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Anthony Weiner's rant captures Dem impotence

Everybody is talking about Anthony Weiner's high-octane rant on the House floor last night, in which he fulminated over Republican opposition to a bill that would have spent billions on health care for people sickened by the smoke and debris from 9/11:

Dems pursued a procedural tack that required two thirds of the House to prevail, enabling Republicans to defeat it, and obviously opposing this bill was a morally questionable thing to do. But I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that Weiner's rant doesn't do anyone any good -- least of all Dems. Republicans want Dems to respond this way -- to fulminate and rant about procedure and about their inability to pass legislation, even though they enjoy comfortable majorities.

Whatever their substantive objections to each piece of legislation Republicans oppose, their larger game plan is to render government ineffective in order to deny Dems victores, create a sense that government is broken and has failed to deliver, stoke anti-incumbent fervor, and ensure that Dems bear the brunt of blame for government dysfunction.

Thats's hardly a groundbreaking point, obviously, but Dems need to stop responding superficially to Republican opposition, and tailor their response to the GOP's underlying strategy. Weiner repeatedly yelled about the GOP's "shame," but this misses the point. Republicans are not going to be shamed into doing what Dems want them to do. Republicans are pursuing a concerted game plan here that Dems need to reckon with more directly.

Indeed, Dems would be far better served if they kept calmly repeating that Republicans want government to fail, in order to breed cynicism and to get voters to give up on the idea that government works for them.

By the way, there's precedent for this. Remember when former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle erupted on the Senate floor in 2002 in response to Bush's rank politicization of national security in the runup to the midterm elections? That didn't work, either.

To be clear, I'm all for the kind of passion Weiner is showing here, but let's direct it properly. Don't get into a shouting match about procedure. As emotionally satisfying as it may be to watch, raging against the GOP opposition machine's successful efforts to tie Dems in knots just makes Dems look whiny, weak and impotent.

UPDATE, 11:02 a.m.: Judging by the comments, I need to be a bit clearer here. I'm not saying that Weiner isn't right on the issue, or that he shouldn't show passion about it. That's all good. All I'm saying is that raging against successful Republican efforts to block individual Dem initiatives isn't enough. Raging about GOP obstructionism in general isn't enough, either. The point is that Dems need to build an effective larger case that transcends individual issues and reckons more directly with the strategy underlying all the GOP obstructionism. That's all I'm saying.

By Greg Sargent  |  July 30, 2010; 10:04 AM ET
Categories:  House Dems , House GOPers  
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Next: ADL: Some opponents of Ground Zero mosque are bigots, but we should let them win anyway


Thank you for pointing this out (again). I hope this post makes its way up the House food chain. Maybe then cooler heads will prevail.

Posted by: KathleenHusseininMaine | July 30, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Kathleen. No one will listen tho

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 30, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

yes, but what if the anger weiner displayed gets enough attention to bring the message of rank republican obstructionism to the fore, if only briefly, of enough people's attention that the message gets some traction?

the shame remark was not directed primarily at the republicans, but at people who might not have otherwise heard weiner's message if not for the rant factor.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 30, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

You mean this is a Howard Dean Scream Moment?

SO how else to communicate how p*ssed the Dem base is at GOP obstruction? A stern speech, a letter, an (gasp) "article"?

Posted by: Papagnello | July 30, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Greg, I think your point is well taken. It's why the Dems. are so often the party that can't tie its own shoes.

Posted by: akaoddjob | July 30, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Great work Greg. While so much of the netroots is salivating over this rant, you nailed it with your spot-on analysis.

This rant does nothing but indulge our desire for anger and hand-waving against the GOP. It's cathartic, but ultimately ineffective.

Great job

Posted by: dansachar | July 30, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Ever think maybe some things are worth fighting for?

Posted by: mikefromArlington | July 30, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure inability to pass legislation is the biggest perception (or concrete) problem the Democrats face at present.

Posted by: michaeljamesdrew | July 30, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

mike, did I say that Dems shouldn't fight? I think that's the opposite of what I was saying.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 30, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

He wasn't getting into a shouting match about procedure but rather about right and wrong. He was shouting about the GOP's abuse of procedure and the volume may actually assist Democrats by focusing on that abuse in simplistic terms. IOW, the myriad, arcane rules of the House provide a vast array of means for stalling or killing legislation (as well as getting things passed) and the GOP have become expert at utilizing these rules, despite the resounding success of this Congress in passing major legislation. Why haven't they done more, however, is often asked of the Democrats (and the media stokes the false story of Democratic failure to date - yes, you WP) and this rant shines a light on it. The GOP whines that they would vote their conscience, if they had one, er, if the process had been the right one, but rarely fail to vote for something even after the Democrats bend over backwards to provide the GOP with a chance to take part in crafting the legislation.

Posted by: lgwarr2 | July 30, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

two of the scarcest resources in discourse today are attention and credibility. weiner's angry speech on the floor certainly are getting attention.

and they give credibility to the dem argument that the republicans are cynically obstructing *everything* just to make the dems look bad, as greg argues.

this is just the kind of tactic to bust through the republican narrative that government, especially dem 'controlled' government doesn't work.

this brings attention and credibility to the fact that government is being slowed down by across the board republican obstructionism.

that's good.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 30, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

lgwarr2 -- he did get into an argument about procedure. he kept saying that Republicans should just vote no instead of objecting to what Dems were doing procedurally.

My point is not that Weiner shouldn't have said Republicans are wrong on this issue --that's fine. My point is that Dems need to build a larger case here that transcends each standoff and reckons more directly with the GOP's larger game plan here.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 30, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

What blahg said, both times.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 30, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

"Republicans want Dems to respond this way -- to fulminate and rant about procedure and about their inability to pass legislation, even though they enjoy comfortable majorities."

It's not a comfortable majority when it can't override procedure. Republicans have taken filibustering to a whole new level, and we all know if they ever get back in charge, many democrats will vote for cloture because they simply aren't obstructionist about EVERYTHING.

I appreciate the rant. He's right.

Posted by: SDJeff | July 30, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Greg wrote: '...Dems would be far better served if they kept calmly repeating that Republicans want government to fail'

Wouldn't this just support the GOP's consistent mantra that Gov't is bad, already? Meaning a win-win for the Republicans?

Let's see Greg how much press the President gets today when he touts how the bailouts of the Detroit car companies have been a rousing success. How will that play out in the media? Will the Chamber of Commerce pronounce a mea culpa on Fox?

I think not.

Posted by: bmcchgo | July 30, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

SD Jeff, Sue, gonna try one more time.

