Flashback: It’s 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning in 2003. The traditional 15-minute roll call vote is extended for two hours and 51 minutes. The Medicare bill was heading to a 218 to 216 defeat. Key arms were twisted. Promises of campaign money and support were made. It became a 220 to 215 victory.
The drug bill episode also included its share of Democratic double standards. Democratic leaders like Harry Reid lecture Republicans today about obstructionist tactics. But Democratic leaders attempted a filibuster and murkier parliamentary maneuvers to kill the Medicare bill.
This is why the drug bill captures both parties’ hypocrisy. It explains why we have millions of conservatives more aligned to the Tea Party movement than to Republicans. It’s why we have more independents than Democrats or Republicans. It’s why a recent CNN poll found nearly two-thirds of Americans want a major third party.
It’s also why Republican recriminations on spending today, from Boehner to Cantor to onetime Bush advisors, sound like sophism. We are the summation of our actions. And both parties’ actions brought us to this crushing debt.