Michelle Bachman versus Ron Paul


Top House Democrats pounced on Republicans’ mishandling of a routine vote Tuesday evening, which caused a bill to extend provisions of the Patriot Act go down in defeat.

The Democrats said Wednesday morning that the failed vote is a sign that Republican leaders aren’t prepared to handle the practical difficulties of governing.

“I don’t think they’ve found their center yet,” Democratic Caucus conference chair Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) said. “It seems they’re coming apart at the seams.”

AND Item:

Only 26 Republicans voted against the bill, and there are 52 members of the Republican Tea Party Caucus, whose chairperson, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn)  voted for reauthorization along with most of the rest of her caucus. As Slate’s Dave Weigel  points out, only eight of the 26 were Republican freshmen elected last November. One hundred and twenty-two Democrats voted against reauthorization, I suspect most of them just because they could.

So how did the bill fail? Basically Republicans were trying to pass the bill under “suspension of the rules,” which is considered the process for passing “noncontroversial” legislation.  You need a two thirds majority of those present to pass bills that way. For one brief night, Republicans in the House learned what it was like to be a Democrat in the Senate.

Leave all this aside.  The really interesting storyline here concerns the battle between two supposed Presidential candidates, both representative of strains of something called the “Tea Party”.  Do you side with Ron Paul and his small grouping allying with Dennis Kucinich and his small grouping backed by more cynical Democrats —

— and Ron Paul is running for President, and driving for support to win the CPAC preference poll, sure to lead to moanings from everyone else at the conference who’d rather vote for someone solid like–

Michelle Bachman — supposedly running –, leading the fight to bring extend the Patriot Act (which will inevitably happen, as the Security State is a bipartisan affair, with only an alliance of Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich fighting against it).

Depends on which strain:

The failure of the two-thirds vote – with 26 Republicans joining 122 Democrats to vote against it – fractured GOP unity on a key national-security issue and put a faction of the conservative House in line with liberals like Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D) of Ohio, who urged the tea party movement to stay true to its ideals by defeating laws like the Patriot Act that give government the “deepest reach into our everyday lives.”

It’s hard to trust the politics of this thing.

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