He was right on the merits of this issue. That's fine. And passion is great. But unless Dems build a BROADER CASE that directly reckons with what Republicans are really doing here, it won't work. That's all I'm saying.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 30, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

"My point is that Dems need to build a larger case here that transcends each standoff and reckons more directly with the GOP's larger game plan here."

Agreed. Point taken.

Posted by: lgwarr2 | July 30, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Greg, I have to disagree with you here. This is unfortuantely how you get your point out in the public arena today thanks to how our media works. Democrats can try reasoned arguments about GOP obstructionism and how they ahve a larger agenda of making america fail so they can get into power. And nobody will give them air time to listen. You can't make a reasoned statement anymore and get coverage. The press only covers controversy and incindiary comments. Anthony Weiner could have left the floor and talked to any reporter and commented how this is a sign of GOP trying to stop any governemtn action to help people. And it might get a blurb in his local paper. And the national media would continue their argument about the president going on the View or the latest incinndiary statement from Michelle Bachman or Sara Palin or Newt Gingrich or some other powerless Republican. And you yourself would right some piece in the next 5 days about how the Democrats can't get their message out or find a way to get people to hear their larger message. Oh yeah, and give us at least 2 Bachman quotes and 3 Sara Palin tweets or facebook comments in the same timeframe.

A former half term governor and a 2nd term back bencher in the House get media coverage for everything they say because they are not reasoned, well thought out, making a logical argument or anything like that. The media doesn't want that, they want to talk about "such and such said this, why did they say it, what does it mean, it's so out there we must analyze the validity of it becasue it is so counter intuitive."

If you want to get your message out there today you ahve to work with the media we have unfortunately, not the media we might want.

Posted by: zattarra | July 30, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

zattarra, I'm not objecting to showing passion, and I think Weiner is right on the issue. I'm objecting to the failure to build an effective LARGER CASE that reckons directly with what the GOP is doing here.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 30, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse


no one is saying this is the be all and end all of dem messaging strategy.

it's a good start in building that larger narrative. dems have been calmly making this case for over a year. righteous anger is sometimes necessary to get attention, right?

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 30, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

i think david kurtz puts it well:

"My Kind of Democrat

I don't know Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY). We've never met or had any one-on-one dealings. For all I know, he may be unbearable in person. But his feisty public persona -- his no-holds barred, pugilistic, in-your-face approach to politics -- is a glimpse of what a muscular progressive attitude and approach to politics would look like. His indignation doesn't lead him to smug hand-wringing. When he's outraged by something, he actually gets outraged. When his opponents are being idiots, he doesn't aloofly dismiss them; he reacts as if they are idiots. "

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 30, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Greg, I beg to differ. It's all about emotion these days. Quietly adhering to procedure with calm rationality is getting Democrats nowhere. Besides, Republicans playing politics with the well-being of those who risked their health and lives on September 11th is an unconscionable, and should be held up for all to see. The ugliness of Republican obstructionism should be met with outrage.

Posted by: RedsKid2 | July 30, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse


"Indeed, Dems would be far better served if they kept calmly repeating that Republicans want government to fail, in order to breed cynicism and to get voters to give up on the idea that government works for them."

What? I'm pretty sure the idea that Government doesn't work is the GOP's ultimate goal. How would Dems furthering that cynicism of Government in general help them in the long run?

Maybe you mistyped or something? Because that makes absolutely zero sense. If people don't trust Government, then the GOP wins. They WANT people to distrust Government, so they can dismantle it..."I want Government small enough to drown it in the bathtub" I believe was the phrase.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 30, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

All, please see the update I added.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 30, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Well said. BTW, Rep. Wiener gave a reprise of his rant and shoutdown this morning on "the Network that Shall not be Named", and sounded as idiotic and childish there as he did on the House floor.
Maybe he shouldn't've tried to slam the bill through without allowing any Republican amendment attempts, especially since, having a clear majority, the Dems could easily defeat any Republican amendments they deemed inappropriate, and then passed the bill on a simple majority vote. Instead, he screamed and blathered when his "slam dunk" attempt was rebuffed.

Posted by: OttoDog1 | July 30, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

But how do you build that larger case with a media structure that changes topic as soon as the next shiny object is waved at them or that will only repond to big controversy but will not air policy.

My wife is home all day these days. She watched the presidents address yesterday and his appearance on the View. She tells me both were quality appearances covering substance and quality. I just catch the news when I get home from work. What I know about the president's appearances yesterday is he mentioned Snooki and is not going to Chelsea Clinton's weddding.

You tell me how exactly you build a broader message with a news media that is this superficial and stupid?

Posted by: zattarra | July 30, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

BBQ, I didn't say Dems should say, "government doesn't work." I said Dems should say, "Republicans want government to fail so you give up on it."

I thought that was pretty clear...

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 30, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse


Weiner's video is going to grab attention. It will get probably get played on cable teevee news. He may actually even be invited on to discuss the issue. To the average voter, they won't get the nuanced arguments about procedure, but they will see a passionate Democratic advocate for his constituents some of whom happen to be sickened 9/11 first responders and clean up workers. The takeaway for most people who really don't follow politics is going to be that a bill to help these American heroes from 9/11 with medical care was defeated by the GOP. The rest of the details will be lost in white noise.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 30, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Republicans are merely asking the Democrats, "Where does the spending end? Who else needs to be compensated? What are the limits?" And the Democrat response is irrelevant rants and feigned sympathy for an endless line of victims. Because their spending wants have no end and there are no limits.

Like the toddler in the supermarket who throws a screaming fit when he doesn't get everything he wants, someone has to step up and say "no."

Posted by: RossOdom | July 30, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Greg, aren't you glad you don't have a board full of ditto heads?? LOL

Love, sue (and I mean that!)

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 30, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Greg, what exactly would a "an effective larger case" entail? Do you not think that's being attempted already? Who should this larger case convince? Who is the target audience? I think the target audience is more prone to respond to angry passion these days.

Posted by: RedsKid2 | July 30, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

@ greg's update:

what i think many are objecting to is the sense that you're arguing that weiner's remarks *don't* begin to accomplish waht you're calling for.

they're getting attention and they have credibility, both of which can be built on to keep making the argument that republicans are being cynically obstructionist.

just as the sherrod fiasco threw a monkey wrench in the fax/breitbart driven media narrative machine, weiner's outburst will draw attentiona nd give credibility to the trope that rebuicans are deliberately crippling the business of government.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 30, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Olympia Snowe did the same kind of thing on the small business bill. She was ripped, about procedural stuff.

