Thursday, March 10, 2005

Eating Their Words

The House Democrats have released a scathing report called Broken Promises: The Death of Deliberative Democracy. It details the institutional abuse in the 108th Congress at the hands of the Republicans. The best part is that throughout the report they use the words of Republicans declaring their outrage at the abuses of the House rules — at the hands of the Democratic majority before they lost power in 1994. As Rep. David Drier (R-CA) noted so well in 1993,

When Members are elected to Congress with the expectation that they will be exercising their rights as lawmakers on behalf of their constituents, only to be told they may not fully exercise those rights on the House floor, something has gone radically haywire with the constitutional scheme of things. While the majority party always has the right to establish the rules and legislative agenda for the House, it should recognize the need to place responsible limits on those powers which permit all Members to fully participate in the truly deliberative process and of all the people to be fully represented in their national legislature.

Read the rest here (PDF). It’s 50 pages with another 100 or so of appendicies, and it’s good reading, especially the parts where you get people like former congressman and now cable-TV talk show host Joe Scarborough to really open up.

Ten years ago, Republican congressional candidates like me were running as Washington outsiders promising to balance the budget and pay off the federal debt. We campaigned against the Imperial Congress and promised Americans that if we got elected, we would be different. We lied.

The report concludes with a list of demands — well, in their case, suggestions — from the Democrats on how to get things back on track. Nothing will happen, but at least they’re making noise.