The Republicans have found their backbones.
There’s a very odd mood among House Republicans this week. Rebelling against Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s adjournment of the House last Friday, Reps. Mike Pence (R-Ind) and Tom Price (R-Ga) had a sort of Howard Beale moment. Beale, the mad newscaster in “Network,” asked his audience to throw open a window and shout, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more.”
Pence and Price refused to leave the House floor and began the open revolt against Nancy Pelosi’s “Drill Nothing” Congress. Five days into the revolt — as I saw yesterday in the Republican cloak room and on the House floor — dozens of House Republicans and thousands of tourists sitting in the chairs of the congressmen on the House floor — the Republicans are excited and Americans seem to be responding.
This is a key moment in the 2008 campaign: the Republicans, if they stick to their guns, can wrest victory away from the Democrats not only in Congress but perhaps the White House, too. Pelosi has handed them the perfect lever with which they can move the nation.
The small revolt against Speaker Pelosi’s refusal to allow a vote to enable offshore drilling — and relieve the gasoline price burden on American consumers — that began when Democrats adjourned the House for a five-week vacation has energized Republicans like nothing since the great revolt against the amnesty for illegal immigrants bill last summer.
According to Republican Whip Roy Blunt, about twenty members have been on the House floor every day since Friday, and more than one hundred members are either already here or promising to come back next week.
When I last saw Mike Pence, he was on the House floor talking about the Democrats’ priorities. His chart shows what Pelosi believes the House should spend time on instead of voting on offshore drilling: vital issues such as declaring “National Train Day” and praising the “International Year of Sanitation.” Pence and Price are leaders. They attracted a lot of attention from their fellow House members.
……Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Texas) wasn’t any less inclined to smoke the peace pipe with Pelosi. I caught Gohmert after he, Blunt and several other members held a press conference in the hall outside the House Chamber.
Gohmert is raising the stakes for the Democrats. When Congress comes back in September (assuming, as is probable, that Pelosi doesn’t call them back earlier), it’ll have only a couple of weeks to deal with a huge list of important issues, including the fact that the offshore oil drilling ban will expire if not re-enacted. To Gohmert, this is a do-or-die issue.
The last time someone was this fired up, the US government closed down for a few days. Is Gohmert willing to go that far? There’s no question about it.
Gohmert told me, “If they stick in a moratorium to prevent us getting oil and gas from our outer continental shelf to help the American people…they put that in to a continuing resolution to keep the government going. I’m sorry — I’ve got to keep the American people going who can’t afford these gas prices. I’m voting against it, no matter what bill they stick it in. If it’s to honor my mother, my mother would understand, rest her soul, I would vote against it. We have got to take this stand.”
Minority Whip Roy Blunt should be of the same mind, and apparently is. In a telephone interview yesterday afternoon, Blunt told me, “I think we really want to keep that ball in the court that it belongs in: the Democrats’. They have to proactively try to maintain these moratoriums on oil shale and on deep water drilling as their price to keep the government going. I think they’re the ones that have to be answerable for that. I’m assuming at this point that those things are over on September the 30th. The American people should demand that they be over, and the president should be moving forward as if the leasing process could begin on October 1.”
Pelosi — trying, in her own words, to “save the planet” — is dedicated to the most radical environmentalist agenda. She and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) have put a green monkey on Uncle Sam’s back.
Voters are angry and their congressmen — at least the Republicans — are listening.
……Next week, the Republicans will be back in force. This revolt against Pelosi’s “Drill Nothing” Democrats is taking hold of the House.
Will the Republicans end up closing down the government to prevent the Pelosicrats from blocking offshore drilling again? Possibly. If need be, they should.
This could turn out to be some great history in the making. CSPAN, the media outlet usually present for the routine business in the House and Senate, packed their cameras and left with the Democrats.
The reporting has been taken up by ordinary citizens, bloggers, and pundits, who provide updates and information for the rest of us who cannot be there.
Alot of credit should be given to the Republicans for standing up against Democratic inaction, for Americans, and in spite of the White House refusal to call Congress back in session:
The White House has rejected calls from House Republicans that it convene a special session of Congress on energy, saying it wouldn’t make a difference.
“We don’t have plans to call Congress into session — it won’t make a difference if Democratic leaders are unwilling to bring up a bill for an up-down vote,” said White House spokesman Tony Fratto.
The point, which escapes Fratto is that it will force the Democrats to demonstrate whether or not they are serious about going from the bickering stage of the legislative process, to the action of approving a bill that would enable this country to seek and use its own energy sources. You know, the kind that would expedite our independence from the smirking ragheads in OPEC. This is now into day 5:
……The protests continued Monday, with several House Republicans speaking on energy from the House floor, despite the fact that the House has adjourned and C-SPAN is not televising the proceedings. Cameras are not allowed in the House without the Speaker’s permission.
That doesn’t mean someone, whether media or private citizen, can’t bring a portable video camera along to record the event.
……House aides said that while the president can declare that Congress must sit for an emergency session, he cannot set the agenda – only the leadership of the majority party can do that.
Pelosi’s office could not be immediately reached for comment.
*chirp* *chirp* *chirp*