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House passes landmark health-care bill with one GOP vote — 7 fewer than climate bill. Conservatives still channel Groucho Marx, Whatever it is, Im against it.

By Joe Romm on November 8, 2009 at 9:54 am

"House passes landmark health-care bill with one GOP vote — 7 fewer than climate bill. Conservatives still channel Groucho Marx, Whatever it is, Im against it."

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In the first 40 minutes of Saturday’s debate on the landmark bill, representatives from the minority party objected — or threatened to object — no fewer than 75 times, throwing in 35 “parliamentary inquiries” for good measure. The debate was delayed by nearly 90 minutes.

Anybody who wondered whether more active involvement by President Obama in the climate bill process — lots of town hall meeetings, big speeches, more direct lobbying of members — would have led to a better outcome now has their answer.  No.

After all of the administration’s effort — “hours after President Obama exhorted Democratic lawmakers to “answer the call of history” — Democrats passed the health care reform bill 220-215 with 39 defections.  Precisely one Republican voted for it, Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao, who represents a heavily Democratic district in Louisiana.  So the score in the House is 0 votes for the stimulus, 1 for health care reform and a whopping 8 for the climate and clean energy bill, which actually ended up with one less vote overall – see The U.S. House of Representatives approves landmark (bipartisan!) climate bill, 219 – 212. Waxman-Markey would complete America’s transition to a clean energy economy, which started with the stimulus bill.

We’ve recently seen every Senate Republican support a trumped-up effort to boycott and obstruct the clean energy bill (see “The GOP’s phony excuse for delaying the climate and clean energy bill“).  The WashPost‘s Dana Milbank has an excellent piece on the GOP’s essential (Groucho) Marxist nature over the health care bill, “The object of their objections“:

At long last House Democrats passed their health-care legislation Saturday night. The Republicans objected. Often.

The debate was only a few minutes old when Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) rose to speak. “I ask unanimous consent — ”

“I object!” shouted Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), the leader of House conservatives.

” — to revise and extend — ” Capps continued.

“I object! I object!” Price hollered.

Capps tried again. “I ask unanimous consent to revise my — ”

“I object!”

” — remarks — ”

“I object! I object! I object! I object!”

The presiding officer pointed out that Capps had not said anything that could be objected to.

Capps started over. “I ask unanimous consent to revise my remarks — ”

“I object!” cried Price, sounding like Ned Flanders on “The Simpsons.” “I object! I object! I object! I object!”

” — care denied because of a preexisting condition — ”

“I object! I object! I object!”

In the first 40 minutes of Saturday’s debate on the landmark bill, representatives from the minority party objected — or threatened to object — no fewer than 75 times, throwing in 35 “parliamentary inquiries” for good measure. The debate was delayed by nearly 90 minutes.

Ned Flanders may be the modern analogue, but it’s pure Groucho Marx in Horsefeathers “” though more Groucho than Marx brother, I’m afraid:

I don’t know what they have to say,
It makes no difference anyway,
Whatever it is, I’m against it.
No matter what it is or who commenced it,
I’m against it.

Your proposition may be good,
But let’s have one thing understood,
Whatever it is, I’m against it.
And even when you’ve changed it or condensed it,
I’m against it.

I’m opposed to it,
On general principle, I’m opposed to it”¦.

It is a certainly a consistent philosophy, if ultimately self-destructive.

Related Post:

The object of their objections

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11 Responses to House passes landmark health-care bill with one GOP vote — 7 fewer than climate bill. Conservatives still channel Groucho Marx, Whatever it is, Im against it.

  1. Given the very physical realities of an evolving climate change challenge and the fact that people do get ill and need coverage that can’t be withdrawn to meet corporate profit needs, it seems likely that over time the vast majority of Americans –far more than have already bought into these energy and health changes — will soon make the reforms their own. And thus in retrospect the republicans will have added an albatross around their electoral reputation they may never over come.

  2. Richard Brenne says:

    Okay, Obama, you’ve tried. We’ve tried. Now we need to move forward in all positive directions and the Republican-conservative-denier-delayer-resister-objecter-anti-science-pro-selfishness-flat-earth-spoiled-child-whiner-and-rattler-throwing minority (look at the tea bagging town meeting shouters – is there a single minority among them?) can either be dragged into the 21st – or even the 20th – Century, or they can be left behind. More of these people have had more say in more things adversely affecting the lives of more people, past, present and future than any other group of people in human history. Now is the time for their pie-holes to up and shut.

  3. Mark Shapiro says:

    I have only heard the political term “aginners” used once, probably because it is impolite. The term often refers to rural, poor, ill-educated, and yes, Appalachian (or southern) voters who are “agin” any proposition, especially if it costs something. Aginners often oppose any expert opinion.

    The philosophy is indeed pure Groucho Marxist: “whatever it is, I’m against it.” It has a long, sad political history that congressional Republicans are now bringing to full flower.

    To say they are acting like 4-year-olds is an insult to 4-year-olds.

  4. Richard Pauli says:

    This anti-government behavior begins to sound like anarchy.

  5. Jeff Huggins says:

    I haven’t had a chance to read the full post (sorry), but based on what I’ve read, I just wanted to chip in one thought.

    I DO think that Obama should get much more active on the climate front, and I do think it will help, a lot. Indeed, I think it’s necessary. Indeed, I’m “praying” for it!

    First of all, the climate situation is unlike the health care situation in a number of ways. Although all sorts of things are involved (to different degrees) in both matters, many of the disagreements of different sorts are not present in the same mixture.

    For example, it is a bit “easier” (in some respects) for a politician to try to “get away with” slowing or derailing the healthcare proposals on some sort of half-baked “ideological” ground, given the way that much of the public lets politicians get away with stuff, than it would be for a politician to actually deny the reality of climate change at this point, or to argue that we shouldn’t begin to do big things to address its causes.

    But aside from that, even if Obama’s efforts don’t shift one Republican vote, the degree to which Democrats will support action, and the strength of the actions they’ll support, and the degree to which some corporate leaders will become more outspoken in their support, and many other KEY factors, can all be helped, a lot, by Obama’s involvement.

    He (and his team) can make a BIG difference. And, they aren’t doing nearly enough, yet, given the stakes involved.

    I still support him, and want him and us to succeed, and greatly admire him, but I feel that he’s not doing nearly enough. I’d urge him to do more.

    Cheers,

    Jeff

  6. Dennis says:

    GOP = Grand Obstructionist Party

  7. Paula Swedeen says:

    The House vote is also constructive for looking at what Democrats might be forced to give up, either to Republicans or conservative Dems, to get a bill. I do not believe one can label the Health Care bill just passed “reform” when poor women who may finally get access to insurance will get their access to abortions denied. If the Democrats do not remove the Stupak amendment in the Senate version, they will have the albatross of approving one of the biggest steps backwards for women’s rights in modern times. I hope we do not fall prey to equally draconian measures in the climate bill to get something passed.

  8. Tim says:

    Good post. Though I doubt Groucho would have joined the GOP for, as he once said, “I wouldn’t join any club that would have ME as a member!”

  9. Peter Wood says:

    When the Republicans objected to “carbon trading” and instead offered a grand socialist vision based on hundreds of nuclear power plants I thought it was a bit odd — now my suspicions are confirmed — the G.O.P. are Marxists!

  10. Edward says:

    The Republican complaint is that the Republican politician’s grandchildren won’t be able to live off of the dividends from the health insurance stock that the Republicans will now have a hard time dumping. How did the Republicans get so much of that stock in the first place?

  11. shannon says:

    good video. the post were pretty good too.