Thursday June 23, 2016
Click here for an Easy Print Version
House Democrats not only took to the House Floor yesterday, they took over the House Floor.
They staged a sit-in to protest the lack of votes on gun control measures.
It will be unproductive.
I'm not suggesting that the issue of gun control - or at least more complete background checks - is silly. I am suggesting that a childish demonstration such as the Democrats pulled yesterday will not move a single vote - on or off the House Floor.
It would - should - horrify the House Democrats to realize they are following in the footsteps of Newt Gingrich who was the first to employ modern guerilla tactics on the House floor.
Back when Newt was still a back bencher he formed an outfit called "The Conservative Opportunity Society" which was a direct attack on what he (and others) called "The Liberal Welfare State."
The idea, according to a PBS interview with Vin Weber, then a young Congressman from Minnesota, was to form a "faction" of Republicans in the House who were interested in promoting a new "philosophy, but not a rigid, narrow, almost theological conservatism."
Compare and contrast the difference between that and the "Freedom Caucus" today - which appears to me to have all the flexibility of the Spanish Inquisition.
The Conservative Opportunity Society, or CoS, gathered new members including Bob Walker of Pennsylvania, Connie Mack III of Florida, and Duncan Hunter of California.
According to Weber it was Walker who first understood how to make use of the new idea of cameras in the House chamber and, more importantly, the advent of C-SPAN to provide the distribution of the video.
At the end of the regular session in the House, there is a provision for Members to speak in a period devoted to "Special Orders." According to the Library of Congress, "at the end of legislative business for the day, individual Representatives deliver speeches on topics of their choice for up to 60 minutes."
What Walker realized was there were a lot of people who watched House proceedings on C-SPAN all day long. Special Orders were part of that day and he calculated that on any given day there might be a half million viewers watching the CoS members deliver these speeches.
The rules regarding TV coverage at the time as I remember it, were that the cameras would only focus on the person speaking - Republican, Democrat, or the Chair - so that Members would not get caught dozing off or
Those speeches were not an end unto themselves. They were tactics in a decade long strategy to take over control of the U.S. House on behalf of the Republican party - something which had not happened since the Congress of 1953-54.
The Special Order speeches had an impact. As Weber recounted, Newt asked Jack Kemp, then a Congressman from New York, to join the rotation. When he demurred, Newt said something like, "If I put 500,000 people into a stadium to hear you speak you would never turn down that chance. Just because you can't see them, doesn't mean they're not watching you."
After a while the Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill, had to do something to quiet his troops. He decided that he would order the cameras to "pull back," that is, to have the shot of the House showing there was no one there but the person speaking.
The House Democrats staging a sit-in yesterday was a short term stunt. Whether you agree with their position on gun-control or not, it is a one- or, at most, two-day story. Speaker Paul Ryan controls the cameras (which he ordered turned off) and for that matter controls the air conditioning and the lights.
Gingrich wasn't interested in a one- or two-day story. He was planning a decade-long war that would show the American people that the Republican Party had in mind a better way of governing.
That better way, ultimately, was distilled into the Contract with America which, in 1994, led to what Gingrich had been plotting: Republican control of the House.
Measure that against the sit-in the Democrats staged yesterday.
Looks pretty silly in comparison.
Lad Link: Here's @ReedGalen's latest take on the 2016 campaign. A taste: "Imagine if the meanest of the mean girls and the nastiest of the bullies in your high school were running against each other for class president." HERE.
On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to the Vin Weber interview and the Wikipedia entry for the Contract with America.
ALSO I recognize that the SDR from Monday was unavailable to many of you due to an internet glitch. If you want to go back to see that, it is available by clicking HERE.
Today's Mulfoto is another in the series of odd food truck decorations outside my office.
-- END --
Copyright ©2016 Barrington Worldwide, LLC.
All Rights Reserved
(To join the FREE mailing list or to unsubscribe Click Here)
06/23/16 - Silly Sit-in
06/20/16 - Underwater
06/16/16 - Running with Trump
06/13/16 - They Came for Me
06/09/16 - General Themes
06/06/16 - Mr. Sanders' California Dreamin'
06/02/16 - Press Conference Protocol
05/30/16 - Memorial Day - 2016
05/26/16 - Marty
05/23/16 - Ds r in Worse Shape Than We Thought. Sad.
05/19/16 - Throwing Shade
05/16/16 - 3rd Party Candidates
05/12/16 - Backup Alarm
05/09/16 - Who's Been Voting for Them?
05/05/16 - Well, THAT Happened
05/02/16 - The Five Stages of Trump
04/27/16 - Like Sand Through the Hourglass
04/25/16 - Thank You Kindly
04/20/16 - Give My Regards to Broadway
04/18/16 - Obama's First Legacy Tour
04/14/16 - I Hate Ev
04/11/16 - Those Pesky Conventions
04/06/16 - On [From] Wisconsin
04/04/16 - Opening Day 2016
03/31/16 - Who Stands with You?
03/28/16 - Should the GOP Throw the Match?
03/23/16 - What a Tuesday
03/21/16 - Mack the Knife
03/16/16 - Boombox vs Bombast
03/14/16 - It's Getting Harder Every Day
03/11/16 - Candidates Behaving Well
03/09/16 - Don't Bet on It
03/07/16 - Willful Neglect
03/04/16 - An Extraordinary Day in Politics
03/02/16 - Earnings per Share
02/29/16 - The Light at the End
02/24/16 - No "Trump" Puns in Nevada
02/22/16 - Adrenaline & Pizza
02/21/16 - Nevada & South Carolina I
02/18/16 - Electability
02/14/16 - South Carolina Debate
02/10/16 - New Hampshire 2016
02/08/16 - Balance Point
02/04/16 - Recounting Iowa
02/03/16 - Why Oh, Why Oh Iowa
01/28/16 - Breaking: Trump & Galen Miss Debate
01/25/16 - More Possible 2016 Turmoil
01/21/16 - Sarah Palin = Norma Desmond
01/18/16 - Iowa Matters
01/15/16 - Final Pre-Primary Debate
01/13/16 - Obama's Last SOTU - A Gentleman's C
01/11/16 - The Downton Election
01/07/16 - Iowa Caucuses
01/04/16 - Saudi v. Iran v. Bahrain v.
Israel v. Syria v.
Iraq v. Sunnis v.
Shiites v. Putin v. Obama
12/31/15 - 2015 - T²
12/28/15 - Preference vs Support
12/24/15 - Christmas 2015 - Six Words
12/16/15 - Last Debate of the Year
12/14/15 - Climate Change
12/10/15 - My Trump Prediction
12/07/15 - Tactics, not Vision
12/03/15 - San Bernardino
Current Issue |
Ring | Past
Issues | Email
Rich | Rich
Site design by Campaign