But there’s a catch. For even the best, most pro-Second Amendment House Democrat, the first vote they cast in the House is to makeÂ NancyÂ PelosiÂ the Speaker of the House, ensuring the floor schedule is controlled by a woman who is scored an “F” by the organization. And her speakership ensures that F-rated John Conyers of Michigan chairs the Judiciary Committee, and that liberals, often but not always anti-gun, control the important committees.
Meanwhile, if that A-rated House Democrat were beaten by some squishy C or B-rated Republican, his first vote be would make A-ratedÂ JohnÂ BoehnerÂ (or perhaps some other Republican) the Speaker.
It’s a very good point, but I’m not sure how you really get around it unless you score the vote on the Speaker and leadership. We don’t want to hitch the gun rights wagon to a particular party, but we do want to hold individual politicians accountable for their positions on our issue, and many Democrats on the issue are quite good. If we refuse to back Democrats who support our issue, we essentially offer the Democrats nothing for their support, in which case, right now, we’d be getting steamrollered in Congress.
So why not score the vote on the Speaker? Because, not surprisingly, politicians are political animals. If the Republicans and pro-gun Democrats can get together to get together and form a majority for the purposes of gun bills, they can’t necessarily get together on other matters, such as the selection of Speaker. The problem is, while the Democratic Party is divided between Progressives and moderate-to-conservative Blue Dogs, the Progressives are the ones in the safest districts, and the ones with the most seniority.
They also represent a voting majority within the party itself. The only way you could get a different Speaker than Pelosi would be if the Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats got together and elected a different Speaker. That’s not going to happen. Why? Because the party is in charge of committee assignments according to House rules, and any Democrat crossing the ailes for that kind of thing is going to find himself with the worst assignments. There’s also many many things the party apparatus can do to a Blue Dog to make him cooperate, or punish him for lack of cooperation. The system makes it very difficult for a minority faction within a party to have a whole lot of sway, so it’s very difficult for them to buck their party on a vote like Speaker. Sure, you can grade the vote, but it’s not going to make you popular on the Hill, and you’re not going to win anyway. There’s no easy answer to the Pelosi problem.
What surprises me, is that in a year like this one, you don’t see more Blue DogsÂ threateningÂ to switch parties if the progressive leadership keeps twisting their arms. Maybe there’s a good reason that move is very hard to pull off in DC, but if I were in their shoes, I wouldn’t hesitate to play that card. This is going to be a bad year to be a Democratic. Even worse if you voted for the health care bill.