It’s hard to tell exactly what caused the breakdown but it’s easy to see the leadership had no coherent strategy for passing this legislation. I don’t care if the folks who fought the bill at the last minute were inventing excuses, had completely legitimate grievances, or were just bored. At some point, it’s the job of leadership to not have hugely embarrassing debacles that destroy goodwill between key constituents and lawmakers. At some point leadership shouldn’t reveal to the world that it couldn’t organize a shoe closet.

The job of leadership is to make sure disasters like this don’t happen. If they let it happen on easy legislation that is broadly popular (outside of American newsrooms, at least), what are they going to do when they need to really whip a vote on something unpopular in member districts?

If leadership isn’t giving female legislators the authority and influence they seek on this issue, rectify that. But everyone needs to get their act together and to get it together quickly. If this really was just a completely botched power play at the expense of unborn children and their supporters, the people responsible should pay consequences. Names should top a short list of incompetent politicians who should be kindly asked not to run for any office ever again. Those on the short list should be given the full understanding that failure to heed this warning will result in a vigorous primary fight.

The leadership needs to fix their internal and external communications and do some remedial training for members who need basic advice such as, “do not shoot yourself in the foot,” and “do not needlessly anger the one group of Americans not livid with us at the moment.” Maybe even, “learn how to do a power play that doesn’t take down your whole party with you.”