House GOP: Don't Hurt Us -- Please

Cross-posted at the Brock Log.

TPM Muckraker's Justin Rood has an interesting post on the GOP's victimization.

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.

Of particular interesting to North Carolinians is that one of the Republican Congressman hoping for a measure of Speaker-Designate Pelosi's civil nature is Congressman Patrick McHenry.

Rood points out that these requests from the Minority originally surfaced in 2004 in a letter written by Congresswoman (and then-Minority Leader) Pelosi and the cold-shoulder that then-Speaker Dennis Hastert gave as a reply.

An ironic case in point: When Pelosi made her proposal to protect Democrats in 2004, GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert (IL) refused to entertain the idea, let alone reply to her correspondence.

It's disappointing that the Minority wants to demand rights that they refused the Democratic Minority. It's clear that Republicans can't play the game by the rules they established and are frightened of the political environment they created.

I have to agree with Michael Stickings at The Reaction.

They like to think they're the party of responsibility, the party that believes in pulling oneself up by one's bootstraps, the party that opposes government handouts, the party that rewards initiative and entrepreneurship, but Republicans play the role of the persecuted victim awfully well, so well in fact that victimhood seems to be their default mode.

Indeed, they do play the victim well.

I think that Speaker-Designate Pelosi should entertain the letter and that she should live up to her promises of a more civil House. I can only hope that such a movement would not be viewed as weakness and instead as honor.


Good Post!

I tend to agree with you on this Tom. If it was an appropriate and fair recommendation when Speaker Pelosi originally made it, then why wouldn't it be fair and appropriate today.

It makes it particularly hard to swallow however, that our resident pit bull is making political mileage out of the issue.

What seems to be missing here is any indication that Speaker Pelosi didn't intend to follow through with her original 2004 recommendation. She's made a point of saying that the house would be more civil, fair and inclusive. There's no reason to believe that the new house procedures she will put in place would not be even more generous than what the Republican's are now whining about.

I'm 56 years old. I moved to North Carolina five years ago. The previous twenty-five years I spent as a resident of Chicago's north shore and before that Wisconsin, Utah and California. I live in Moore County. My Congressman is Howard Coble, my State Sen

In a CNN poll today

They said that In 1994 when the Republicans took over the house, 50% of Americans thought it was good for the country and 26% thought it was bad. In 2006, 61% of Americans think it's good Dems have taken over and 32% think it's bad. They note that both elections negative judgement was about the prez. During the '94 elections, Clinton had a 46% approval rating, GWB had a 35% approval rating during the '06 elections. Men in "94 were at 57%, not much of a change today at 55%. Women in '94 only had a 45% approval rating of the Republican take-over. In 2006 they are at 64%!

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Cry me a freakin' river

Excuse me for not feeling the least bit sorry if the rethugs get treated better than the dems did as the minority party.

These hypocrits had 12 years to do something to improve the state of our nation but instead spent their time lining their own pockets, padding the bank accounts of their rich cronies and sending our young men and women off to a war of aggression while giving themselves a $30000 pay increase for their 2-day work week and leaving the working poor to struggle at $5.15 an hour with no health care.

And let's not forget the 1000+ subpeonas issued during the final two years of the Clinton Administration and then turning into a rubber-stamp for every Neocon wet dream served up by Shrubya. Of course, all this while sending the minority dems to hold meetings in the basement, holding 15 minute voting periods open for 3 hours (cough) CAFTA (cough), leaving good Bills to lanquish in committee if the sponsor's name was followed by a (D), and otherwise abusing every imagined privilege of their majority while holding W's presidential dick while he pissed all over our Constitutional rights.

So, like I said, if Nancy and Steny want to use some of the rules written by these thugs to get a few much-needed pieces of legislation passed that will actually BENEFIT REGULAR AMERICANS during their first 100 hours, I'm all for it.

Patrick McHenry and the rest of the Party of Greed can go sit down and STFU while the grown-ups drive the bus for awhile.

Larry Kissell is MY Congressman

Agreed....Yeah we'll get to

Agreed....Yeah we'll get to it....LATER, as in take a number dude and sit down until called upon.

I wouldn't have heart-burn, except that...

one of the tenants that won the Democrats the Congress was the promise of a civil House and a fundamental shift in the legislative process.

A promise made should be a promise kept. It's important that the Democrats not forget that.

Thomas S. Brock


What have YOU done today to make the world a better place?

I didn't vote for civility

I voted for things like a higher minimum wage and affordable health care, oversight and subpeona power.

Take care of these things...and then we can worry about the Congressional golden rule.

