I've signed up for dozens of political organizations' emails, among them left wing groups, right wing groups, libertarians and everything in between. I like to at least know the gist of what these groups are saying to their own members, without anyone filtering it, and occasionally I get something that really shows how blinded some people can be by their own beliefs. In this case, the ideological perspective of the most well-known liberal organization in the country has conveniently forgotten its own position from just last year.
MoveOn.org has been shooting out more missives than normal in recent weeks, most of them related to the situation in Wisconsin. Most of the communications they put out are your standard preach-to-the-choir fare, but this little piece from a recent email caught my eye:
Minutes ago, Wisconsin Republicans made a shocking power grab—ramming through their partisan attack on workers' rights without a single Democrat present. It's shameful, unprecedented, and probably illegal. We can't let them get away with this.
The legislation passed without a single Democrat present because the Democratic lawmakers left the state, abandoning their elected posts and have refused to come back. I don't agree with a lot of what Scott Walker is pushing, but this is no excuse to leave the state.
That issue has been discussed at length all over the place, but it is that last sentence that really sticks out to me here.
MoveOn.org knows that the way the bill has been passed is legal. Moreso, this is precisely the manner in which the Democrats in our nation's capital passed the landmark health care bill last year.
In both cases, the majority party could not pass a piece of legislation because of some form of stonewalling. The Democrats just couldn't get enough votes to pass changes to the Senate's version of the healthcare bill without using reconciliation, allowing the Democrats to pass it with less than the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster. All they needed was a majority vote, just like what Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Republicans did.
In Wisconsin, the rule in question says that a bill can be passed with a mere majority of legislators present, as opposed to the sixty percent quorum normally necessary - which dems have blocked since the GOP is one seat short of that, if it does not involve spending measues. The Republicans stripped the parts of the bill in question of all spending, leaving only the parts that put limits on various aspects of union collective bargaining, aside from police and fire departments.
It is just as hypocritical for the various Republican constituency groups who were complaining about the use of reconciliation to pass parts of the health care bill. As is typical with most politicians, regardless of their ideological stripes, all sides are more than willing to take a "principled stand" when the issue in question is in opposition to their views, but when the tables are turned those principles dissolve into thin air.
Solomon Kleinsmith is a nonprofit worker, serial social entrepreneur and strident centrist independent blogger from Omaha, Nebraska. His website, Rise of the Center, is the fastest growing blog targeting centrist independents and moderates. He is currently collaborating with other centrist independent and moderate bloggers on a news aggregation and social networking site, and is always looking for ways to help the independent groundswell as more and more people become disaffected with the two major parties.