A transparent stunt but an awfully shrewd one. The cameras are off so we’re forced to rely on Politico for running updates. What a scene:
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…
“This is the people’s House,” Rep, Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) said. “This is not Pelosi’s politiburo.”
Democratic aides were furious at the GOP stunt, and reporters were kicked out of the Speaker’s Lobby, the space next to the House floor where they normally interview lawmakers.
“You’re not covering this, are you?” complaing one senior Democratic aide. Another called the Republicans “morons” for staying on the floor…
The scene on the floor is kind of crazy. Normally, members are not allowed to speak directly to the visitor galleries, or visitors are prohibited from cheering. But in this case, the members are walking up and down on the floor during their speeches, standing on cheers, the visitors are cheering loudly. Some members even brought in visitors, who are now sitting on the House floor in the seats normally filled by lawmakers, cheering and clapping. Very funny.
GOP whip Roy Blunt issued a statement asking all Republican House members who are still in town to come to the floor. Exit question: What are the odds that someone there will be smart enough to fetch a camcorder from one of the offices near the chamber and record this for YouTubing? Eric Cantor, the deputy whip, has shown some ‘Net savvy in the past. Chop chop.
Update: And no sooner do I write those words than I get a tip that Rep. John Culberson is taping — and Twittering! — outside the chamber. Stay tuned. Click the image to watch.
Update: The boss is pleased, especially with the use of new media to get the word out.
My main post on the House GOP revolt is here and I’ll keep updating it. But I’m breaking out a separate post on the Republicans’ very savvy use of Twitter to circumvent the Democrat blackout and overcome the absence of C-SPAN cameras– and their outreach to conservative blogs to spread the word.
This is the change we’ve been waiting for, Beltway GOP.
Update: Pete Hokestra says Capitol Hill security is ready to shut down the party promptly at 4:30 lest the GOP reap any more goodwill from this than they already have. Meanwhile, Politico’s still updating fast and furiously. Money quote:
Rep. Tom Cole (Okla.), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said the dimly lit chamber is a “vision of the future by the Democrat Party: The lights are out, there’s no power, and the air conditioning is gonna go off soon.”
Update: It’s all over as of 5 p.m., carried off to the tune of “God Bless America.” NBC says even congressmen not known for oratory caught the fee-vah in the chamber. Says Mike Pence, “We will be here through the break.”