Weiner has a point. He's right. It's good to get the conversation going. But it's only going among people like us. The Dems need a little Art of War gaming to get things done and to either flip expectations this fall or at least limit damage. One front would be getting some good messaging out to senior citizens. Another might be to take a page from the Reagan playbook and say nothing bad about fellow Dems (but then we wouldn't be Dems--although Obama should rip Rendell a new one for his "beneath the dignity" BS). But the most important thing is to get things passed without playing into Republican hands. Leadership is about looking strong. Kick some ass, people.

Posted by: KathleenHusseininMaine | July 30, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

This bill (HR 847) was introduced 02/2009, but made it out of committee and to the floor in May, and is only now coming up for a vote. Why the delay?

Posted by: OttoDog1 | July 30, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Weiner is for Weiner and he will now be on every cable channel and the Sunday Talk Shows........what a sincere guy. NOT

Posted by: Jimpol | July 30, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse


"I thought that was pretty clear..."

Ahhh, I see. I just read it wrong.

I don't disagree that you are right in the message that needs to get out there. But that's not an argument that you can just jump into without sounding utterly hyperbolic.

I think Wiener's rant gets close to that. The way he attacks the GOP for saying they support the bill, but still vote it down...that's a step in the direction you are talking about.

If people see the GOP say they support something, but then vote it down and cite bad procedure as the reason, the American people will call bullsh*t. It just doesn't make sense, logically. If you support something, vote for it. If you don't, then don't. It's a simple message that everyone can understand.

Rep. Wiener is bringing that bullsh*t into view. This opens up the line of attack about WHY they would vote down a bill that they supposedly support. That's where the point you make in this point comes in. It's the WHY. But you need to show the what, before you can explain the why.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 30, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

What KathleenHusseininMaine said, 1000 times.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 30, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I understand your point, Greg, and I concur but sometimes the first shot fired is bound to be the loudest.

Posted by: adelef_2000 | July 30, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

The Republicans have shown over and over and over again that they can't be shamed into doing the right thing, the moral thing, but they can be voted out of office and replaced by people who will.

Posted by: hootie1fan | July 30, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Greg Sargent writes
"The point is that Dems need to build an effective larger case that transcends individual issues and reckons more directly with the strategy underlying all the GOP obstructionism."

Greg, the problem is that Dems don't do strategy. They think a rational argument about doing the right thing should be enough; and they're right - it should be enough. But time & again, it has proven to not be enough. Repubs, on the other hand, are very effective at crafting a message that resonates with voters - even when the message, or the 'brand' if you want to think about it that way - doesn't represent what's really happening. Think Death Panels. The corporate example is Wonder Bread - initially marketed as the healthful alternative "It's white & therefore PURE - and its fortified with various vitamins and minerals". Now we know better, but it literally took decades for the masses to figure it out - and some still haven't, or don't care.

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 30, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I disagree Greg. While it does show Democratic impotence in the face of a united minority, if no one mentions and raves about it no one will know anything about Republican obstructionism.

Posted by: Alex3 | July 30, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Whiner Wiener misses the point, as do most liberals who think that just because the idea is good that an imperfect bill should just be passed as is because it's all for mom and apple pie. Since the GOP was not allowed to propose amendments they voted down the procedural game to push it along without any debate or amendments. So much for the most open legislative hope and change nonsense.

Posted by: rogernebel | July 30, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

greg, please answer this: i agree that the dem message has to be about the broader republican obstructionist strategy, buthow do weiner's remarks not get the ball rolling?

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 30, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

The Republicans are too busy showboating about a proposed Mosque near ground zero to actually spend any time paying attention to the victims and responders of 9/11.

Posted by: wd1214 | July 30, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Greg - here's a slogan that makes your point and will easily fit on a bumpersticker:

Republicans campaign on the idea that government doesn't work, and once elected, set about proving it.

That's just a gateway statement to the larger point - Republicans are hostile to government, and any institution run by people who are hostile to its existence cannot be expected to perform well. It also opens the door to questions about why people who don't believe in government want to be a part of it.

Posted by: JennOfArk | July 30, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse


and now the adl comes out against it, too:

"Not a Shining Moment

The ADL -- which, let's remember, is the Anti-Defamation League -- comes out against the so-called Ground Zero Mosque.

The argument, which you can see in the link above, is painful and tortured. We believe in freedom of religion. They have every right to build there. But just this one time, let's make an exception.

Sad. "

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 30, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

OttoDog1 is bringing up a salient point. Doesn't anybody find it odd that all of a sudden it takes a super majority in the House to pass something? Yet Obamacare passed on a simple majority vote, why the difference?

I think the Democrats wanted the bill to fail, for the same reason the Republicans voted against it, to stir the base. Hardly any one is paying attention now, it's high summer and people are disengaged except for us. The Speaker required this super majority so it would fail and Rep. Weiner could manufacture high outrage while the Republicans could show how strong they are on spending. Politically, everyone wins.

This is Kabuki. You can criticize Republican instransigence (I for one am amazed at their cohesiveness. I wonder what their internal polling is showing) but any attempt at outrage over this is manufactured and being used to manipulate you.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | July 30, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I didn't realize that the Dems needed 2/3 of the vote for this legislation but, that still doesn't change my mind about the fact that all I'm hearing is that the Republicans voted no. I think it's dangerous for Republicans or anyone else to believe that people won't see it this way either. My reaction would be the opposite of what Republicans expect in November. My mind doesn't work that way. As a voter I'd be thinking the only way to get anything done, anything passed is to get rid of as many Republicans as possible. Their strategy has been clear but, misguided. The notion that Dems run the place is BS. The Republicans have just as much responsibility to govern even in the majority as the Dems. Otherwise, why are they even there? It's like they're freeloading. No, it appears that beltway wisdom is way off. If you want to get things done, GET RID OF REPUBLICANS!

Posted by: roxsteady | July 30, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, I meant even in the minority! Get rid of them!

Posted by: roxsteady | July 30, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

All, my post on the Anti Defamation League's opposition to the Ground Zero mosque:

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 30, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

@RossOdom : "Where does the spending end? Who else needs to be compensated? What are the limits?"

Funny how that only comes up when talking about working people who are unemployed or in this case disabled BECAUSE THEY WERE HELPING TO SAVE LIVES AFTER A TERRORIST ATTACK.

Thought experiment....

Let's apply this to tax cuts.

"When does the tax cutting end? Who else needs a [more of a] tax cut? [Those making over 250K/year, massive corporations that hide profits overseas, giant oil companies that are the most profitable companies in the US...]. What are the limits [of tax cuts]? Of course, tax cutting has nothing to do with the DEFICIT [/snark], which republicans regularly demagogue when they DID NOTHING ABOUT THE EXPLODING DEFICIT WHEN THEY HAD THE POWER TO DO SO.

