The Democrats seem to be breaking their promises to run an “open” house and are instead ramming through legislation without letting Republicans amend it. I think that the Democrats are making a mistake, less because of the inside-Washington reaction than because of the long-term effects of this kind of machine politics. But I also think that Republicans are making a mistake by complaining so much about it. Having lost an election in important part because voters perceived them as being more interested in their perks and power than in the common good, they should think twice before coming out of the gate complaining about their lack of perks and power. Maybe there was a little value in getting some favorable editorials twitting the Democrats for hypocrisy, but the Republicans have made their point and need to move on.
I hope Republicans aren’t fooling themselves into believing that the public cares about this sort of thing. Reading the Washington Post’s op-ed page today might encourage that delusion. Greg Craig is complaining about the tactics of the Democrats (his party). He writes: “Much of the country agreed with the Democrats’ criticism of the highhanded way the Republicans ran the House, and much of the country voted for Democratic candidates in the hope that Democrats would make the legislative process fair and transparent. Your plan to force members to vote with no opportunity to offer amendments is inconsistent with what Democrats said they would do and what American voters hoped they would do. This is a blindness that will come back to haunt you.”
There aren’t three voters in America who voted for Democrats to bring back open rules on legislation.