It’s Amateur Hour (Again) in the House of Representatives

A friend emails me to provide today’s media/political analysis:

So, I’m just waiting for the inevitable piece from Ron Fournier asking why and how Obama and the Democrats could have let the Farm Bill debacle in the House occur. Or, how this demonstrates a lack of leadership in Washington, particularly by Obama. Or, how the leaderlessness of the White House is infusing into the House through some osmosis-like process and corrupting John Boehner.

Or, just the typical “I don’t know much about all this stuff, but I know that Obama is in the White House and the usually guaranteed bi-partisan Farm Bill died in the House, so there you go.”

Most of the reporting on this has been he-said-she-said stuff about which party is to blame for the bill going down in the House. But what very few of these pieces point out is that Democrats weren’t expected to produce more than 40 votes in the first place. In the end, they only managed to produce 24, thanks to Republican insistence on squeezing in one final gleeful, screw-you amendment at the last minute, courtesy of the GOP’s tea party wing. If they’d left well enough alone, they probably could have kept all 40 Democrats on board. But so what? Even if Democratic support had stayed firm, the bill still would have lost. It didn’t lose because of Democrats, it lost because the Republican leadership couldn’t control the amendment process and then couldn’t count noses in their own caucus. As Nancy Pelosi said, it was amateur hour.


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