The same exercise can be done with deregulation?

"Where does the regulation rollback end? Who else needs to regulate themselves? What are the limits of deregulation?"

I am happy that Democrats are supporting the front line first responders who were injured while doing a very dangerous (many first responders died at ground zero), not particularly well paid, and often thankless and unnoticed job.

Posted by: srw3 | July 30, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Greg - the problem I have with your post is that you construct a false dichotomy. You treat Weiner's very passionate rant and the broader strategy that you favor as mutually exclusive approaches. Perhaps they can operate in tandem. Consider that.

Posted by: darrren12000 | July 30, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I haven't had the chance to watch the rant or anything else. Has anyone pointed out that the GOP were perfectly content in using footage from 9/11 in their last convention, but now can't be bothered to help pay for healthcare for 9/11 responders?

Posted by: dkp01 | July 30, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

While I agree generally both that Wiener's rant was appropriate and Greg's point that the message needs to be better focused, I wonder also what amendments the GOP wanted to offer to this particular bill and why the Dem leadership decided to pursue this bill using this procedural method.

Posted by: cmccauley60 | July 30, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

This is the type of passion that I think will motivate Democrats to get out and vote. At least his support for the 9/11 responders was real--there are people who will be hurt by the Republicans' approach of gotcha politics on procedural issues.

Posted by: rtc2 | July 30, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Reality Check:

Weiner is up for reelection, so he was just putting on a display of outrage for the voters in his home district, where the need to take care of those who's health was harmed, is a big issue.

Let me know when Weiner stages a similar show of outrage over the Republicans' demagoguing the proposed Muslim Center.

Why the hell should the American People vote to put Republicans in charge of National Security, when they all can be made to start wetting their beds, just by a simple proposal, made by peaceful Americans, to open a cultural center?!

Republicans are nothing but a party of bed wetting cowards, who are afraid of their own shadows.The Real Terrorists know that; because they saw how the could spook the Republicans and make Tom Ridge hoist his color swatches any time they wished.

I expect that when Tom Ridge urged all Americans to stock on Visquine and Duct Tape, several Terrorists died from convulsions of laughter.

Posted by: Liam-still | July 30, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

@tmwn: You can call it Kabuki or not. The fact is that republicans are blocking funding to compensate first responders that were injured while rescuing people from a terrorist attack. Many first responders were killed there. I can't fathom why this wasn't a voice vote...Could the dems get around this impediment? Maybe, but then we will hear republicans cry foul on using procedural tactics to thwart the will of congress.

Posted by: srw3 | July 30, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Greg - you would have been better served getting all the facts correct - the vote, that required a super-majority was: On Motion to Suspend the Rules and Pass, as Amended: H R 847 James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. The rules required a debate and further amendments. The Dems did not want further debate and GOP amendments and so it tried to ram it through but did not get a super-majority (although it was close at 59%). The following Dems voted against the motion to suspend: Rep. Melissa Bean [D, IL-8], Rep. Robert Berry [D, AR-1], Rep. Bobby Bright [D, AL-2], Rep. Jim Cooper [D, TN-5]. The following Dems abstained: Rep. Christopher Carney [D, PA-10], Rep. William Clay [D, MO-1], Rep. John Conyers [D, MI-14], Rep. Raul Grijalva [D, AZ-7]
Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick [D, MI-13], Rep. Diane Watson [D, CA-33], Rep. Melvin Watt [D, NC-12]. The following GOP voted for the maneuver: Rep. Anh Cao [R, LA-2]
Rep. Charles Dent [R, PA-15]
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen [R, NJ-11]
Rep. Walter Jones [R, NC-3]
Rep. Peter King [R, NY-3]
Rep. Mark Kirk [R, IL-10]
Rep. Leonard Lance [R, NJ-7]
Rep. Frank LoBiondo [R, NJ-2]
Rep. Candice Miller [R, MI-10]
Rep. Tim Murphy [R, PA-18]
Rep. Christopher Smith [R, NJ-4]
Rep. Donald Young [R, AK-0].

In other words, more GOP voted for the suspension than Dems who voted against it. The whips failed in their job. Whiner Wiener was put up to yell and scream. Did they buy you lunch?

Posted by: rogernebel | July 30, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

BTW HR 847 sets up a new organization at NIH and new funding. Who says there is not already sufficient funding for their health care? What happened to the people for the past 18 months while the legislation sat in committee?

Posted by: rogernebel | July 30, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

"The point is that Dems need to build an effective larger case that transcends individual issues and reckons more directly with the strategy underlying all the GOP obstructionism."

I think even people who are sympathetic to this general suggestion would still not have any idea what the heck you're really concretely referring to here, Greg.

Posted by: michaeljamesdrew | July 30, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse


My point is that you are being manipulated. I'm not argueing about the morality of Republican tactics, or even Democratic tactics, those are first principal arguements I doubt we'd agree on. The point I'm making is that this is an intentionally manufactured incident to boost fundraising and turnout of both parties bases.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | July 30, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

When will the citizens in the United States wake up to realize that the Republican Party only cares about the 2% wealthiest citizens (a few Democrats are also on their team). It is so sad to have to say that some of the people (the ignorant, hateful and the bigoted) are planning to vote against their own interests because of the selfsame (ignorance, hatefullness and bigotry).

Posted by: gilbertpb40 | July 30, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

srw3 wrote:
"Could the dems get around this impediment? Maybe, but then we will hear republicans cry foul on using procedural tactics to thwart the will of congress."

Actually, the Dems could've EASILY gotten this passed, if they'd simply allowed the proposal of a few amendments, voted down said amendments, and gone through a simple majority vote.
It makes one wonder WHY thy chose the most difficult route possible, if not to simply rabble-rouse the base instead of serving the responders in question.

Posted by: OttoDog1 | July 30, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

What were the amendments Otto? Were they germane to the bill or was the GOP simply hoping to add or offer right wing talking points that they could use in November?

Posted by: cmccauley60 | July 30, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Why do you call Republicans "Republicans," but you call Democrats "Dems?" That's demeaning and makes them sound like a sissy high school girls' club. Please give them the dignity of calling them "Democrats." Or call Republicans "Reps," "Pubs," "Lics," or "Cans," or better yet, "Can'ts."

Other than that I think your essay described very clearly and succinctly what the Republicans' strategy is, and I thank you for pointing that out.

