House Republicans are deliberating on the prospect of punishing their Democrat colleagues when Congress returns to session, according to a new story in Politico. The site reports that GOP members of Congress are still fuming about the stunt Democrats pulled in June when they took over the House floor to protest gun control. The protest lasted for 25 hours and was the subject of endless adoration from the media. Oh look, there’s John Lewis. My, it’s just as though it were 1963 all over again, isn’t it, Tom?
“One option that’s been floated is a resolution broadly stating a sentiment that such tactics shouldn’t be allowed and will be sanctioned somehow going forward,” writes Politico. “Others are hoping Republicans will publicly rebuke certain Democrats they say ‘intimidated’ nonpartisan House staff members during the late-June incident.”
Yeah, did you hear about this? Apparently several congressional employees complained of being treated like scum by the protesting politicians.
In July, House Rep. Kevin McCarthy told reporters that some of the staff had been bullied by the showboating leftists.
“The behavior that was put onto the floor, the disrespect to the rules – the fundraising going on during this activity – there are also some looks at damage done and the reports of behavior towards some of the professional staff that were given to me, who were around and who watched the actions take place,” McCarthy said at the time.
While it would be undeniably tasty to watch some House Democrats be publicly embarrassed by sanctions, there’s tremendous potential for this to backfire. Consider how the media is going to cover this. In June, they did everything possible to make the protest look like a resurgence of the civil rights era. That was the whole reason Paul Ryan refused to kick them out. Can you imagine the field day MSNBC would have had with that footage? Lewis walking out in handcuffs? Amazing Grace playing on the soundtrack?
Ryan was wise to bide his time, but this dish of revenge is not yet cold enough to serve. By playing the payback card now, little will be gained. The press will play it for the Democrats like they always do. It’s time to stop falling into the same traps over and over again.
Indeed, it’s time for a new gameplan that is a lot subtler and a lot more effective than the one Republicans have been running for the last decade or so. One that depends less on a hostile media. One that favors results over fireworks.
In June, the Democrats finally became the ones yelling about how they couldn’t get their way. Let’s savor that for a little while. Let them throw their tantrums. Let them compare their gun bills to the march on Selma. Let them humiliate themselves for all to see.
The great Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote: “Praise does not make anything better or worse.”
Perhaps, in this case, the same can be said for scorn.