Times: "Whatever you think about the House Republicans, you have to admit they stay focused. Yesterday, while the rest of the country was distracted by the Supreme Court decision on the most important piece of social legislation in generations, the House Republicans were concentrating on the big picture – the personal and political destruction of President Obama." (See more here.) Unfortunately, the response from the Democrats was typically muddled -- some were inspired, others less so, and then there were the 17 craven Blue Dogs who crossed over to the other side. -- Lovechilde
Jerk Democrats And Face-Palm Democrats Undermine Principled Democrats In Contempt Resolution Vote
By Meteor Blades, cross-posted from Daily Kos
There were three sets of Democrats in Thursday's contempt vote against Attorney General Eric Holder in the House of Representatives.
First—huzzah!—there were the 100+ inspired by the Congressional Black
Caucus to walk out of the chambers rather than give the resolution any
respect whatsoever. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Whip Steny Hoyer
were among those who left rather than cast their votes. It's a rare,
rare day that such a move is justified. But today was one of those.
Because, what the Republicans did was unprecedented, unconscionable,
unpardonable and unhinged. The Democrats filing out the doors were
precisely the rebuke deserved by the representatives who plunked that
outrageous resolution into the hopper.
Then there were the 65 Democrats who voted against the resolution.
That, of course, under normal circumstances, would have been the
appropriate choice. Shoot down the resolution or, at least, stand
unified against whatever nonsense or worse that the GOP had cooked up to
impose on us.
But it was clear when the Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved
the contempt resolution last week which direction the wind would blow.
No way would this not pass. And no way would its passage get any
traction when sent to the federal prosecutor. Such matters expire with
the end of the Congress that okays them and this one is going to be on a
slow six-month track to nowhere. Which the Republicans knew full well
from the get-go.
In other words, it was all theater. Even more than usual. The
walkout, though a principled move, was counter-theater. Treating the
vote seriously, respectfully, by participating, even with a "nay," was
useless and stupid. Especially given that the House leadership not only
gave Democrats the stamp of approval for joining the walkout, they
themselves boycotted the vote. Think of the imagery, the headlines, if
those Democrats who stayed at their desks to push the "nay" button had
added their numbers to the power of solidarity. Since their votes could
not change the outcome anyway, what was their rationale for sticking it
out? What statement were they making? Was it simple laziness? Did they
decide to show solidarity with the two Republicans who broke from the
jackal pack to oppose the resolution? Whatever the case, they went
Finally, there were the 17 Democratic "aye" votes. What a fine crew
that is. Our plague. Yes, yes, they are mostly in reddish districts and
more liberal candidates could never get elected there, so we have to put
up with them because better they than a Republican, yadda, yadda,
Even if one agrees that Blue Dogs and their ilk are the price of a
Big Tent party, what good are they when they can't be counted upon to
have the backs of fellow Democrats under a rancid assault whose only
foundation is raw partisanship?
What good are they if they won't stand up against even the most
extreme efforts of the National Rifle Association? That organization's
grip on gun policy in Arizona and elsewhere lubricates the trafficking
of tens of thousands of firearms into Mexico and makes the job of
interdicting this lethal flow next to impossible. An organization whose
string-pulling and budget-obstructing has frustrated the Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives so much that it led to
experiments like "Fast and Furious" in the first place.
These 17 Democrats didn't just suck up to the NRA. They didn't just
turn their backs on colleagues. They provided the GOP the okay to say
that even-some-Democrats agree Eric Holder is involved in a
cover-up of a program that led to the death of a brave U.S. Border
Patrol agent. By unspoken implication, of course, Obama is also
involved. Providing Republicans with that kind of campaign ammo
goes waaaay beyond any apologies that can be made for trying to make
oneself a viable incumbent Democrat in a reddish district. Being that
kind of turncoat screws other Democrats by helping to mobilize the
nut-jobs to turn out in greater numbers at the polls.
Despicable, pathetic, myopic.
Every Democratic Rep. who voted for the contempt resolution should be
a target for replacement in the coming years until they've all been
retired. If they cannot be counted on to stand with fellow Democrats on a
matter of principle so fundamental, how exactly is it that they fit in
the Big Tent?
The roster of 17 (asterisk indicates a Blue Dog):
Jason Altmire (PA-04, lost primary in PA-12) *
John Barrow (GA-12) *
Dan Boren (OK-02, retiring) *
Leonard Boswell (IA-03) *
Ben Chandler (KY-06) *
Mark Critz (PA-12)
Joe Donnelly (IN-02, running for IN-Sen) *
Kathy Hochul (NY-26)
Ron Kind (WI-03)
Larry Kissell (NC-08) *
Jim Matheson (UT-02, running in UT-04) *
Mike McIntyre (NC-07) *
Bill Owens (NY-23, running in NY-21)
Collin Peterson (MN-07) *
Nick Rahall (WV-03)
Mike Ross (AR-04, retiring) *
Tim Walz (MN-01)