The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Saturday, April 23, 2005

Energy bill - exculpating those dirty Dems

The point I made yesterday bears repeating:

without the support of Democratic members, the energy bill would not have passed the House.

(Normally, House Dems can let themselves off the hook when they vote for GOP bills with a mind to whoring votes or contributions: the bill would have passed anyway. Not so with HR 6 [1].)

Interesting to see how this example of Democratic cooperation with Tom DeLay is being spun by some Dem bloggers: Josh Marshall's only reference to the votes on HR 6 link a couple of sites interested only (apparently) in the MTBE issue, which consider the vote on the Capps motion (RC 129), rather than that on passage: one considers only Reps with MTBE problems in their district - only two such Dems voted with the bad guys on Capps; and the League of Conservation Voters, which identifies its Tom's Tainted Team in a way that automatically excludes Democrats: by only counting recipients of contributions from DeLay's ARMPAC.

Now that's what I call Enron accounting!

Atrios ignores HR 6's passage altogether (to be fair, his cat photos are rather cute); also nada from Drum or Yglesias.

As far as the base is concerned - they aren't. To judge from Democratic Underground - if it's not top of the forum lists, it can't be the burning topic of the day.

I can only assume that, with so many House Dems going off the reservation, it's not a good topic to generate the pure passion of liberal righteous indignation!

  1. Perhaps some GOP nays would have switched if the whip count had shown the Dems defeating the bill. Thanks to the Forty-One, we'll never know.


The alternative explanation for the GOP defections would be catch and release: DeLay's whip count told him the Dem votes for the bill were in the bag, so the defectors were allowed their day off the reservation.

I've no evidence either way. The number of GOP defectors seems pretty high [1] - and, what with his ethical problems mounting, this doesn't seem a good time for DeLay to be showing weakness.

On the other hand, letting the boys blow off steam is also part of the bag of tricks of legislative management.

  1. One effect of catch and release is that it gives an official stamp of approval to Republicans voting against the party line.

    That might appear good for discipline - for dissenters to appear like puppets, rather like the church in the PRC being officially approved; or the sort of opposition parties that sit in the Egyptian parliament.

    But, the higher the number of dissenters, and the frequency of dissents on important votes, the more destabilising the effect on the discipline system.

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