When Anthony Weiner went crazy last week with frustration over the obsession in congress over procedure, he was ignoring the fact that both sides play the same game. It is, unfortunately, how the lawmaking business works. So, you have to wonder, what was the point of his wonderful performance?
Weiner also accused Republicans in his tirade of hiding behind the procedure in which the bill was brought to the floor. But was this really cowardice or were there actually legitimate complaints about the procedure?
The bill would have passed easily under normal House rules, but Democrats opted to consider it under a procedure that requires a two-thirds vote for approval rather than a simple majority. This move was made to block potential GOP amendments to the measure. As a result, the bill failed to win the needed two-thirds majority by a 255-159 vote.
It appears that what prompted the procedural move on the part of Democrats was a desire not to be forced to go the record in support, or opposition, to illegal immigrants.
One amendment Republicans were eager to present would have barred the bill from covering illegal immigrants sickened by Trade Center dust. Do illegal immigrants really deserve health benefits that should solely go to American citizens? The Democrats probably thought it would be better to take a chance on the bill failing than to be put on record supporting the illegal immigrants.
The problem is that Democrats, in order to win votes from mainstream voters, need to downplay their attempts to coddle illegals, who they expect to be an important voting block once Dems can make them legal. At the same time, they need to keep illegals thinking that they are willing to go to the mats in their defense.
The challenge of figuring out who to pander to is, perhaps, the source of Weiner's angst.