Federal laws should be changed to make obstruction of government processes a federal crime. It is morally and ethically wrong and should be legally wrong as well. The Republicans' "won't and can't do" stance is also the antithesis of the American "can do" ethic and culture.

Republicans are greviously anti-American and should all be deported. Create a new country, make Bush President, populate it with his cabinet and all Republicans, and let them destroy themselves and their country the way they have destroyed and continue to work fanatically for the destruction of America.

Posted by: foofoofoo | July 30, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

@ cmccauley60,

If they could be easily defeated by the Dems, why does it matter?
The point is, they almost deliberately sabotaged themselves, then scream bloody murder when, as dared by Rep Wiener, the Repubs vote to maintain the rules of the House.

Posted by: OttoDog1 | July 30, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Maybe if Dems would quit putting out stupid bills the Republicans wouldn't find so much objectionable! Follow the rule yourself and quit trying to use ways to get around a majority.

Posted by: LibertarianWoman | July 30, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Hey libs, see you in November. You're damn right we want the Dems and Obama to fail. Every hour of every day. Weiner is a partisan hack, just like all Dems and Obama.

Will some liberal on this board please tell me what it's like to be a useless liberal. Lazy? Killing unborn children? How about hating the military? How about having no God and religion in your life? Like to spend other peoples money? You like to hate guns and are afraid of them? How about disliking the founding fathers? You hate Jews and Israel? You like black people as democratic pets? You think more and more government is the answer because you get more free stuff from the labor of others? How about you don't have to hold a job and working taxpayers will look after you? Your need government run healthcare because a nice car, plasma TV and a cell phone are more important than health insurance payments, so let working people pay for your health care? Paying your fair share of taxes are for other people, not you? Or is it that you think the American flag is just a piece of colored cloth? You like to think that 12-15 trillion dollar debt are just fine, no problem? Liberalism is a true disease and you need help.

Posted by: rchaa27aa | July 30, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Anthony Weiner is a camera-craving, highly anbitious NYC Jew of the Chuck Schumer sort.

While the "Cause" of the so-called "Hero-Rescuers" (who really didn't do much rescuing, just cleanup) is a politically potent one still - people are right to ask "Of course I support Rudy's Heroes....but it's been 9 years...and weren't these guys paid in the past??"

And it is a good and necessary question to raise, as the hero cops and hero firefighters and hero sanitationmen and hero city functionaries mysteriously all had significantly higher levels of health complaints, demands for full lifetime"line of duty pay" from "dust disablement" full retirement pay, and massive lump sum payouts from NYC or the Feds - than the mere private citizen union ironworkers doing the actual debris removal or other engineering company contractors.

For many, this new boon sought by the NYC Congressional delegation would be the 3rd or 4th big trip to the taxpayer feeding trough for the Hero-Rescuers and their lawyers and lobbyists.

If money grew on trees and was as easy to dole out to Heroes as for no money-down houses as it was before it all collapsed? If supply side voodoo economics worked as Bush and Rudy believed? If deficits didn't matter as the nation believed until the Meltdown and we were on our knees begging China to give us survival money for Fed and State Government workers and insolvent banks?
Fine! Then by all means fill up the feeding troughs with money for the Heroes 4th trip to them and ask when NYC's "best" (now mostly golfing full-time in FL and AZ)will likely come back for their 5th and 6th loading up of taxpayer dollars.

No group in US history has ever gotten so enriched from being involved in an enemy attack. No group is likely to in the future. No soldiers actually fighting enemy - now, in the past, in the future - are going to get 3-4 trips to load up on taxpayer dollars for it. And demanding more down the road.

But until you say no, we are done, the Hero-Rescuers groups will see taxpayers as an easy soft touch and keep coming back asking for new fistfullsof Benjamins.

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | July 30, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

"Federal laws should be changed to make obstruction of government processes a federal crime."

I see. Did you even bother to read what was being voted on? The vote was whether or not " Suspend the Rules and Pass..." - sounds like an obstruction of government processes to me. The house rules require a debate and the proposal of amendments. The house leadership decided to try and suspend those rules.

Posted by: rogernebel | July 30, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

@chris: "Anthony Weiner is a camera-craving, highly anbitious NYC Jew of the Chuck Schumer sort."

and just what the hell does that mean?

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 30, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Should the Congress commit billions of dollars to anything through a procedural shortcut?

I'm sure it happens all the time, but it seems irresponsible not to do it through normal procedures where a majority vote would suffice.

Posted by: InTheMiddle | July 30, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

All that Anthony Weiner did was give the right permission to paint the left as a bunch of raging lunatics. Having said that, the right is totally lacking in actual merit here and this is hardly the first time that Anthony Weiner has gone off on the Republicans. What's really interesting, to me, is that the guy on the other side of that rant was Joe Barton.

Posted by: benintn | July 30, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

@trollmcwingnut: Have you considered giving your moniker to rchaa27aa, given his unhinged rant. He makes you look like a moderate....

Posted by: srw3 | July 30, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

All Republicans know how to do is block everyth... oh what's the point in saying anything.. everyone knows what's going on.. tear the country down.. win the election.. get voted in.. do nothing.. get reelected.. do nothing.. bash the other side.. rinse lather repeat. Hope all these Republicans burn in a very warm spot in hell.

Posted by: cmsatown | July 30, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

To Chris Ford - not only is your comment borderline over the edge attacking Jews (or a certain sort, mind you), but you're wrong on the facts. The bill here would actually NOT help lawyers and lobbyists. To the contrary, it would eliminate bureaucracy and red tape, eliminate the need to litigate in order to obtain benefits, and create a much more humane process of applications for funding. This would put the burden on the government agency accepting or denying the claims, and not on the lawyers or the victims fighting for funds.

You got it exactly backwards. Read the bill.

Posted by: benintn | July 30, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse


No way! To paraphrase the late Chuck Heston, "You can have my Nic when you can pry it from cold dead fingers!" ;-)

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | July 30, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

As I write this sitting two blocks away from the WTC site, I'm am so sick of pundits and politicians within the Beltway who seem to care more about the "game" than about the consequences of their votes. As a "non-partisan", forcing a 2/3rds vote on the bill to avoid election-season-motivated amendments to challenge benefits for any illegal immigrants maimed in the Towers (heaven forbid that we as a nation care about the kitchen workers and other low-pay workers hurt that day) seemed reasonable to me. The 9/11 attacks were unique. The surviving civilians and first responders who suffer serious health consequences, and the businesses and municipalities for whom they worked, had no clue that terrorists attacking America would harm them so. Asking our nation as a whole to help - in real financial ways rather than just platitudes - seemed right to me. And I'm glad that Congressman Weiner screamed about it.

