There’s probably a general impression among voters that the House of Representatives is a silly, dysfunctional institution, made up of a few too ma
July 31, 2008

There’s probably a general impression among voters that the House of Representatives is a silly, dysfunctional institution, made up of a few too many people who love to hear themselves talk, but aren’t especially fond of governing.

Today is perhaps the single best example in recent history of lawmakers going out of their way to prove that caricature right. John Bresnahan has the story:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the Democrats adjourned the House and turned off the lights and killed the microphones, but Republicans are still on the floor talking gas prices.

Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other GOP leaders opposed the motion to adjourn the House, arguing that Pelosi’s refusal to schedule a vote allowing offshore drilling is hurting the American economy. They have refused to leave the floor after the adjournment motion passed at 11:23 a.m. and are busy bashing Pelosi and her fellow Democrats for leaving town for the August recess.

At one point, the lights went off in the House and the microphones were turned off in the chamber, meaning Republicans were talking in the dark. But as Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) was speaking, the lights went back on, and the microphones have been turned on as well.

Before you rush to C-SPAN to watch the circus unfold, don’t bother — C-SPAN isn’t broadcasting this. In fact, no one is actually watching this unusually stupid display except the Republican House members, their staffers, some tourists in the gallery, and some reporters who happen to be around.

But the GOP seems quite excited to play this little game, whether anyone can see it or not.

House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) issued a statement reading, “Although, this Democrat [sic] Majority just Adjourned for the Democrat [sic] 5-Week Vacation, House Republicans are continuing to fight on the House Floor. Although the lights, mics and C-SPAN camera’s have been turned off, House Republicans are on the Floor speaking to the tax payers [sic] in the gallery who, not surprisingly, agree with Republican Energy proposals.”

The point of the spectacle is ... well, it’s not quite clear what the point is. Republicans apparently want some tourists to know that they support drilling the coasts for oil. It wouldn’t lower the price of gas, and wouldn’t help consumers in any way, but darn it all, they really want to talk about drilling anyway.

When the lights went out in the chamber a second time, Republicans “cheered,” apparently perceiving a debate in the dark (literally and figuratively) works to their advantage. Or something.

Apparently, the latest update indicates that GOP leaders are looking for a “bullhorn.”

Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) told reporters, “I love this. Congress can be so boring.... This is a kick.”

It’s hard to overstate how truly ridiculous these unhinged fools really are. One wonders how long it will take for the Republican Party to rediscover the value of acting like grown-ups.

I was talking to a source at the DNC about this, who said, “Republicans must think Big Oil is paying them by the hour.”

That about sums it up.

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