Blog By Barry

January 9, 2009

The Democrats Should Not Give Republicans A Voice In The House

Filed under: Elections and politics — Ampersand @ 1:34 pm

Radley Balko declares Nancy Pelosi a “hack” because in 2004, she proposed a “bill of rights” for the minority Party in the house; but now that the Dems are in power, Pelosi is locking the Republicans out in the cold.

But Randy’s post, although it quotes a good chunk of the 2004 article, didn’t quote the article’s essential second paragraph:

In keeping with the general atmosphere of the House these days, aides to Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) said he will not respond to the two-page proposal from Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

What Pelosi proposed in 2004 was a mutual laying down of parliamentary arms, so that the parties could revert to (say) Ronald-Reagan era levels of partisanship. This was, of course, a self-serving offer for the party that was out of power — but not an unreasonable one, since both Democrats and Republicans, if they want long careers in Congress, can reasonably expect to be spending some time out of power. And if both parties could agree to this, our system might be better off.

Republicans rejected Pelosi’s offer. To expect Pelosi to abide by it now is to expect Democrats to unilaterally disarm. Why should Pelosi agree to a “Republicans can beat up on Democrats all they want, but Democrats will always play nice” rule? That’s not fair, and that’s not what Pelosi was suggesting in 2004.

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