Larry Kissell is MY Congressman

I don't know anyone who voted for "civility"

this is just another Republican framing to make it seem like they didn't lose because of corruption, Iraq, and the fact that Republican policies don't work. Well, they do work, but their point is to impoverish the working class and create an aristocracy.

Are people sick of the partisan politics, sure, but that is because the Republicans used partisanship to screw up Iraq, keep the minimum wage stagnant, do nothing about health care, make K street their own personal cocktail bar, etc. Democratic partisanship needs to fix the minimum wage, fix credit in this country, clean up government corruption, fix our voting problems, etc.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

I honestly don't remember civility being on the platform

I remember a casual mention of it, but it didn't matter to me, so I guess I didn't pay attention to it. I just don't remember it as being a major part of the platform.

Now, I think it's easy to be civil.

Pelosi: Sir, I have a gift for you. Isn't it nice all wrapped up with a shiney bow and everything?

Republican: Oh, lookee! It's a subpoena. I've always wanted one of those. Why thank you Madame Speaker!

Pelosi: You are very, very welcome. Please, stop by the office for some tea and biscuits.

If the Democrats don't investigate ethics violations or suspected illegal activity, then they are not doing the job they were sent to do and are legally bound to do. Hence, they would be no better than Republicans. They might have pledged civility, but it damn well better not get in the way of them doing their real job.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

And I'm not claiming to...

I'm saying that the promise was made to return civility to the House.

If the letter Speaker-Designate wrote in 2004 was good enough for the Democrats then, the same requests should be granted to the Republicans now.

Otherwise, the Democrats will become just as bad as the Republicans.

Thomas S. Brock


What have YOU done today to make the world a better place?

Kind of like the

promise to restore honesty and integrity to the White House, right?

Look...lots of promises have been made. I just don't expect them all to be fulfilled simultaneously.

Let's put first things first. And Patrick "the next Tom Delay" McHenry's letter is not first. The woman working two jobs at $5.15/hr to support her three kids comes first.

Larry Kissell is MY Congressman

I see no reason why we can't have both

civility AND a higher minimum wage and affordable health care, oversight and subpeona power. It's not like they're mutually exclusive.

None of us should be ready to jump on Democrats before the session has acutally started. Give them a chance.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

I agree with you,

My concern is the "slippery slope" of concessions...The same failure that besieged the Republicans after 1994 can fall upon the Democrats if they begin to forget their campaign promises.

We can't trust them to remember, we must ensure that they're reminded, daily if necessary, that they made promises and we gave them our trust. They can live up to that trust or not, but there will be consequences if they don't.

Thomas S. Brock


What have YOU done today to make the world a better place?

I'm not so sure

With the rabid group of Republicans we still have in office, there is no way of knowing if we can achieve goals like a higher minimum wage without foregoing magnanimus gestures like the "minority bill of rights".

Let's get a few things accomplished, see if the new minority is playing along, and then turn our attention to the long-ignored Pelosi Bill.

I'm not advocating 2 years of bitter partisanship. I'm saying we are probably better off accomplishing the First 100 Hours agenda before worrying about holding hands across the aisle.

And I think Americans who voted for change in this election will feel relief promised by this agenda that will outweigh any worries over partisanship.

Larry Kissell is MY Congressman

big difference

between enacting term limits and giving the minority party a bigger say in what happens.

i would love to see us just take a little longer to get to civility. take 6 months, pass as many things we want passed as possible, then give them a say. but dont let them stand in the way of good ideas.

"Keep the Faith"

I found it!!!

She promised "the most honest, most open and most ethical Congress in history." She didn't say a durned thing about civility folks.

Pull up the doilies and bring out the big guns. We've got a house to clean.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.


Jesus swept!

I found it too...

Oddly enough in an article titled Broder: Pelosi Returning Civility to House as New Speaker.

After a decade of bitter partisanship that has all but crippled efforts to deal with major national problems, Pelosi is determined to try to return the House to what it was in an earlier era – “where you debated ideas and listened to each other's arguments.”

Thomas S. Brock


What have YOU done today to make the world a better place?

That isn't promising civility

That's simply saying they won't run the House the way Republicans did. Now that Dems plan to double the work week they can afford to allow a bit of debate.

Personally, I would enjoy seeing a little bit of payback.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

OK, Thomas

for the first 100 hours they can be civil.

Then they need to start blasting some crooked Republicans out of the friggin water.

Being civil means being courteous and polite - something Republicans fail to grasp. Pelosi can politely hand out 1000 subpoenas and then listen courteously as the Party of Greed tries to explain their way out of the hell of their own making.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I've never suggested...

that the investigations and subpoenas shouldn't be executed.

I'm saying that the concessions Speaker-Designate Pelosi asked of Speaker Hastert for the last two years should be made to the Republican Minority.

I'm saying that the Democrats should be better than the Republicans.

