Trouble in Democratic Paradise

So now that the House Democrats have had about six months to figure out how to be in the majority, what do they do? Change the rules.

The test for germaneness has stood in the House for 185 years. But because the new majority has lost vote after vote (11 in all) on motions to recommit, they are seeking to change the test to make it harder for the minority to win.

This may seem like procedural mumbo-jumbo. But the rules of the House not only dictate how the laws of the land are made, they also indicate how secure the House majority is.

A majority leadership’s approach to the rules of the House quite often shows how well it is doing, how in touch it is with the people, how cohesive it is as a team, etc.

When a majority decides it wants to ditch old rules that have withstood the test of time; when it decides to cut off or preclude debates; when it decides to clamp down on minority rights, it is a signal that it is losing control.

The new House Democratic majority is losing control, if it ever had control in the first place.

Losing 11 motions to recommit is unprecedented and it says many things. It says that many of the more moderate members of the House Democratic Party are looking for any excuse to distance themselves from their Speaker. It says that the minority, under the able leadership of John Boehner (R-Ohio), is not only unified, it is energized. The Republicans have been very clever in how they put vulnerable House Democrats on the spot. It says that the liberal leadership of the House Democrats doesn’t have a workable majority. And it says that the country isn’t buying whatever the Democrats are selling. This is still a center-right country.

When you take away the fog of war and the depressing poll numbers of the current administration, the American people still aren’t ready to turn over the reins of government to the left-leaning leadership of Nancy Pelosi (or Hillary Clinton), at least as seen through the eyes of the elected members of the House. And that is one bright spot in what has been a pretty depressing year so far for Republicans.