Republicans nuke science bill by forcing porn down Dem throats

It's games like this that truly anger me. Neither party is putting America first, and that's what truly sucks.

Politics is a no-holds-barred contact sport. The GOP proved that last week by tackling one of the Democrats' latest plays in Congress. As a fan of the sport of politics, I thought the Republicans' move was a wonder to behold. As a citizen, a scientist, and a patriot, I found it to be almost horrifying.

Thinking competitively, without regard to America's true needs, it's to the Republicans' competitive advantage for the economy to remain sour, for jobs to remain below desired levels, and for the Dems to look even more ineffective than they normally do.

So, from a competitive point of view, being the "party of no" makes sense. If the GOP can block progressive moves by the Dems, then when elections come around, Americans (read: voters) will be hurting. And when the populace is hurting, election results almost always favor the party out of power -- in this case, the GOP.

What we're talking about here is H.R. 5116, the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010. Among other things, this bill would have boosted science and math spending, and would have resulted in a pile of new science and education related jobs.

As it turns out, the House Committee on Science and Technology had 48 separate hearings on the bill. According to Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN), at no time during those hearings did the Republicans share any of their concerns about porn.

Instead, the GOP waited until the bill was about to be thrust before Congress for a vote and that's when they forced the Dems to prematurely, ahem, pull out.

Next: A move worthy of a chess master »

So here's how the Republicans played it. They introduced a motion to recommit. This is a parliamentary procedure that sends a bill, with suggested modifications, back into committee. This particular motion to recommit denied most of the key features the Democrats wanted, but added a provision that basically said Federal employees who surfed porn should be fired.

It was a move worthy of a chess master.

The Donkey Party had two choices. The first was allow the bill to go back to committee, vastly modified from its original intent, and, essentially let the Republicans win by killing most of the real benefits the Democrats wanted. This the Democrats could not do, or they'd lose the science jobs they were going for.

Then they had the other choice: vote against the Republican motion. The only problem was that would mean the Democrats would be on record voting against a motion that limited Federal employees from accessing porn. Or, as every Democrat on the committee realized, Republicans would say the Democrats voted in favor of porn use by government employees.

The Dems were completely outwitted. They were scrod. Fraked. Fubar. Suddenly, 121 members of the "Whoops, how'd that happen?" party bailed from the bill.

Who won and who lost?

For now, at least, the bill is dead and the Republicans won. The "Party of No" got their "Make the Democrats look like turkeys" achievement for the week.

Unfortunately, America didn't get its science and technology bill, nor did Americans get science and education-related jobs from the bill.

Final score: Republicans: 1, Democrats: 0, America: 0.

Oh, and lest you think this is an isolated incident, think again. The GOP has just field tested Democratic Kryptonite and it works. Expect to see similar moves from now on.

If only the Democrats had a powerful, compelling leader who could inspire that "Yes, we can" spirit and overcome the Republicans' gamesmanship with true leadership, strength, and purpose.

Oh, well.

TalkBack below. But before y'all try figuring out whether I'm a shill for the GOP or the Dems, know this: it's games like this that truly anger me. Neither party is putting America first, and that's what truly sucks.

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