You may have noticed that some Republican Party apparatchiks appear to have an unblemished record regarding the logical consistency of their claims about how fair democratic procedures should work in the United States Congress.
When I say that some Republican apparatchiks appear to have an unblemished record regarding the logical consistency of their claims, of course I mean that their record appears to be unblemished by any concern about consistency. They don’t seem to be unduly concerned that anyone might care about whether their claims about fair democratic procedure appear to be logically consistent.
Here’s how it works: If the majority of Representatives in the House happens to be Republican, then fair democratic procedure requires that the House should be run according to Leninist principles of democratic centralism. According to these principles of Republican Leninism, the House should only vote on measures that have been approved for consideration by a majority of House Republicans.
Don’t miss a beat
Get the latest news and thought-provoking analysis from Truthout.
If, on the other hand, the majority of Senators happens to be Democrat, then fair democratic procedure requires that the Senate should be run as an “anarcho-syndicalist commune.” According to these principles of Republican Anarcho-Syndicalism, if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid doesn’t allow votes on Republican priorities, then Harry Reid is a ruthless dictator.
Here’s Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell kvetching to Fox News that Harry Reid won’t allow a vote on an Iran sanctions bill that President Obama, Senate Democratic leaders and the US intelligence community warn would blow up diplomacy and put the United States on a path to war:
“He’s completely taken over the Senate and running it as if he were a dictator.”
Yes, Virginia, Mitch McConnell charged that Harry Reid has completely taken over the Senate. There was never an election or anything! As Dennis, the peasant, said, “Now we see the violence inherent in the system! . . . Help, help, I’m being repressed!”
Senate Republicans want to put the United States on a path to war with Iran. Republicans lost the last two presidential elections – in which the warmonger candidates went down in flames – so they’d like to use the Senate to blow up the president’s efforts to reach a diplomatic agreement with Iran to prevent war. But Republicans don’t control the Senate. Therefore, Harry Reid is a dictator.
How does it go when the shoe is on the other foot?
On June 27, the Huffington Post reported that the Senate had passed an immigration reform bill that would
give a path to citizenship to some of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., bringing them out of the shadows and preventing continued record deportations that have separated hundreds of thousands of families.
The immigration reform bill passed the Senate 68 to 32, supported by all Senate Democrats and 14 Senate Republicans.
That was more than six months ago. House Democrats would have been totally delighted to have a House vote on the Senate immigration reform bill. How did that go?
Here’s what democratic centralist House Speaker John Boehner said at the time about the Senate bill:
“The House is not going to take up and vote on whatever the Senate passes,” Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters, speaking shortly before the Senate bill passed.
. . . whatever emerges [in the House] will have to meet the “Hastert rule,” named after former Speaker Denny Hastert (R-Ill.), which says the majority of the party in control of the House must back a given measure for it to receive a vote by the full chamber.
“For any legislation, including a conference report, to pass the House, it’s going to have to be a bill that has the support of a majority of our members,” Boehner said, referring to the members of the Republican caucus. [my emphasis.]
So, according to John Boehner principles, Harry Reid is an effective leader, accountable to his caucus. Only 16 members of the 55-member strong Senate Democratic caucus have cosponsored the Republican Iran war bill. So there is no reason to call the Republican war bill for a vote, because it’s not supported by a majority of the Senate Democratic caucus.
If you can find one Republican warmonger in Congress kvetching about how Senate “Dictator” Harry Reid won’t allow a vote on the Republican bill to blow up diplomacy with Iran who is willing to similarly describe John Boehner as a “dictator” for not allowing a House vote on the Senate’s immigration reform bill, I’ll donate $100 to your favorite group lobbying for immigration reform.
Meanwhile, the interim deal on Iran’s nuclear program is going into effect on January 20. Because Harry Reid blocked Senate Republicans who were trying to “sack the quarterback,” US diplomats were able to finalize the interim deal. Sorry, AIPAC. You lose this round.