“No Republicans voted for the bill” was the description NBC News offered in their coverage of the narrowly passed $1.9 billion dollar Democratic “supplemental security bill” which is part of their using the Jan. 6 riot to signal that the American people can’t be trusted. That’s all you’re supposed to want to know, and yet the story, one way or another, is more interesting than that.
You see, while no Republicans voted for the bill, two Republicans didn’t vote at all. The almost $2 billion dollar legislation passed by just one vote. How this miraculous win by the Democrats came about is courtesy of the Republicans and is worthy of examination as it is reliant on one of two things: The House GOP leadership is either extraordinarily incompetent, which I don’t believe, or this is one more example of political theater meant to deliver their preferred outcome on a bill while trying to convince you they’re not the swamp.
How exactly did this happen? The headlines mockingly reported that a House GOP congressman “forgot” to cast a proxy vote for a fellow congressman allowing the one-vote passing margin. California Republican Ken Calvert’s office explained he simply forgot to cast the proxy vote for Texas GOP representative John Carter. This, despite the fact that he had been successfully casting that vote along with his own for a week. Yet, this one time, his responsibility to cast Mr. Carter’s became lost, as one song would suggest, as a misty water-colored memory in the corner of his mind.
The GOP might prefer you to believe that’s the case, as they look down at their socks embarrassed and slightly ashamed. Or, perhaps, this is exactly what they wanted.
Why this could appear as a song and dance to some is because GOP leadership knows exactly where things stand prior to a vote. Every House vote would be close with a Democratic margin of just plus 6. Kevin McCarthy, the GOP leader, is an experienced, political man who knows how these things work. Rep. Steve Scalise, whom it’s safe to say we all admire a great deal, is the GOP Whip and responsible for how votes like this play out.
So for us to believe Mr. Calvert would even be allowed to “forget” to issue the proxy vote we would have to believe that everyone looked away at exactly the wrong time.
In the meantime, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seems very confident about the Democratic agenda despite their razor thin majority of 6. NBC News noted in March in a story about the continually shrinking majority, “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said last March that advancing her party’s agenda is ‘not going to be a problem.’” Her confidence is apparently not without reason.
For generations what we have seen is a slow march toward the cliff of liberalism when it comes to policy and the direction of the country. The Democrats know when they propose four steps toward the cliff the Republicans will “negotiate” two feet back. No wonder Americans in general, and certainly Republicans especially, look at both sides of the aisle and see a “uniparty” agenda in Washington leading to more and more alienation.
This scenario is not new. Thinking back on another time when an important piece of legislation that affected many lives was also tied, that time in the Senate. The story in July of 2017 was about Sen. John McCain having gone rogue, entering the Senate and then dramatically issuing his thumbs down on the vote to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Mr. McCain was suffering from cancer and made his commitment to the Senate clear by traveling to cast his vote despite his illness. His thumbs down on the GOP legislation has been cast as Mr. McCain being affected so much by his loathing of Mr. Trump that killing the bill was “payback.”
I’ve argued since that time, regardless of what you think of his approach or attitude, is that it’s difficult to believe Mr. McCain, who loved the Senate, would’ve done anything that would have upset Senate or GOP leadership itself. A better argument explaining his vote is that it was exactly what the GOP establishment wanted. Almost the entire establishment wanted to damage Mr. Trump as quickly and as early as possible. The petty would have seen not accomplishing a key promise of Mr. Trump to the American people as a victory.
All of this highlights how our lives and our futures seem to rarely enter into the decision-making in Washington in general. We were told if Donald Trump was defeated things would return to “normal.” And boy, they weren’t kidding. Normal is apparently a raging dumpster fire rolling through our neighborhoods and into our jobs and homes, destroying the safety and security of our families and of the future.
So while the Calvert “forgotten” vote may seem like a one-day headline in passing, it matters because it’s a reminder of a much larger machine holding us in contempt, allowing them to slip into sloppy fake-voting burlesque. Or… this country is being run by a bunch of Mr. (and Mrs.) Magoos. Either way, hearing constituents is one important way to shake them out of their slouch back toward “normal.” One thing they can be sure of, a good majority of 75-million Trump voters won’t “forget” to vote in 2022.
• Tammy Bruce, president of Independent Women’s Voice, author and Fox News contributor, is a radio talk-show host.