Posted by: exDCinNY | July 30, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

"There they go again" should be the theme song for the Democrats this fall.

Posted by: mdoweary | July 30, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Greg. You are attempting to inject logic into a politically charged environment where logic plays little, if any role. Weiner hit the ball out of the park with his rant. The Republicans, despite being in decidedly minority position in Congress, have achieved a great deal of success in agitating their base, a significant number of independents, and a diverse crowd of libertarians through over-the-top rhetoric bordering on the fanciful (if not insane). I have seen countless floor speeches in the past 18 months where a cast of Conservative representatives and senators have branded Democrats as anti-American socialists and communists. Did you see calm discussions of policy at the various town halls last year? Are Bachman and Palin effective because they are logical? Is the weeping orange guy, Boehner effective because he is logical or because he publicly rants about the evil Democrats? No, Weiner has it right -- you fight fire with fire my friend. Democrats have spent the past 18 months appealing to America's better sense and rational side in the midst of an economic downturn which has many (a majority?) of Americans reacting to events in a visceral and tactile fashion. Weiner, the Democrat leadership and our President need to get fired up and vocal and drop the professorial approach --- America wants action and not more lectures.

Posted by: army164 | July 30, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

You are the one who is missing the point. He picked the perfect bill to rage out about. How many people will not be in favor of providing medical care to 9/11 first responders? How many people would be disgusted that the Republicans are blocking it?

As a result of his rant this video is all over the internet and on TV. People are going to see it. If it wasn't for his rant this bill wouldn't even get a mention. Republicans are going to suffer as a result of this or they will yield and let it pass. Either way it is a win.

Posted by: viktro1 | July 30, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

You are the one who is missing the point. He picked the perfect bill to rage out about. How many people will not be in favor of providing medical care to 9/11 first responders? How many people would be disgusted that the Republicans are blocking it?

As a result of his rant this video is all over the internet and on TV. People are going to see it. If it wasn't for his rant this bill wouldn't even get a mention. Republicans are going to suffer as a result of this or they will yield and let it pass. Either way it is a win.

Posted by: viktro1 | July 30, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Will Greg Sargent ever grow weary of this poor, tired, shopworn and threadbare frame? To find out, be sure to tune in tomorrow for another exciting adventure of, "HOW HAVE DEMOCRATS FAILED *YOU* TODAY?" See you then.

Posted by: CalD | July 30, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Weiner has a foaming at the mouth break with sanity because the republicans won't rubber stamp his agenda.

And this is news?

Posted by: wave41 | July 30, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Greg, for once, you're just totally wrong. I am not the kind of person who relishes yelling or conflict. But that was enormously satisfying because every word he said was right. The Republicans are hypocrites who will not openly take a position of denying health care to 9/11 responders and related folks, and stand by their vote. They are cowards.

And they are cowards, as shown by the mysterious "gentleman" off camera to our right, who try to shout down their opponents and break the rules of debate, because shouting down is all that such Republicans and Tea Party activists can manage as a substitute for rational debate. I'm glad he didn't submit to those cowardly bullies and just kept talking.

This clip is not about clever political posing or messaging or even of that day to day stuff. This is about authenticity, breaking through, speaking for all of us who feel this way, and giving us a voice to believe in. You are reacting with your mind instead of your guts. Compare this to Rick Santorum's rant (which I hated and disagreed with), which pretty much kicked off the Tea Party movement -- not to some old Tom Daschle thing.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter1 | July 30, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse


Like many of the sharper observers one finds in politics, you are correct in your analysis, but wrong about the solution. Yes, exposing the strategy by repetition across media helps (though I wouldn't say that calmness is helpful at all). However, there are really only two things you can do that will have any effect in a situation like this: 1. Force an issue to the floor that's large enough where opposition will generate public outrage in itself--Like the government shutdown in the 1990s that turned the tide for Clinton, Or 2. Express outrage about obstruction on an issue with clear moral implications, and speak so loudly that every news cycle has to catch it, as Rep. Weiner did here.

Posted by: socrates2010 | July 30, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes an adult just has to yell at unruly children.

Posted by: jckdoors | July 30, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse


When you answer my questions on the limits you (other liberals, progressives) would place on taxing and spending (limited government), I'll answer yours about the limits of cutting taxes and regulation. And these aren't mental exercises, as you call them, they're the questions on which the continuation of this republic hinge. They're also questions on which the upcoming elections depend.

Posted by: RossOdom | July 30, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

What a surprise that you didn't expose all the facts.

The Republicans SUPPORT a bill to provide health benefits to 911 responders, but wanted the option to introduce amendments.
The architect of the bill is a Republican.
The Dems, however, decided to pull a last minute maneuver requiring an up-down vote with 2/3 to pass. This procedure would not allow any amendments to the bill.
Reason for this maneuver: They knew that they would not have enough Dems to pass the bill. By calling for the up-down vote, they could blame the Republicans for its failure.

Posted by: bethg1841 | July 30, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Republicans HATE American heroes!

Posted by: thomasmc1957 | July 30, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

"Republicans HATE American heroes!"
Posted by: thomasmc1957
Keep trying. If you really wanna scream, lie and posture on a level with scum like Wiener, you'll have to put some effort into it.

Posted by: OttoDog1 | July 30, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

you democrats are so pathetic. This was manufactured moment by weener.

News alert: the democrats are the majority party and have the votes to pass this. They need no Republican votes at all. Of course this writer did not point that out instead electing to manufacture fake indignation.

Posted by: cwtex | July 30, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

@benintn Unless Joe Barton has developed a Long Island accent, the man that Rep. Weiner was asking to sit down was fellow New Yorker Peter King, ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee.

Posted by: lmiller25 | July 30, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

The GOP, and their lame lap dog Tea Party fellow travelers do want the US government to fail. They'd dearly love this, along with the communists who've subverted their ranks. Sadly though, they don't need any help from the communists, they're evil enough all by themselves.

Now, I know that plenty of these Tea Party fools would deny this, but I also know for a fact that it's true. They're just too dumb to catch it. That should come as no surprise though, as it's a small tent of loud fools at this point, too busy with fascist hate to be in touch with anything that looks like reality.

We have evil men like Glenn Beck & his financial backers to thank for that level of idolatry & fascist hate though. It is no shock that a guy who's not rational can't figure out complex issues like subversion.

Posted by: Nymous | July 30, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

I would like to see more of considering single issues on their merit rather than trying to kill them by loading them down with unrelated amendments to cause negative votes.

