Earlier this week, in “He’s not my President,” I blogged about the fact that many Democrats are, in fact, very un-democratic. In their world, the only good votes are the ones they win, with all others being invalid and subject to attack in whatever way they deem expedient. It seems that Democrats have now taken that anti-Democratic impulse to the bastion of democracy itself, the House of Representatives:
In a massive flare-up of partisan tensions (video link courtesy Breitbart.tv), Republicans walked out on a House vote late Thursday night to protest what they believed to be Democratic maneuvers to reverse an unfavorable outcome for them.
The flap represents a complete breakdown in parliamentary procedure and an unprecedented low for the sometimes bitterly divided chamber.
The rancor erupted shortly before 11 p.m. as Rep. Michael R. McNulty (D-N.Y.) gaveled close the vote on a standard procedural measure with the outcome still in doubt.
Details remain fuzzy, but numerous Republicans argued afterward that they had secured a 215-213 win on their motion to bar undocumented immigrants from receiving any federal funds apportioned in the agricultural spending bill for employment or rental assistance. Democrats, however, argued the measure was deadlocked at 214-214 and failed, members and aides on both sides of the aisle said afterward.
One GOP aide saw McNulty gavel the vote to a close after receiving a signal from his leaders – but before reading the official tally. And votes continued to shift even after he closed the roll call – a strange development in itself.
In other words, if McNulty did indeed do what he is accused of doing, the Democrats tried to stop all voting when there was a deadlock, rather than run the risk that a full vote would go against their position. In the school yard, we call that cheating; in the real world, we call that nascent totalitarianism.
UPDATE: The Washington Post has a clear rundown of what happened:
House Democrats apologized Friday for wrestling what appeared to be a winning vote away from Republicans Thursday night, and on Friday evening agreed to an investigation.
Republicans continued to steam, however, over the episode in which they appeared to be the winners by a 215-213 tally on a procedural motion designed to make sure illegal immigrants would not get certain benefits from an agriculture spending bill.
Instead, with the tally clerk registering the final votes, Rep. Michael McNulty, D-N.Y., gaveled the vote to a close, saying the GOP measure had failed on a 214-214 tie.
Republicans erupted, chanting “shame, shame, shame,” and then walked out in protest after McNulty permitted further Democrats to switch their votes to prevail 216-212. Despite winning that tally, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., moved for a revote as permitted under the rules, and Democrats prevailed again.
On Friday, Hoyer apologized. “The minority was understandably angry,” he said.