Wednesday, January 03, 2007

House Dems Moving Goalposts

While I will 'defend' House Democrats on managing Congressional rules, this is too funny to ignore.

The incoming Democratic leadership promised a fast start to the new Congress, with an ambitious '100 Hour' agenda. They then restated that they didn't actually mean the first, you know - 100 hours, or anything. They meant the first 100 legislative hours - a period that could stretch over a number of weeks, actually.

Now, they further clarify that they don't really mean the first 100 legislative hours - they mean the first 100 legislative hours not counting the new House rules package:

Time spent debating changes to the rules package will not count against Pelosi’s 100-hour legislative blitzkrieg, set to begin the week of Jan. 8 and last approximately 10 legislative days, ending when President Bush delivers his State of the Union address on Jan. 23.

You would think that they might actually want to include that package into their accounting, since that's when they're going to:

...ban all travel paid for by lobbyists or organizations that employ lobbyists, require the ethics committee to pre-approve travel paid for by outside groups, enact a total gift ban, and require lawmakers to pay the market cost of flying on a corporate jet, said Democratic staffers and officials with government watchdog groups.

And, because they feel they lost the 2003 Medicare prescription drug benefit vote because GOP leaders held it open for three hours, during which they flipped opponents into the “yes” column, Democrats will include a provision in the rules to prevent any sort of repetition, said aides to incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Democrats also will eliminate the practices of changing conference reports after members have signed them and excluding elected members from conference committees.

Seems like ambitious stuff not to include in the accounting, doesn't it? And isn't it a little ironic that the Democrats do not intend to count this stuff toward the first 100 hours - but include in it a measure to prevent leadership from stopping the House clock in order to hold votes open? This is different how, exactly?

Do you suppose I could promise fidelity in my marriage, but 'not count' the hours between 9:00pm and 3:00am? Or maybe I should go for the gusto, and promise the IRS that I will report all earned income, except that which I judge doesn't really belong...

Yes, the Democrats certainly changing the way Washington does business.

It reminds me of a song...



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9 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Who were awesome!

Nathan Hall said...

I'm no Pelosi fan, but this is a ridiculous post. Why would anyone care whether something happens in the first hundred hours or the first two hundred? Even if this is mendacious behavior somehow, why is it important?

There's a huge difference between stopping the clock to preserve your propaganda, and stopping it so you can strong arm passage of a bad law against the better judgment of our representatives. One is harmlessly silly, the other is destructive and disrespectful to the voters.

Sure, the "first hundred hours" aren't really. It's a slogan. Politicians bend the truth with their slogans all the time. That's not a good thing, but it isn't comparable to marital infidelity, either.

Ross said...

This probably gives the Kos Kids and Mother Sheehan's Pitchfork Mob more time to stew and foam. Not a good thing for the Dems.

Anonymous said...

Nathan, cause it is just more of the "do as I say and not as I do" behavior that we have all come to dis-respect about congress.

The Editor at IP said...

Thanks for the comments.

I agree that this is somewhat silly. The whole '100 hours' thing became silly the moment the leadership said it could stretch over several weeks.

But changing the clock is the most trivial example of how they're going back on their campaign promises. As I have covered elsewhere on this blog, they have said that they will waive the pay-go rules they promise, in order to allow tax cuts. They'll not implement the 9/11 recommendations as they promised. They're looking the other way on ethics violations. And they're shutting out Republicans from the legislative process they promised to open up. All these are in direct contradiction to the agenda they ran on.

So this isn't a big deal? I'm sure there are many who agree. It's just one more example of how they have sacrificed their means to accomplish their ends.

And isn't that at the heart of what people hated about the GOP Congress?

Oh - and to 'anonymous - The Who are still my favorite band.

The Editor

Anonymous said...

Just wait for what's next: the inevitable rollback of Nancy's biggest promise, the promise not to pursue impeachment of Bush. I give it another week or two, or the end of the 100 hours (whenever that might be)

Colin said...

You must be awfully eager to criticize the Democrats if this is the best you can do. Of course the "first 100 hours" is a slogan. They keep saying it because slogans are important. The Bush admin propagandizes exclusively through slogans.

They're also known as "sound bites" and generally are not meant to be taken literally.

"And they're shutting out Republicans from the legislative process they promised to open up. All these are in direct contradiction to the agenda they ran on."

Opening up the legislative process is not the same as "let's just forgive and forget the last 12 years of asshole GOP behavior." I wouldn't have voted for the Democrats if they campaigned on that promise -- and I was paying attention.

They'd be fools to just pretend that the GOP didn't spend the last 6 years telling them (in some cases literally) to "fuck themselves."

The GOP absolutely does not believe in bipartisanship (at least not until this past week), so why on earth should the Dems?

Philo-Junius said...

Will Mr. Colin, or some other Democrat, be so good as to interpret for us then, so that we can tell which of Rep. Pelosi's speeches which are subsequently mapped out by the House Majority Leader's website as representing the upcoming legislative schedule are rhetorical, and which she actually means?

It's going to be hell getting to votes, only to find out that the scheduled vote was purely rhetorical.

PWT said...

And Karl Rove will be indicted in just 24 business hours.