Weiner is right. If you are for this, vote for it. If you are against it, vote against it and explain your reason. Then let your constituents know how you voted.

We've had enough of this heavy-handed politics of killing good bills which help hurting people by putting on bad unrelated amendments.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | July 30, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

What, Weiner has stopped ranting about gold sales! And another leftist loon, Nymous, accuses the GOP of being marxist. Maybe he also suffers from a lack of shoulders like Weiner. Only girls used to have no, or small shoulders, but this obviously does not apply to the Demoncrats, who are populated with them. The marxists, all claiming to be Demoncrats, are in control for now, but that will all change in November. Then watch the left goes bonkers and become very violent.

Posted by: wyoming6 | July 30, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Republicans wanted to attach an amendment that said that no first responder who was an illegal immigrant could receive health care. They wanted the Democrats to vote this down and be embarrassed. And isn't funny that the Republicans are now filibustering in the Senate - filibustering a tax cut! THE PARTY OF NO, AND G.O.B.P. IS ALIVE AND WELL!

Posted by: Renshaw | July 30, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

That away to go Mr. Weiner!! "Enough is enough and I'm not going to take it anymore" Trying to Deal with the "party of no" you have every right to rant and rave"

Posted by: loiseisenberg | July 30, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats do not need to worry about their competence or impotence..

They have journolist goons like the Sargent to carry, and alter as necessary, what ever message they want.

Remember when you read the journalist that they are not interested in accurate reporting only in manipulating public opinion in a way that furthers their agenda.

Posted by: TECWRITE | July 30, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

perhaps it might be helpful if somebody would explain why the Democrats decided to use this "procedural tack" that required 2/3 majority - rather than the simple majority (50% +1).

Democrats run the House, they control all the committees, they control what comes to the floor and what doesn't. Seems like if they set it up requiring a 2/3 majority - it's their own fault not the Republicans.

Personally, I'm wondering what else is buried in the bill (or tacked on as an amendment) that is causing the GOP to vote against it.

While I understand politics are in play - at face value - this would seem to be an easy measure to support. So, as always, I'm guessing the devil is in the details.

Posted by: flintdavis | July 30, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse


You're correct, but you should also lay into the House Dems for orchestrating this charade in the first place, and their supporters for falling for it. If the House Dems wanted to pass the bill, instead of, oh, I don't know, forcing a bill to get stalled in their chamber for a change, so that they could get some media time, they could have brought it up under normal rules.

Posted by: disputo | July 30, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

I am disgusted to be a republican after this ridiculous display of politics! YOU REPUBLICANS DISGUST ME!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will NEVER understand voting against this bill. It has become clearer and clearer, with each vote they make, how the republicans care NOTHING about our country or it's citizens. I want to VOMIT over my lifelong commitment to this party!

Posted by: pbrennan123 | July 30, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Why don't you explain to everybody, Mr. Sargent, why, when the dems had the votes to pass the bill (they needed 218 and had 255) the House leadership decided to change the rules so they would need 290?

Go ahead. Explain that to all of us. I say sabotage.

Posted by: zzyzxroad | July 30, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Why don't you explain to everybody, Mr. Sargent, why, when the dems had the votes to pass the bill (they needed 218 and had 255) the House leadership decided to change the rules so they would need 290? Weiner refuses to answer that question.

So go ahead. Explain that to all of us.

I say sabotage.

Posted by: zzyzxroad | July 30, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

We Republicans don't want Government to fail, we want the sick version of Government that the Democrats are pushing to fail.

Posted by: noneya3 | July 31, 2010 12:21 AM | Report abuse

The comments I have read about this article are disturbing and Weiner's "outrage" is such a crock. Do all progressives abide by the theory that the only way to accomplish something is to completely lose your cool. Hmmm...what a great example for our children. Weiner and King are both idiots, as are the vast majority of incumbents in the Congress. NO ONE, liberal (progressive is a joke) or conservative in the Congress or the media has the balls to discuss the real issue with our government which is special interest. Sure we talk about how the GOP are in the pocket of big oil or rant that the Dems didn't add torte reform to the Obamacare bill due to their allegiance to the Trial Lawyers Assoc. But we only rant about the OTHER guys lobbyists, never those of the party we support. What a shame that you supposed brilliant, well schooled, and deeply caring liberals need a conservative to spell it out for you. THEY ALL SUCK! You see, they are obligated to push whatever ideology their major supporters are pushing. If the liberals would quit shouting and demonizing the Tea Party and conservatives and the conservatives would quit focusing on things that will never happen until the system is changed (like actually reforming taxes or shrinking Gov), then maybe we could come together long enough to make a difference. One of you said your former party (GOP) made you vomit. Well, both parties make me vomit. I for one have had enough of the arrogance, self-centeredness, contrived outrage (I have seen on both sides), ethic violations, complete lack of any standards, and just plain political BS really does make me sick to my stomach.

The progressive agenda is taking this country no where fast and that fact is being proven daily. Did Bush do better? How about the GOP when they had control of the Congress? Hell no. Don't you see a pattern or are you really so devoid of any common sense that you will continue to support the Dems because they threw some money at your Union or told you that they are not racist and that the other guy is? Hmmm....I truly hope not because if you are, then the predictions concerning 2012 may become reality. As for the media, notice how Greg answers other "progressives" who find fault with his logic but when asked about why the Speaker insisted on a 2/3 majority to pass this legislation, he is silent. Just like Weiner.. You don't suppose there is bias in the media....? Nah, couldn't be. Could it?

Posted by: jasc4730 | July 31, 2010 3:03 AM | Report abuse

yes you can save money on your auto insurance by making few simple changes find how much you can save

Posted by: bradycesar | July 31, 2010 3:37 AM | Report abuse

First, the partisanship of this article and the comments is pathetic.
second Weiner is camera craving politician with no moral compass.
the facts are simple.
1. the Dem's have enough votes to pass whatever they want without Rep's support.
2. the Rep's want the Dem's to honor the law they wrote called Pay-Go. they don't want to borrow anymore money.
3. the Rep's want the admin to use the remaining stimulus money for these things or give it back and reduce the largest deficit in the history of this country.
4. They passed health care which would cover these health related issues.
5. Weiner only wants to create a straw man argument, he doesn't care about anything but his own political career. why else would he be making an issue of Goldline when the economy, especially in his district is in total melt down? people who are buying gold coins are not broke or stupid, if they chose to spend their money unwisely it their issue (see the constitution for rights and freedom to be stupid)
6. and last, could you people please start looking at the real issues and use the common sense your parents raised you with. it's simple, substitute Bush for the name Obama and Republican for label Democrat in any opinion you have and if it changes your opinion than your way to partisan, you need to put down the cool aid, go outside take a deep breath and rethink what you really believe because politicians like Weiner are going to destroy your state and your life because we Americans are out of money and if you keep chasing the rich out of your state and our country all we are going to be left with are people with their hands out and no one left to fill them.