Otherwise, it's the same show with different actors.

Thomas S. Brock


What have YOU done today to make the world a better place?

I still disagree

There's a difference in being polite and civil and caving. She's pledged civility as you pointed out in the first 100 hour plan.

Republicans dismissed her request without looking at it. It was meanlingless to them then and I find it hilarious they think they can resurrect it for their own purpose. She should not accept their terms. Pelosi can deliver on her promise without accepting their terms.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

That's caving

especially since the Republicans are turning it around and using the same document. They are trying to use her old letter to make a political point and she absolutely should not cave. It would be entirely different if the Republicans weren't using this to make political hay, but they are.

She promised civility. Leave it at that. Trying to hold her to her old document is just what the Republicans want and just what she should not do. She can accomplish her promise without it.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

That's not what it would mean at all

and you really should know it.

You are requiring something of her she never promised. Why would you do that? She offers civility and it's more than the Republicans ever offered. She allows debate and that's more than the Republicans ever offered. Why, does she have to do more than she promised? Because she's a woman?

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.


Her gender has nothing to do with it, Betsy, and I'm more than a little disappointed that you would bring it up.

Regardless of the Republican's avoidance of her letter, she should consider and approve their request.

She should do it because it's the exact same thing she asked for two years ago. She should do it because it's not what the Republicans did and she should do it to prove that the political climate in Washington will change.

But, ultimately, she should do it because she, and by extension the Democratic Party and we, are better than them.

Thomas S. Brock


What have YOU done today to make the world a better place?

We're better than them because

of our AGENDA not because of our manners.

Pelosi has already offered far more to the Republican minority then they ever offered to the Democrats.

The political climate in Washington has already changed because the American people have voted those thugs out of control. We don't need a sit in and a round of kumbaya to prove it.

And yes, Thomas, you are preaching a double one asked or expected Denny Hastert to play nice. No one is preaching about Harry Reid being polite or civil. Miss Nancy didn't get where she is by acting the sweet gramma. She became Minority Leader and now Speaker by holding the Democrats in the tightest caucus we've seen in decades.

Larry Kissell is MY Congressman

Are you holding Harry Reid to these same standards?

We're already bringing more civility, honor and integrity to the table. Why do more? You want to go back to a two-year-old document that was written before much of the House scandal was known about?

We'll just have to agree to disagree.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Looks like you owe us a diary, Thomas

Cause both Harry Reid and Steny Hoyer have given the weekly Democratic radio address saying the exact thing. And you don't seem to be jumping all over their skirts about promises to

First, we will - and we must - change the way things are done in Washington. We will restore civility and integrity to our legislative process, and transparency and accountability to our government. We will reach across the aisle and seek bipartisan consensus whenever possible. And, we will pass legislation that ensures ethics and lobbying reform.

Then again, when Harry Reid's statement

Democrats pray the President will work with us, because we're ready to work with him. We want to put politics aside, and put bipartisanship, open government, and results in its place.

was answered by Bush with

The majority party in Congress gets to pass the bills it wants. The minority party, especially where the margins are close, has a strong say in the form bills take. And the Constitution leaves it to the president to use his judgment whether they should be signed into law.

you didn't even blink. In fact, I don't think you even acknowledged it when I brought it up down thread. Instead you wagged your finger at Miss Nancy and reminded her to be a nice girl and let the boys have their way.

So, remind me again why you think Pelosi should curtsey and blush when Bush waves his manhood at her?

Larry Kissell is MY Congressman

To be fair,

I'm behind in my Democratic Address listening. That's my fault.

I think Senator Reid should extend the same Minority Rights to the Senate Republicans as Speaker-Designate Peloso should extend to the House Republicans.

I'm wagging my finger at no one for any reason.

I offered my opinion that Ms. Pelosi should extend the rights she was denied as Minority Leader.

I ask that you find this criticism (finger wagging) in anything I've written directed towards Ms. Pelosi or House Democrats and point it out to me, so that I may clear up any misunderstanding.

Thomas S. Brock


What have YOU done today to make the world a better place?

Thomas, I dug up an article

at the WaPo. If you read it carefully, you will probably come to the same conclusion that I did. Her pledge of bringing civility back to House rules is exactly what she intended in her minority bill of rights. She even pledged at the time to offer these same rights if the Dems gained the majority. Read the article about the Republican abuses. Look at what she asked for - simply a seat at the table. I believe her civility pledge is that seat for the Republicans. She shouldn't have to sign it in blood.

Why don't you just give the woman a chance to lead before you start the criticism?

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Read my post,

And you won't find criticism. Not even a teensy eensy bit (at least not directed towards Democrats or Speaker-Designate Pelosi).

