House GOP Leaders Whining: Dems Won’t Honor Minority Party ‘Rights’ Document That GOP Rejected in 2004

In June 2004, after House Democrats had endured 10 years of heavy-handed, authoritarian control by the Republican majority, then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) put together a “Bill of Rights” for the party of out of power, promising then-Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois) that Democrats would abide by the agreement when they took control of the House again.

How did the Republicans react to the future-speaker’s proposal? By ignoring it:

In keeping with the general atmosphere of the House these days, aides to Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) said he will not respond to the two-page proposal from Minority Leader [Pelosi].

What was in the proposal? Essentially, Pelosi proposed to change the tone in the House:

Pelosi’s document… says: “Too often, incivility and the heavy hand of the majority” have silenced Democrats and choked off “thoughtful debate.” She called on the majority to let the minority offer meaningful amendments and substitutes to important bills; to limit roll-call votes to the normal 15 minutes rather than keeping them open to round up needed votes; and to let all appointees to House-Senate conference committees participate in meetings and decisions.

“When we are shut out, they are shutting out the great diversity of America,” Pelosi said in an interview. “We want a return to civility; we want to set a higher standard.”

In the 2004, the chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee was Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.) reacted to Pelosi’s Minority Bill of Rights with his patented unctious smarm:

[Drier] said in an interview that Democrats are crying about the process because they are losing policy debates over job creation and progress in Iraq. His mission as chairman, he said, is “to move our [Republican] agenda, and to do it in the fairest and most responsible way possible. And I do it in that order … Yes, we have done, as we have had the responsibility of governing, some of the things we criticized when we were in the minority.” But he said he feels the Hastert leadership team has struck a fair balance.”

So now that the House Republicans are in the minority, how do they feel about the Democrats using their own tactics against them:

“I am very disappointed,” sighed David Dreier of California.

So disappointed that his colleagues have come up with their own “Minority Bill of Rights,” which is basically Pelosi’s proposal, word for word..

It is, said Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., “based on the exact text that then-Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi submitted in 2004…” He added it would ensure “all sides are protected, that fairness and openness is in fact granted by the new majority.”

Right… And what happens now if the Republicans’ rather flamboyant hypocrisy is pointed out to them:

During a House GOP press conference about the new rules Thursday,[Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Florida), said the Democrats “missed [an] opportunity to really change the way that the House does business.”]

Rick Klein of the Boston Globe, referring to Pelosi’s 2004 attempt at that same inclusion, asked, “What stopped you from taking that opportunity when you were still in the majority?”

Putnam quickly tiptoed away from that mine field: “Well, I’ll let Chairman Dreier speak to that.”

Finally, on a slightly different topic – the spokesmen for the House GOP in this article, representatives Dreier and McHenry, carry some unresolved baggage from the 109th Congress that demands acknowledgement. Both are allegedly gay men who hide their identities from their constituents while routinely vote against gay civil rights.

Wasn’t there going to be a purge of the Gay Gops on Capitol Hill by the American talibanis? Or has that been postponed until Romney or Brownback are elected president?