Patrick McHenry has positioned himself as the House Minority Hypocrite with his performance earlier this month when he called House Democrats, "cheats". Not only did he have to eat his words, he may find himself having to explain how what happened that evening is cheating, especially in light of the numerous votes held open by the Republicans during their Reign of Error.
First, I should address McHenry's rabid frothiness at the idea that the Democrats cheated as they closed the vote on time with a close win in their pockets. Second, I just have to address the gushy goodness of the CharO's Lisa Zagaroli in the mulitple pieces she posted on McHenry in today's Observer. She obviously is enamored by the little munchkin and it leaves her reporting of events lacking a certain honesty that we expect from our corporate reporters here in NC.
You can see McHenry forced to eat his words by viewing the following video.
Now, McHenry isn't the first to step across parliamentary lines and say something he later had to retract or apologize for, but this isn't a simple matter of the squirt losing his temper. In his whining attack on Democratic leadership, McHenry shows a shockingly inadequate grasp of voting procedures in the House. He isn't the only one.
From Norman Ornstein, a contributing writer at Roll Call [subscription only], we get this:
More dismaying was to watch Republican leaders after this event, and to read what Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) has been writing in his press releases and in a column in Human Events. Either he and Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) are consciously distorting what they know are the rules and practices of the House or they don’t know the basics of the rules.
If you're really paying attention, though to the cheap sophomoric tactics the Republicans are pulling to obstruct progress in Congress, then you recognized that this entire tantrum is over a motion that was intended merely to impede the Democratic Congress. Again, from Norman Ornstein:
That gets us to the specifics of the motion to recommit. This motion, if it passed, would have required the Appropriations Committee to find language to ban any funds for housing for illegal immigrants and report the bill “promptly” back to the House. Three observations are in order.
First, this motion should not be done on an appropriations bill — it is a substantive action, not technically legislating but having that effect. Second, the motion sought to ban funds for housing. This was an agriculture bill — it was not about housing. Third, the motion consciously dropped the standard, long- established language of serious motions to recommit, calling for the measure to be reported back “forthwith,” which means immediately and gives these motions the functional equivalency of substantive amendments or substitutes — a way for the minority to offer alternatives. Using “promptly,” as I discussed at length in an earlier column, is a subterfuge, a way to kill bills, and reflects a desire not to legislate but to embarrass vulnerable majority Members through a “gotcha” process.
In other words, this motion was a sham, not a serious attempt to offer a minority alternative. The majority was wrong to try to circumvent the process; the minority showed a lack of seriousness by offering such a motion to an appropriations bill.
While I'm a pretty firm believer in the old adage, "two wrongs don't make a right", I'm also a firm believer in pointing out the hypocrisy of Republicans as they throw tantrums over how the Democratic leadership is conducting the business of the House, when they were guilty of far greater transgressions during their tenure in the majority.
Democrats did not cheat. The vote was closed in a timely manner. They didn't hold the vote open for hours like Republicans had a tendency to do and all votes that were cast, were counted. Yes, after an initial flurry of vote-changing by both sides, the Democratic leadership tallied the votes and called the final total. It didn't matter what was on the screen or when the gavel was pounded on the table. The vote had to be called at some point or the Republicans and Democrats could have changed votes all night long trying to see who would come out on top. The party in control of the House was going to win this particular motion, so at some point the fence hurdling was going to have to come to an end.
Funny thing is, this happened over a week ago, but fresh articles are still coming out. I can only imagine that the louder Republicans whine about the unfair practices of Democrats, the more respectable journalists, like Norman Ornstein, will step up to call them on their hypocrisy. With Youtube videos like the one above, these moments of Republican hypocrisy stay alive for longer periods of time giving more journalists and bloggers a chance to offer their commentary. [Good for me because it's taking longer for me to write my commentary!]
Now for the Charlotte Observer's Lisa Zagaroli and her girly giddiness over Patty Mac. It wasn't so much what she wrote, but what she left out that makes me think she's more impressed with McHenry than she should be. First, instead of pointing out that McHenry's comments were hypocritical, she not only quoted them in full, but offered absolutely zero pushback on his assertions that Democrats were "cheats". Norman Ornstein even had something to say about this in his piece in Roll Call.
As for the press, the number of veteran journalists who know procedure, or who take the time to find out the facts before writing, has dwindled sharply.
Ouch! So, Zagaroli either has a thing for North Carolina's very own Oompa Loompa or she's a lazy reporter.
Second, Zagaroli wrote three different pieces on McHenry in one roundup. Dayum, talk about your PattyMac overload. Please, one helping is enough. Even - yes, I'm quoting the man again - Norm Ornstein agrees.
If the minority ends up being driven by immature brats such as Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), everyone will suffer, starting with the American people.