You'll see that I only offered my opinion that Ms. Pelosi should grant the Republicans the same rights she requested as Minority Leader. You'll also read, in my comments, that I've continued to direct no criticism towards Ms. Pelosi or the Democrats, but only continued to explain why I think Ms. Pelosi should grant the rights she requested as Minority Leader.

Thomas S. Brock


What have YOU done today to make the world a better place?

Implied Criticism

She should do this because if she doesn't she's _________________________

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Thomas, you're absolutely right

  1. The legislation passed and oversight opportunities missed by the Republican congress have hurt our nation, without a doubt.
  2. But their roughshod ride over the voice of the minority has been a harm to our democracy all its own.

We should stop causing both kinds of harm. Where we can, we should actually try to make things better. We should be focused on number one, where we will be relentless and ruthless. Number two isn't about democrats and republicans, but about the health of our democracy.

With regards to number two, we get a free pass on making things better as long as we stop the harm. That is, as long as we respect the procedures that safeguard the minority's access and right of participation, then the party's responsibility is done and the voters can take over and call the shots.

I think just the opposite.

I think we enact the first 100 hours with no debate, because it has already all been debated, and with no amendments.

Then, when we start investigations, I say we be civil. Let them ask their questions, let them call their witnesses, let it be an open and honest (and civil) investigation.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

Read this and tell me

how Pelosi should run the House:

That gives us a clear challenge and an opportunity. If the Congress chooses to pass bills that are simply political statements, they will have chosen stalemate.

Shrubya apparently took the time to send a little letter to the incoming Majority via the Wall Street Journal.

I'll save you the time of reading says "Do things my way or get blamed for everything."

Now, what were we saying about that minority bill of rights, again?

Larry Kissell is MY Congressman

I love your optimism, Thomas.

And your naivete is actually quite refreshing.

Republicans used Pelosi's proposed Minority Bill of Rights as toilet paper and then threw it in her face. Now that the election is over they think a tearfully written letter from Patty McHenry and a school-yard challenge from W. will work on her like the big purple diamond did for Kobe Bryant's wife.

The Republicans are hypocrites and have proven themselves completely unworthy of our trust. So, no...they shouldn't automatically get the same benefits they denied the Democrats.

Pelosi can be nice and polite and civil when she tears it up and sends it back. And then she can put on her ass-kickin' shoes and get to work cleaning up the mess those thugs made of our country.

Larry Kissell is MY Congressman

Not naivete

If they gag the minority in this session, they may be good Democrats, but they will be lousy liberals.

Republicans have already said...

that they will tag every bill with amendments to make them unreasonable.

How can you work with people like that? I think we allow as much debate as they want, after the first 100 hours, but that bills be left alone or else every good bill will be amended with ANWAR and flag burning and whatever else they can hack up.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

Robert, you know I love you

But I'm having a hard time reading this comment as anything but "when the game gets ugly, then it's ok to cheat."

It's not ok, even if the other side has been cheating, because there are more than two sides here. When we cheat in this way, we don't just harm the Republicans. We harm the democracy that is supposed to sustain us and future generations. Somebody has to be the backbone.

Regarding the 100 hours shutdown, the prospect of Republicans fucking everything up is terrible. But the method being used to prevent it is intolerable.

How far do you go?

How many extra hours do you allow? Do you allow just one Republican to keep the debate going forever, like the original Senate? Do you allow one Republican to tag as many amendments on to a bill as he/she wants?

If Marily Musgrave wants to tag an abortion ban on every single bill, are you okay with that?

There have to be limits. The question is what are reasonable limits. I think that any attempt to "kill" legislation by tagging on unreasonable amendments, is, well, unreasonable. Now, if there is a bill for the minimum wage and a Republican wants to add a provision that kids under the age of 18 can still be paid $5/hr, that is related. I think it sucks, I don't think it stands a snowball's chance, but it is related.

If that same Republican wants to attach tax cuts for the wealthy to the minimum wage bill, I see that as unreasonable. Someone has to be in charge and decide what is and what isn't reasonable. By overwhelming declaration, through their votes, the people of this country have decided that Democrats are in charge of deciding what IS and ISN'T a reasonable debate.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

I lean in Robert's direction in all this

but I mostly suggest waiting to see what actually happens instead of buying into the way the Republican spin machine is casting the Party of Greed in victim mode.

The Dems have not handled this well from a PR point of view. There was no need to signal this issue in advance of action on the floor. But at least they're being honest and transparent about their intentions on pushing through a small handful of bills . . . bills that will not make it through the Senate, by the way, nor be signed by the Decider.

But the Greeders will be put on the record as favoring the wealthy elite and restraints on liberty early and often. That in and of itself is a worthwhile mission.