I doubt I’m the only one for whom the inexpressibly silly “sit-in” being staged by House Democrats today (Wednesday, 22 Jun) just feels…tired.
For one thing, there’s no “there” there. Although CNN (first link) and other outlets are obediently referring to the sit-in as “civil disobedience,” it is, of course, nothing of the sort. It’s a minority maneuver to interrupt the official business of a legislative chamber. The best thing for the country would be for the Republican majority to just adjourn for the summer and leave.
At some point, if the wee hours of the morning creep on and the GOP hasn’t grown a spine, there may be an issue with union contracts for building services, or something like that. If so, Speaker Paul Ryan may have some decisions to make, beyond his decision to turn off the cameras in the chamber. This is being touted, naturally, as an act of bad faith — but the House is in recess and is conducting no official business, and several bloggers have pointed out that Nancy Pelosi turned off not just the cameras but the House chamber’s utility services in 2008, when Republicans were trying to force a vote on offshore drilling. The procedural difference between that 2008 event and today is that Republicans weren’t pretending falsely to stage an epic civil-disobedience rally.
The atmosphere of the “sit-in” is best understood if we open with this tweet from Roll Call reporter Bridget Bowman:
Sen. Hirono delivering care packages to House Dems complete when macadamia nuts, cans of pop, snack bars, pop tarts pic.twitter.com/W543pTaTzV
— Bridget Bowman (@bridgetbhc) June 22, 2016
So as you can see, we’re talking about a great act of courage undertaken in harsh, primitive conditions. And don’t think for a minute that having the media entirely in their corner is making this any easier for these tough, odds-defying crusaders for the public welfare.
A few snaps of the Democrats gathered on the floor of the House:
(I love this next one, which speaks of the House “forced into recess” — i.e., the House majority voted to be in recess — and of the Democrats “wresting control of the chamber,” meaning they walked in and sat down and no one made any effort, physical or otherwise, to stop them. There seems to be nothing the Democrats won’t overdramatize.)
— Rachel A. Adler (@RachelA_Adler) June 22, 2016
— Ming Holden (@minglishmuffin) June 22, 2016
— ATTN: (@attn) June 22, 2016
Don’t you dare laugh. This is historic.
There’s a huge, simply huge crowd of supporters outside the Capitol.
— Rep. John Larson (@RepJohnLarson) June 22, 2016
You’d expect Everytown to be there with conveniently prepared professional placards to wave. (And pizza.)
— Everytown (@Everytown) June 22, 2016
But somehow, Greenpeace knew to be there too. All four or five of them.
— Greenpeace USA (@greenpeaceusa) June 22, 2016
Michael Moore, Usual Suspect, is calling on the POTUS-in-Chief to get himself to the House floor and join the defiant act of courage against that evil Paul Ryan.
It is time, Mr. President, to get in the car, drive up Pennsylvania Ave, walk into the House chamber, sit down on the floor & make history.
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) June 22, 2016
The #NoBillNoBreak tweet stream is replete with self-congratulation from the anti-gun/anti-Constitution forces. It also offers a rich surfeit of 140-character philosophy-bites, most of them painfully irrational.
— Kilgore Trout (@LupineWonse) June 22, 2016
Father, forgive them, for they haven’t the faintest clue what they do.
So…remind me again why they’re doing all this, other than for the goose leftists seem to get from self-dramatization?
Oh, yeah: the House Democrats want to “force a vote” on legislation that would violate the right of citizens to due process in FBI decisions about their applications to purchase guns. They want to force a vote they’re going to lose on the House’s “No Fly, No Buy” bill, which would rely on the existence of secret, undisclosed suspicions about applicants to deny them gun purchases. How chillingly reminiscent this is of the gun laws of Weimar Germany, and the use made of them by the Nazis only a few years later, has been amply documented.
Allahpundit has a nice summary of how Senate Democrats approached this constitutional problem the day before (bold emphasis added):
Not 24 hours ago, Senate Democrats had the chance to vote on a bill that would have given them the core of what they want, namely, DOJ power to block gun purchases by anyone on a terror watch list. All they had to do was make a simple concession to due process by requiring the feds to go to court and show their work, proving to a judge within three days of the attempted purchase that the person on the list was actually dangerous. Too many innocent people have been put on watch lists erroneously to grant the federal government power to strip them of their rights with no judicial safeguard. That was the Cornyn bill; it died in the Senate, 53/47, when Democrats refused to give it the 60 votes it needed for cloture. The left killed the bill only because it provided due process to gun owners. Even the ACLU is aghast…
Be very clear, in other words: the passionate, principled desire of congressional Democrats is to leave no stone unturned to ensure that no constitutional brake can be put on the arbitrary denial of gun purchases to the citizens. That’s what this theatrical sit-in is about.
In the Senate, Republicans offered a compromise — not that I agree with their doing so, but it’s still informative about what the Democrats insist on — and the Democrats rejected it because it provided due process to the people.
Naturally, trying to achieve the Democrats’ desired outcome goes hand in hand with emotional demonstrations, irrational caterwauling, and disregard for the due processes of the House chamber. All Paul Ryan has to do is outlast the Democrats’ histrionics. Plenty of people are advising him to stifle them out.
Cut. Their. Air conditioning. https://t.co/ef8GZrB8tc
— Omri Ceren (@omriceren) June 22, 2016
Pray that Ryan will hang tough. It shouldn’t even be a question, when this is the opponent:
After bringing pillows to the House floor, Democrats await a very special guest. pic.twitter.com/lnapmevcX1
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) June 22, 2016
(Check the Shapiro tweet. He was responding to an on-scene report that Democrats were, in fact, fortifying themselves with pillows.)
But it’s 2016. We are where we are. And it is a question.