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Republican leadership went to the White House trying to get the Republicans onboard with their agenda, but they can’t get their own members in their own party too listen to them. What should have been an easy vote to extend the Patriot Act failed. They couldn’t keep their members in line. 26 Republicans voted against the bill. Eight of them were freshmen.
And here’s what i say to that — good for them. And good for the tea party, the people who actually in this case voted on principle, and I agree with them. The Patriot Act should not have been renewed. It’s a real problem in regards to privacy. Don’t get me started only the national security letters. They were right on principle on procedural grounds. We’ll explain that in a second.
The Republican establishment hated that. Rand Paul ripped GOP leadership today with the following statement.
“Llast night there was little debate, no committee hearings held, no amendments allowed and no examination of whether our government had lived up to its responsibility to protect the liberty of the people. I commend the House for rejecting the renewal of the Patriot Act on these grounds. It is likely that even with this temporary victory the House will pass these extensions and send the Patriot Act renewal to the Senate. And when they do, I will oppose it.”
Are you ready for this? Way to go, Rand Paul. I totally agree. If they offered no amendments and now all of a sudden they’ve changed their mind, way to be principled and stick to your grounds on that. And again, I agree on the liberty part as well. House Democrats loved this and they jumped at the chance to take a few digs at the new GOP leaders.
REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND: I think our Republican colleagues are struggling with the burden of leadership, and clearly they have not found their footing going forward.
REP. XAVIER BECERRA (D), CALIFORNIA: Governing and leading is a lot more difficult than it is to just throw bombs and campaign. Who`s on first? I think that`s a question that has to be asked of Republicans right now. Who`s on first?
They can hardly keep their smiles from beaming. They just lost, that’s awesome. They got the Tea Party help and wound up winning.
Now, John Boehner, of course, is on the defense, and what`s he going to do? Of course, he`s going to blame it on the Democrats.
BOEHNER: Well, we`ve been in the majority for four weeks. We`re not going to be perfect every day. And if the Democrats who voted for these same provisions last year would have voted for them this year, it would have passed.
>> boo-hoo. if the democrats had voted my way, then i would have won. yeah, really? you’re complaining about one party being united in opposition against the other party? where have i seen that before snf o? oh, right, the republicans zero votes for the democrats. the last two years. i don’t think the guy understands the concept of irony. boehner tried to pretend that he’s, in fact, a tea partier.
>> are you a member of the tea party?
>> i should be.
>> are you?
>> i talk to the tea party activists every day.
>> you talk to them when they’re yelling at you and defeating your bills. and orrin hatch is afraid of being primaried by the tea party like senator bob bennett so he invited himself to a tea party hall last night and he joined superstars like rand paul and michelle bachmann and hatch sounded red dpiady to play in the tea party big leagues.
>> i’ve been watching what the tea party does. i’ve been terribly impressed. it’s a terrible health care bill. it’s a dos dog-gone monstrosity. i was the one who raised the issuen’t a the job-killing employer man date and the unconstitutional employee mandate. i’ve been all over the world for our country. everywhere we go, people have always been amazed by america. and yet we’re in danger of losing the greatest country in the world. so we’ve got to fight back. ?
>> here’s what i’m amazed by. orrin hatch. you’re going to tell me your tai party? there’s no one more republican establishment than orrin hatch who’s been there for approximately 800 years. i love how he’s riled up and being tea party. it’s a dog-gone monstrosity. golly gee wilackers, i’m really opposed to those guys. by the way, it’s a mandate. i’m totally against that. orrin hatch co-sponsored a 1993 that had an individual mandate. it makes me so don-gone mad.
>> all right, now let me turn to david weigel with slate. was it the tea partiers last night saying we don’t like the patriot act? or was it we promised the american people of not allowing amendments or no debate, et cetera. do you know which it was or botha caused them to vote against boehner and the gop leadership?
>> it was both. not every member was clued into what they were voting on. everyone figured this would pass. reporters didn’t think there was any controversy here. i remember eric cantor’s briefing beforehand, people were referring to the vote that was going to pass that day. most of the concerns from the members i’ve ebeen talking to today who voted against it were actually about substance. rand paul brought up the deeper meaning of passing bills this way. but a lot — the freshmen members who voted against this, the eight guys with we’re talking about said look, there were provisions here i promised i was opposed to and i’m going to vote against it every time it comes up. they joined about a dozen and a half republicans who aren’t libertarian or everything but have been voting this way for a couple of year fps.
>> isn’t this a lovely development when people ? vote based on principle? whether you agree with the principle or not, i’m kind of shocked about it. what? they voted on principle? it seems to be real principle.
>> it is. don’t get too kmieted. t — excited. they tried to pass this, it was a closed rule, meaning they needed two thirds of congress to support it. they need every republican, a chunk of democrats. that’s kwhie you heard john boehner maybe not completely convincingly blaming the democrats for not succeeding. they can usually lose a bloc of libertarianian republicans, and they did. ron mapaul is usually on the end of these votes, you know, when republicans have the majority right now, on the end of votes that pass overwhelmingly. there’s a larger bloc of guys who are going to do that now. they’ve succeeded in making this a slightly more open process, but actually, they’re going to vote again on a closed rule tomorrow, and then they’re going to vote on the whole bill monday and it’s extremely unlikely anything is going to change this time.
>> look, isle take my victories where i can get them.
>> it was surprising, it was great. both republicans and democrats voting on principle. but i love boehner blaming the democrats. how could the opposing party oppose me? there’s some great irony in that. but dave, what i’m most interested in is real bipartisanship. it seems like there might be some issue where is the tea party people, the real left and right, genuinely agree on certain issues. isn’t that a wonderful development?
>> yeah, they can at least agree on transparency. i don’t think there’s a majority to make a lot of these things happen, but russ feingold lost re-election in 2010, and there are people very worried in the civil liberties community that there’s nobody that’s going to pick that banner up from now on. he was out front on everything like this. rand paul has come out, like people were hoping, said he’s going to try to slow this down in the center. at least open the process up so this is not ran through like when democrats were in charge. w$n democrats were in charge of everything, there was a bipartisan process of getting a patriot act rubber stamped. so yeah, there’s actually some bipartisanship here possible. and, you know, anything that irritates the leadership of both parties, i — i generally — i’m not an anihilist, but i find that kind of exciting.
>> i find it exciting, too. i think the establishment mainly does — when you hear bipartisanship, normally it means they’ve agreed to give whatever the lobbyists want to the lobbyists. both parties agree to it. here when it’s on principle, it’s encouraging. i’ll take my wins wherever i can. dave weigel, appreciate you coming on with us.
>> thank you. let’s stay off of craigslist tonight.