Please Nancy Don't Hurt 'Em

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Tired of the eye-roll-inducing theater of the Ford funeral? Check out the eye-roll-inducing theater about to take place in Congress.

In a "Dear Colleague" letter circulated to fellow Republicans, three House GOPers are trying to push a "Minority Bill of Rights"—based on a two-year-old proposal by then-Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). You can read the letter here.

An ironic case in point: When Pelosi made her proposal to protect Democrats in 2004, GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert (IL) refused to entertain the idea, let alone reply to her correspondence.

The whole document is up at Talking Points Memo's fantastic Muckraker site. Unless Democrats are as stupid as everyone thinks they are, don't expect them to consider this. The GOP minority is on the record planning to "make the Democrats be Democrats," or force the majority to vote on wedge issues that will make life awkward for their conservative members. For example: "This is a nice health care modernization bill you've got. And it would look even better with this amendment posting 'Life Begins at Conception' posters in every hospital waiting room."

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  1. The Republicans kept meaning to get to these rules changes over the past 12 years, but you know how it is. One thing or another just keeps coming up.

    Pelosi should let Republicans live with the rules and practices they adopted only as long as it will take to craft better, fairer rules.

    The new rules should be crafted in an open, bipartisan manner. I’d estimate the time for completion to be 18-24 months.

  2. The signers’ names bear comment: Tom Price, M.D. (after all, at least being a physician is something to be proud about); Eric Cantor (I guess the rabbi is a Democrat? Did fellow Virginia Republican Virgil Goode object when he took the oath of office on the Torah?); and my favorite, Patrick McHenry (please, oh please tell me he’s given at least one speech including “Give me McLiberty or give me McDeath!”)

  3. Most of you are probably aware of this, but I’d just like to state it in order to cheer everyone up:

    Once the new Congress begins, Nancy Pelosi will be only two heartbeats – including Cheney’s bum ticker – away from the Presidency.

  4. Unless they both died within a couple days from each other, she would always remain one to two heartbeats away, with replacements filling in the new second heartbeat. Given that Bush and Cheney are rarely in the same place for catastrophic disaster, that gives newly unemployed Rick (I stepped in) Santorum a better chance of ascending to the Presidency should hearts start failing than of Pelosi doing so.

  5. Once the new Congress begins, Nancy Pelosi will be only two heartbeats – including Cheney’s bum ticker – away from the Presidency.

    Surely you’re not suggesting Pelosi would be worse?

  6. Given Cheney’s bum ticker, he might have a myocardial infarction during the swearing in.

  7. madpad

    Name your poison. 😉

  8. that gives newly unemployed Rick (I stepped in) Santorum a better chance of ascending to the Presidency

    That hardly makes me feel better.

  9. Thanks Aresen, that is cheery.

    cinnabob, is that true? I didn’t know that. If so, I didn’t think it was possible, but you just made Aresen’s gloomy possibility oh so much worse with the introduction of Santorum.

  10. The “whole document” is up there, but only gives a couple bullet points of the proposal.

    What’s the catch inevitably hiding in the rest of the proposal?

  11. I’m speechless, Aresen. The sad thing for me (even sadder than cab is with the Santorum prospect) is that I can’t think of any potential president who actually doesn’t depress me.

  12. If Cheney resigns or dies, Bush picks a new VP. If Bush resigns or dies, Cheney becomes president and picks a VP. Pelosi only becomes president if both go before a new person fills in. About the only time both Bush and Cheney are together (when catastrophe could strike) Pelosi is also present, reducing significantly the chance she’d live while they died. They could go separately, but it’d have to happen in rapid succession before any new person was brought in.

    While I don’t think Santorum is high on either man’s list for fill-in, I’d wager he’s a lot higher than Pelosi. Look at a picture of a bunny if you want to feel better, but you are only fooling yourself if you think Pelosi has a better chance of ascending into the Presidency a la Ford than Santorum or dozens of other republicans do.

  13. but, the democratically controlled house and senate would both have to confirm the choice of vice president… as long as we’re talking theoretically, couldn’t they refuse to confirm anyone, thus keeping ms. pelosi next in line?

