The Corner

Among the Hypocrites

Ed Kilgore faults congressional Republicans on the debt limit:

[L]et’s just note for the record that the bicameral GOP vote on this “must-pass” legislation that any sane person would support was 28/244. Because Republicans “allowed” it to pass with mostly Democratic votes, they (and particularly their two Leaders, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell) are being toasted for their wise statesmanship, and you can almost hear strains of “Happy Days Are Here Again” as many Beltway types wonder if something similar can be engineered on an immigration bill.

Am I the only one who feels a bit squeamish about touting this Brave New World where one of our two major political parties solves its “collective action problem” via such rank duplicity?

He then links to a New York Times article by Carl Hulse about the Republican “vote no, hope yes” contingent.

It’s one thing to fault the Republicans for a lack of consistency, courage, or candor; it’s another to do so without acknowledging that this is standard opposition-party behavior. Look at the graph illustrating this post at the Daily Kos. The post is criticizing Republicans, of course, but the graph suggests that the highest vote total bills to raise the debt ceiling ever got from House Democrats during the Bush presidency was 3. House Democrats either voted against increasing the debt limit or engineered a process where it would increase without their formal support. And of course Senators Obama and Biden also voted against such increases. This doesn’t, of course, mean that Kilgore is wrong on the merits — it just means that for consistency’s sake he ought to attack his own party as insane, duplicitous, etc. And it means that there is a much longer track record of congressmen’s refusing to vote for something they hope will pass than Hulse suggests.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.


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