Republicans leaders say Nancy Pelosi's partisan speech just prior to the vote today resulted in losing about a dozen Republican votes. While her speech was certainly inappropriate, my question is: Should a rude speech cause a Republican to change their vote on this vitally important issue?
I applaud conservatives who opposed this bill on ideological grounds. Voting "no" because a congressman philosophically opposed this bill would certainly have been appropriate and reasonable. However, if Republicans think the American people will side with them on voting "no" -- because they were upset with Pelosi's speech -- I think they are terribly mistaken.
Personal slights and "snubs" should not influence ones vote on an important issue such as this. A congressman's decision to vote for -- or against -- the bill should be based solely on whether or not they believe it is best for the country. Pelosi's remarks should be irrelevant.
In his book, No Retreat, No Surrender, Tom DeLay wrote of Newt Gingrich:
"He told a room full of reporters that he forced the shutdown because Clinton had rudely made him and Bob Dole sit at the back of Air Force One...Newt had been careless to say such a thing, and now the whole moral tone of the shutdown had been lost. What had been a noble battle for fiscal sanity began to look like the tirade of a spoiled child..The revolution, I can tell you, was never the same."
Is history repeating itself?
Update: Michael Steel of Boehner's office says,
"the partisan speech by Speaker Pelosi today on the House floor cost as many as a dozen Republican votes on the rescue package that failed."
Steel sends along some excerpts of Pelosi's speech:
“Democrats believe in a free market. We know that it can create jobs, it can create wealth, it can create many good things in our economy. But in this case, in its unbridled form, as encouraged, supported, by the Republicans, some in the Republican Party, not all, it has created not jobs, not capital, it has created chaos.”
“$700 billion. A staggering number. But only a part of the cost of the failed Bush economic policies to our country. Policies that were built on budget recklessness, when President Bush took office, he inherited President Clinton’s surpluses four years in a row, budget surpluses. On a trajectory of $5.6 trillion in surplus. And with his reckless economic policies, within two years, he had turned that around. Now eight years later, the foundation of that fiscal irresponsibility, combined with an anything goes economic policy, has taken us to where we are today. They claim to be free market advocates when it’s really an anything goes mentality. No regulation, no supervision, no discipline. And if you fail, you will have a golden parachute and the taxpayer will bail you out. Those days are over. The party is over.”
"For too long this government, eight years, has followed a right-wing ideology of anything goes, no supervision, no discipline, no regulation.”
“Before long we will have a new Congress, a new President of the United States, and we will be able to take our country in a new direction.”