The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The GOP: still in the majority, still oppressed. Oh, and still scuzzy.

One of the most frustrating things about the last six years have been the total sleaziness of the Republican Congress in abusing the rules of order to silence criticism, squash dissent, and ram through unpopular legislation. Not just the fact that it was standard procedure, but that the media said next to nothing about it.

Now, even though the razor-thin Democratic majority hasn't even been sworn in, the GOP is screaming bloody murder and the press is dutifully passing it on. In one of those ironies that we've all gotten frighteningly used to under their rule, it's a Democratic proposal that Republican leadership shot down two years ago.

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). (. . .)

"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).

They don't mention their party's own strongarm tactics -- which is striking, given that since 2002 Cantor himself was a member of the House GOP leadership, which was known for ruthlessly engineering legislative victories. "[R]eveling in the power they have, [Republicans] are using techniques to jam bills through even when they don't have to . . . simply because they can," is how congressional expert Norman Ornstein characterized the GOP's screw-the-minority tactics from 1994 to the present, according to a 2004 Washington Post article.

Republicans "have taken every one of the techniques that Democrats employed when they were in the majority, and ratcheted them up to another level," said the American Enterprise Institute scholar.