Posted by: trickyric1967 | July 31, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

We need more "in your face" Dem pols. Let's hear it for Dems like Weiner and Grayson. Another reason why we need Schumer as Majority Leader.

Posted by: dozas | July 31, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Anthony Weiner's outrage is justified and it highlights the hubris of "Record-Breaking Republican Obstructionism" and Sabotage of this Presidency, this Congress, and Democracy in America!

The republican party has boasted that Obstructionism is their Mission!

Don't take my word for it, Google it!

Posted by: Shroomduke | July 31, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Trickyric917 is on the right track. One of you said Republicans need to go! OK so that leaves a one party system that rules everything? Hmmm? Does dictatorship sound familiar?

Weiner doesn't know how to do anything but talk. He was ranting at a republican who voted yes for the bill.

I was a democrat for most of my life. Now I can only call myself an independent. When did people stop completely thinking. The progressives in congress have ramrodded bills through that no one has read completely. Including items that have no bearing on the bill. Yet they screamed when the republicans did it. They have consistently refused to even listen to the republican ideas. This was again an attempt to ramrod through what they wanted by use of oh yeah procedure.

The progressives scream, holler, point fingers, and try to destroy a person when they don't agree. They throw labels like racist around because they don't have a practical or common sense solution to the problems.

The extreme right is no better.

When the President of the United States feels his best venue is the View. We are in trouble.

Posted by: Atlasshrugged2 | July 31, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Does nobody realize what the real story was here? This bill is still going to pass in another form. Both parties support it and are just arguing about how to do it. The real question is why are we doing it. People put themselves at risk for us all around the world for us everyday...policemen, firemen, military. I do not see bills offering to pay for all of their medical expenses. September 11th was a very bad day in our country's history but the men and women who did their jobs had insurance just like the firemen, policemen and veterans who have risked their lives for us around the country and around the world. I dont see any bills to fund all of their medical expenses? Why? Because we cant afford it! Look at the latest report from the CBO on the deficit and the risk it poses for this country. I feel for all of these people but I cannot fund all of the things that may seem like good ideas.

Posted by: krystinmac | July 31, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

I was a First Responder at the Trade Center on September 11th and aftermath. I also attended Det. James Zagroda's funeral, the namesake of this bill.

My career ended at the Trade Center. I have been ill for nearly a decade. Many of the medications I use, and the care I receive, are partially financed by grants that this bill would extend. In my case, that translates to about $7k per year.

From the outset, I had little confidence that this bill would ever become law. Why?

The truly wealthy in this country do not want to pay for this, or any other addition to the entitlement burden - the sum of which is projected at nearly $136 trillion over the next thirty years or so. Many middle class Americans share this view, and they should: the tax brackets are so close that the middle class pay similar rates (and much higher percentage of their income) as do the wealthy.

But when I use the term, "truly wealthy," I am referring to those Americans who have attained such financial stature as to (a) control the marketplace and (b) control the political infrastructure that supports it.

These folks are kingmakers in Washington politics, both Republican and Democrat. Most of the posts I have read here are thoughtful arguments structured along left/right politics; this is an unfortunate distraction from the truth - that this defeat was a carefully crafted stage show, formulated by wealth against labor.

I state plainly that the influential instructed leadership in both parties to find a way to kill this legislation, while encouraging an apoplectic response, both left and right of the isle.

The Weiner doth protest too much...

That the targets of this farce were First Responders during the deadliest attack on our soil since Pearl Harbor makes the entire matter particularly distasteful.

So, everybody scores political points, First Responders continue to die, the bill is buried, and the taxpayers (especially those who could afford to pay a little more) get a pass.

We have been trained to believe that it is moral turpitude to ask affluent Americans to pay more in taxes these days. On September 11th, I did have the opportunity to discuss this with my Wall Street countrymen: they were running their asses off, in the opposite direction, away from the Towers.

I am told that my lifespan will be shortened by my wounds. Rest assured, however, that I sleep well at night, knowing that I performed my duties honestly, and I continue to love my country, and will serve her to the last, despite the fact that over the last fifty years she has devolved into an oligarchy.

I will leave this life confident that all of the people can not be fooled all of the time; that the next generation will set this nation aright: a just tax code, a sane monetary policy and a fair (albeit modest) entitlement for those who chose to serve others, rather than themselves. Only then will the America head straight on that long, arduous road to financial solvency.

Posted by: sergeantegan | August 1, 2010 3:05 AM | Report abuse

WoW! The proceedure (2/3 majority) is why it did not pass.Purely political. Is it this type of legislation that will make this government fail ??? This vote was a total setup to make one party look like martyrs. Another huge fail by dems. We the people who pay attention don't need the media anymore to translate what is happening. I thought healthcare was free now anyway. The proceedure for that legislation was a simple majority. Also purely political. The politicians show us passion and compassion, I see theatrics.

Posted by: pkok22 | August 1, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: PaulRevere4 | August 2, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

You want Democrats to take action that is a bit more direct and effective than merely venting for 30 seconds and returning to normal?

Why not bring the Republicans, each and every one of them who obviously subscribes to this destructive strategy, up on charges of TREASON?

They admittedly are doing their best to undermine the functioning of the US govenment in order to show the people that the government doesn't function. There must be better ways of doing this than one that screws every American who depends on our legislative body to keep us running smoothly.

When each of these politicians took office they took an oath to protect the Constitution and to work for their constituents. I see little of this in ANY of them!

At what point do we draw a line and insist we've had enough of this BS? Between the individual egos, the lobbyists and the special interests, We, The People don't stand a chance.

Isn't it time to enforce the rules, ALL OF THEM, ACROSS the BOARD? Seems they were written without giving thought to penalizing anyone who breaks them.

If you think the democrats behave cowardly now, imagine how all of them will behave when the investigations and enforcements begin?

Posted by: jessix | August 2, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I can see your point, but at the same time, I think sometimes it takes a passionate moment of honesty to bring attention to issues like the ones you mention. I agree that the Dems need to pick up with a strategy to stop Republican efforts to hinder Congress's process, but I would hope more than anything that Weiner's impassioned diatribe would serve as a well-needed wake-up call to Dems, Repubs, and the population alike.

Posted by: hskewes | August 5, 2010 12:25 AM | Report abuse

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