Roll Call reports…
In a major departure from procedure during Wednesday’s climactic vote on suspending the federal debt limit, the Senate kept some senators’ votes secret while the nearly hourlong tally was under way — a move that has drawn sharp criticism from Capitol Hill reporters.
Apparently it’s never really been any of our business:
Martin Paone, who spent more than a decade overseeing Senate floor operations for the Democrats, told CQ Roll Call in an email that the vote announcement practice known as the recap was designed to help senators, not the general public.
“I see the recap … as something that evolved over time for the members convenience so they’d know how their colleagues voted and not for the press though I can see where it can be a useful tool,” said Paone, who is now executive vice president of Prime Policy Group.
Camp of the Saints is going all Roman on them but what I find most annoying is are the assumptions these guys are making.
Consider this from Byron York’s OP Ed today McConnell saw this vote as a Tactical move:
Senate Republicans met in their weekly lunch a few hours after Boehner’s announcement. The short version of events is that McConnell urged colleagues to allow a vote on the House debt limit bill. If the GOP did not object, it could be passed with a simple 51-vote majority, and since there are 55 Democrats in the Senate who would vote for it, every Republican could vote against it and it would still pass.
Of course the flip side is that vulnerable dems in Red states could vote AGAINST it and parade that vote come November but that doesn’t seem to have occurred to anyone
Then Cruz stood up and said there was no way in the world he would stand by and allow a debt ceiling increase to be passed with just 51 votes. Cruz insisted on a 60-vote threshold, which the rules allowed him to do. That meant at least five Republicans would have to join Democrats for the debt limit to be raised.
It would be an understatement to say that many of Cruz’s GOP colleagues were righteously ticked off at him. Nobody wanted to vote to raise the debt limit, but many believed strongly that a losing fight over spending would damage the party. Besides, Cruz didn’t even have a plan for what to do had his Republican colleagues improbably decided to go along with him.
That being the case there is no reason why they could have not gotten up on the Senate Floor and say: “I hate this bill, I think it’s the wrong move, but I also think this is not the hill for us to fight on.”
So after some testy exchanges at the lunch, and a lot of negotiating in the afternoon, McConnell and other leaders decided to vote for the debt limit increase. Then several other Republicans, mostly those in unthreatened seats, agreed to vote along with them to provide cover. The bill passed with 12 Republicans joining all 55 Democrats.
Question: If there were plenty of republicans in unthreatened seats who thought it was needed why didn’t THEY just bite the bullet? themselves?
Bloomberg laments that the GOP can’t do anything a href=”http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-14/cruz-senate-stunt-goes-unpunished-as-old-tools-don-t-work.html”>about this
In decades past, leaders could rein in such behavior by threatening to take away coveted committee assignments, withdrawing financial support, or shunning lawmakers. None of those tactics are effective in a political era in which campaign cash flows freely from outside the party machinery and cable outlets offer many ways to grab attention and influence.
Of course if the party was listening to the base they supposedly represent then those voters would be more willing to support the party financially, it’s not like those senators work for the people or anything.
All of these maneuvers seem to come from a single misconception among the GOP leader: They seem to think of the Tea Party base the same way that the Democrats think of their base, full of low information votes.
The low info voter, doesn’t pay attention to bills, doesn’t care about what’s happening today, and can tell you all about the details of Katy Perry in the Strip joint but not only can’t tell you what Harry Reid says in the Well of the Senate Well, but likely thinks the Senate Well is where they keep their water.
That means if Democrats needing only 51 votes wanted to have a few vote the other way to cover themselves it’s no big deal, they as Elizabeth Scalia points out only know what the media bothers to tell them.
The Tea Party voter is different.
They know about the bills, they know about the votes, they often will have actually read bill unlike the representatives who vote on them. If you go to a Tea Party meeting and listen to people talk, they will get into details on bill and will ask direct questions of reps who turn up to make their case.
Moreover they HATE being lied to, if you think this isn’t the hill to die on, they will respect you more for saying it up front than trying to BS them.
But the most important thing to remember is they demand respect, they know how procedural votes work.
Not only is a poll not going to pull the wool over their eyes by voting one way on the procedure that allows a vote to pass and another on a vote that’s a foregone conclusion but they will consider it an insult that you expect them to fall for it.
Bottom line, if you want to get the respect of the Tea Party voter you have to earn it, and having an “R” after your name isn’t enough to do it.
The sooner the GOP figures that out and acts accordingly the better off they and the country will be.
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