(Rick Manning) – Nancy Pelosi’s House of Representatives fled home this weekend to meet the voters with the hope that they can use Jedi mind tricks to get themselves re-elected.
You can almost hear them waving their hands while saying, “Not passing a budget for the United States government doesn’t matter – vote for me even though I didn’t fulfill my most basic responsibility,” or “Pay no attention to the 14.9 million people who are unemployed, it is George Bush’s dogs fault.”
Of course, Speaker Pelosi did not go home before playing one of the oldest political parlor games in existence. The ole, protect your vulnerable incumbents fake out. Here is what she did. Just prior to adjournment, the House of Representatives voted on whether to adjourn, or whether they should stay in DC to stop the massive automatic tax increases that are scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2011. Pelosi, allowed a vote on the adjournment, and an amendment that would require the House to take up the tax increase issue before going home, as opposed to after the election in a lame duck session.
The way the game plays out is that the most vulnerable members of the majority party, then vote for the responsible course of action – to stay in session until they get the job done, but they “shockingly” lose by one vote. Of course, this allows them the best of both worlds, they get to go home and campaign, while shouting the news for anyone to hear that they are an “independent with the courage to stand up to Nancy Pelosi.” This enabled and leadership allowed “independence,” is then sold to the voters as the reason the Member of Congress should be sent back to DC to keep up the fight.
Veteran watchers of California politics remember this as one of former Democratic Speaker Willie Brown’s favorite tricks. He would have a couple of Democrats who needed to vote against legislation that was unpopular in their districts, and amazingly, some Republican would inevitably vote with Brown allowing him to give his Democratic colleagues a free pass to vote the way they needed to in order to stay elected.
Of course, even though they lost, the people who opposed the initiative passed by Brown, would villify the one or two Republicans, and extol the virtues of the Democrats who Willie allowed to vote against him. This basic manipulation kept Brown as Speaker for years clinging to a razor thin majority, or in one, two year period, a minority of the state Assembly.
This lesson was clearly not lost on Pelosi as this session drew to a close, as she allowed votes on issues that allowed her heretofore tightly controlled House majority to disagree and demonstrate the independence that many American’s wished they had shown for the previous 18 months. These same “independent” Members of Congress walked lockstep off the cliff with Pelosi when they supported ObamaCare, an almost $800 billion stimulus package that had nothing to do with stimulating the economy and was all about keeping the public employee union coffers overflowing, and job destroying “green energy” policies like cap and trade. Independent indeed!!!
In keeping with the saying that there is a corrupt party in Washington and a stupid one, the Republicans enthusiastically embraced pushing for these kind of politically helpful votes providing their most vulnerable Democratic Party colleagues one last opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to solving the looming tax increase problem without having to actually do it.
Now, Congress is adjourned and you can almost envision them in their best Obi Won Kenobi voices saying, “pay no attention to what we have done to the country, we are the one’s you can trust to fix it.” Their desperate hope is that voters are bigger fans of Star Wars than The Who, who famously sung, “We won’t get fooled again.”
(Rick Manning is the Communications Director of Americans for Limited Government)