Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Alan Continued

He writes:
You argue that Democrats have a greater responsibility to defer to the people than Republicans. That does seem to be the practice. Republicans are, with the filibuster especially, resisting majority rule. Unfortunately the alternative is minority rule--an outrage.

First, your definition of minority rule in this case is only indirectly related to the will of the people. You are talking about minority versus majority of Senators.

The people? Only 36% think the bill is a good idea. In fairness, the polls says that 46% are in favor of passing the bill while 45% are against, but 46% ain't exactly a majority of the people. Democrats are trying to pass this in spite of a lack of public support. Indeed, if they choose this path of deem and pass, then it will be to get cover from public outrage.

Again, both the House and Senate have passed Health Care reform bills with majority votes, and both chambers will hold majority votes to reconcile the differences between the bills--all in accordance with the chambers' rules.

Accordance with chamber rules isn't the issue. Pointing to the letter of procedure and then distorting all out of the spirit is fucking wrong. You just shouldn't pass a bill that you've been pushing for a year through gimmicks.

Your assertion, shared by others in the minority, that the Democrats should abide by an ill-defined higher standard rather than work within the rules, is arbitrary and in the event, hypocritical.

It is not arbitrary. Major bills that have been the subject of much debate that still have widespread opposition should not be rammed through via parliamentary shenanigans. It is undemocratic.

On the hypocrisy point, I was against getting rid of the filibuster when Republicans were in charge and I don't remember Republicans ramming a bill through with that they called the most important piece of legislation in a generation without voting for it. And if the Republicans try some shit like this when they regain power, then I'll be voting third party the rest of my life. So you can take your hypocrisy charge and shove it.


Alan Howe said...

"It is not arbitrary. Major bills..."

What is the non-arbitrary definition of "major bills"? And who makes that decision if not the majority party put in power by the American voters? Is there a House rule that says "greater than or equal to XX% of GDP"? As I suggested earlier, it is in the eye of the beholder.

Unhappiness with the decisions is easily acted upon every other November. What we have here is an unhappiness with being the minority party. I understand that, and empathize, after enduring the Bush presidency. The answer is not to subvert majority rule.

Republican leaders are claiming this vote will hurt Democrats this fall. If so, they should be stepping out of the way, handing the Democrats enough rope, and reaping the returns this November. Why aren't they? Well, I suspect they understand that those opposed to the legislation are divided into two groups: those who think the reforms go to far, and those who think they do not go far enough. Republicans likely further understand that this latter group will not be voting for them this fall. Democrats can expect support from supporters of reform and those who, while unhappy at the limited efforts, cannot abide voting for candidates who opposed doing anything.

Read carefully, you will see my charge against you asserts that your comments are arbitrary and that those putting that sentiment into action ("in the event") are hypocritical. There is not an allegation that you are hypocritical. You know that I am more circumscribed in my comments than most people who post here, even more so than you.

George Pal said...

Re the self-executing bill, Ms. Pelosi’s recent past shows her presently a hypocrite, or non compos mentis, or both, i.e. insanely inconsistent.

Special attention to the update at the bottom of the article.

Anonymous said...

Hey, here's an arbitrary fact regarding one of the House members voting for the bill.

DETROIT (AP) -- Former Detroit councilwoman Monica Conyers is relying on a court-appointed lawyer to pursue an appeal of her prison sentence for corruption.

That means the public will pick up the tab, even though Conyers' husband John is a Michigan congressman who's paid $174,000 a year.

Monica Conyers signed an affidavit declaring she can't afford a lawyer. Steve Fishman, the attorney who negotiated her guilty plea, says she has no money.


The Democrats are beyond sleaze but it does warm my heart to see Mr. Howe defend them...

Mrs. P

Anonymous said...

Hey this arbitrary story gets even better:

Rep. Conyers won't help his wife pay for a lawyer
By: David Freddoso

03/17/10 8:51 AM EDT

The National Law Journal reports that former Detroit City Councilwoman Monica Conyers, wife of House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., has been declared indigent by a federal judge. That means she gets a public defender in her attempt to appeal her three-year prison sentence on a bribery charge to which she pleaded guilty.

[Conyers] says she can't afford a lawyer...despite the fact that her husband — who is the second-longest serving current member of the U.S. House of Representatives — makes $174,000 a year....The court said that Monica Conyers provided information that established her inability to pay for a lawyer, including "a detailed description of her financial resources in the presentence investigation report and [the information] that Mrs. Conyers was on her own — so to speak — as to such resources." Therefore, the court said, "Further inquiry was not appropriate and would have intruded on private matters."


The private matters are that Conyers is a gay man who married Monica because he wanted children...

Mrs. P

The article notes that according to federal guidelines, a family member's wealth cannot be considered when determining a defendant's ability to pay, "unless the family indicates willingness and financial ability to retain counsel promptly."

FLG said...

Mrs. P:

Alan isn't defending illegal conduct on the part of Democrats.

Alan Howe said...

Thank you, George, for the important missing piece. Knowing that Speaker Pelosi was on the losing side of a court case challenging the "deem and pass" rule makes her current consideration of its use quite understandable. She knows first-hand that the procedure passes court muster.

George Pal said...


It makes her current consideration nothing of the sort. The issue before the court was whether a minor text correction was sufficient to satisfy constitutional requirements. Ms. Pelosi, as participant in the amicus brief, was taking the position that the minor text correction was significant enough to deem the deeming unconstitutional.

So we are left with the incomprehensible Ms. Pelosi having been against deeming when the dots and tittles did not mesh but for it in the pursuit of the largest government takeover in history. If Ms. Pelosi, or you, think the court ruling in the first case supports the present procedures than your wishes have broken the confines of common sense.

Anonymous said...

FLG, I didn't mean to suggest Mr. Howe was defending anything illegal. How could he? Why he's a member (or maybe just an ardent supporter?) of the ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law Center, a Patriot.

I said the Dems were beyond sleazy. And it warms my heart to see Mr. Howe defend them...

The thing about Rep. Conyers being okay with having the already indigent city of Detroit taxpayers pick up his wife's legal fees is not illegal either. A court ruled she was indigent.

Mrs. P

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