    -cab

  14. cab,

    They probably couldn’t get away with that if the office is vacated because of the death or incapacity of Bush or Cheney.

    However, if one of them was removed from office, the political calculus would be different. Especially if investigations into the remaining office holder were well underway.

  15. madpad

    “I can’t think of any potential president who actually doesn’t depress me.”

    Radley Balko for President! [You heard it here first.]

  16. joe lays out the most likely scenario for Pelosi moving up. But there would be nothing stopping the WH, should things look like they were progressing to that point, from having Cheney resign and appointing a new VP. This is what happened when Ford was put into the VP and then subsequently P position. I doubt under those circumstances that some one as controversial as Santy would be picked, but Pelosi wouldn’t be either. Then, after having a Lieberman or McCain appointed to the VP post, the Dems would be unlikely to block nomination, given that it would divert attention from any ongoing investigation/hearings into Bush and Cheney.

    There’s a long row of what ifs involved in the above, and it still doesn’t seem likely to put Nancy in the driver’s seat.

  17. “I can’t think of any potential president who actually doesn’t depress me.”

    I hear you. The only guy I thought I could remotely back already stepped aside (Mark Warner).

  18. But cinabob, wouldn’t both houses have to approve the replacement in your scenario as well?

    There is a bigger issue here – the Speaker (and President Pro Tem of the Senate) shouldn’t be in the line of succession. The Constitution says “officer of the government,” which is a term for executive branch officials; and besides, there is too much of a conflict of interest in having the use of the impeachment power lead to a change in party, and the people voting to impeach being under the authority of someone who could attain higher office through impeaching the president.

  19. joe,

    They’d have to approve it, yes, but I’m guessing that blocking this would not be a priority if the replacement wasn’t coming from inside the WH and it would divert energy from the Dems laying the wood to Bush and Cheney.

  20. Nancy Pelosi: Just a pant suit away from the Oval Office.

  21. A more perfect illustration of the uniform distribution of hypocrisy across both major parties would be harder to imagine.

  22. Surely you’re not suggesting Pelosi would be worse?

    Well, Mad, I know Bush is Hitler/Stalin/Pol Pot/Mao/Sodom Hussein/and a truckload of pipe bomb throwing militia-lovin’ right wing rednecks, all rolled into one (and dumb as a stump), but Nance isn’t very high on my list of faves to sit in the Oval Office. I’d take Cheney, WITH his shotgun and bad heart over Pelosi, hands down. And I didn’t vote for any Bush or even for Reagan.

  23. This is one of those things where you don’t know who to laugh at. Replublicans for doing exactly what Democrats did when they were the minority, or Democrats for behaving the same way as Republicans when they were the majority.

    For the record: it’s a dumb idea, and this gives Pelosi the chance to recant the concept.

  24. “I doubt under those circumstances that some one as controversial as Santy would be picked”

    I’d say that both Romney and Giuliani would be ahead of Santorum as a replacement VP. What better way to get publicity for the ’08 run?

  25. Whenever Congress proposes a new bill of rights, consider their record on following the original.

  26. RC, Paul,

    Did you see a link in which Pelosi rebutted the idea? Because I didn’t.

  27. Good. It’s nice to see Congress working the way it’s supposed to work.

  28. Unless Democrats are as stupid as everyone thinks portionsthey are, don’t expect them to consider this.

    From the “included” sections, I don’t see how this should in any way be controversial. The Republicans should have had this policy in place when they were the majority, and the Democrats should put this policy in place now. Unless you find it a threat to representative democracy that

    Bills get to the House floor only after full subcommittee and committee consideration; members should generally have the opportunity to offer amendments and engage in debate; and members should be given at least 24 hours to study bills and conference reports before they come up for a floor vote.

    From Salon.com. I don’t see why the Republicans should have refused this, nor do I see why the Democrats should.

  29. I agree. In fact, I will be very pleased if the Democrats accept this, and that is not because I am looking for the Democrats to fail. They will look pretty respectable if they agree to this, and it will be good for democracy in this country. Plus I saw an article where Pelosi promised she would accept these terms if the roles were reversed (coincidentally, they are). So if she doesn’t do it, she will be called out as a liar on talk radio.

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