Last week, the grande dame of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), showed her true feelings, and those of the Democratic Party in America, about America and Americans. She also showed why, more than any other reason, the United States Congress must limit its Members’ terms of office.
Pelosi and Marino: Congressional pugilists?
No, the dust-up between Pelosi and Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.-10th) wasn’t as bad as the memorable outburst between Reps. Matthew Lyon (D-R-Vt.) and Roger Griswold (F-Conn.). But it came close.
Marino held forth on the floor of the House during debate on an immigration bill. Among other things he cited a breakdown of “law and order” on the border. Then he accused “my colleagues on the other side” of tolerating such lawlessness.
Then he said:
You know something that I find quite interesting about the other side? Under the leadership of the former Speaker [Pelosi], and under the leadership of their former leader [Rep. Steny Hoyer], when in 2009 and 2010, they had the House, the Senate and the White House, and they knew this problem existed. They didn’t have the strength to go after it back then. But now are trying to make a political issue out of it now.
Pelosi blew up. She leaped out of her chair, strode across the floor of the House, and started yelling in his face. Her problem: she didn’t have a microphone. She didn’t even have one of the new wearable wireless microphones that let a person talk from wherever he or she stands. Whatever she said, she must have meant to accuse him of saying something that simply was not true. For he answered:
It’s true, madam leader, I did the research on it. You might want to try it. You might want to try it, madam leader. Do the research on it. Do the research. I did it. That’s one thing that you don’t do.
The Acting Speaker (whom no one has yet identified) asked Marino to address all his remarks to the chair. The Rules of the House (and Senate), and Roberts’ Rules of Order, all forbid open dialogue at a meeting.
Marino went on, saying “…apparently I hit the right nerve. I yield back [the balance of my time].”
And Pelosi went off again. She chased him down and shouted at him. As before, no microphone recorded her words. But Mike Lillis and Peter Schroeder of The Hill found an unlikely witness: Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.)
He [Marino] called her [Pelosi] responsible for [the current border crisis], and she went over [to the Republican side of the chamber] and said, “You’re an insignificant person.”
Marino confirmed that insult on Twitter the next day.
Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) told The Hill the confrontation could have gotten violent, except “people got there first.” They included both Republicans and Democrats, the Republicans shielding Marino and the Democrats ushering Pelosi back to her desk.
And in good time, too. At least one Representative “suggested” the House was not in order. The Acting Speaker rapped his gavel and sustained that “suggestion.” Had the two sides not gone back to their desks, the Acting Speaker then might have ordered the House Sergeant-at-arms to apply the Mace, or carry the symbol of the authority of the House into the throng and demand the Members break it up. The last time the Sergeant-at-arms is on record as “applying the Mace” was in 1994, after Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) refused to stop speaking during a tirade against Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.).
See also this report from ABC News.
What does this mean – insignificant?
The worst part of this exchange was what Nancy Pelosi said to and about Tom Marino: “You’re insignificant.”
That means those who elected him were also insignificant.
But they can’t be that insignificant. Tom Marino came to the House in 2011. He was part of that Republican Wave of 2010 that “flipped the House.” He is one reason among many that Nancy Pelosi is now Minority Floor Leader, and no longer Speaker of the House of Representatives.
So he really is significant enough. And perhaps Pelosi meant to express her frustration, not at the transparency of Democratic Party tricks on immigration politics, but at her not being Speaker anymore. Imagine how she must feel: she, who has served in the House for twenty-seven years (since June 2, 1987), removed from the Speakership by, among other people, a nobody! A man from coal country! (This recalls District Twelve, the coal-mining district, in the novel and motion-picture franchise called The Hunger Games.) No wonder she called him insignificant. Because she wishes he was as insignificant as that.
Marino told Fox and Friends this morning: “Some people in the House think they’re royalty.”
Nancy Pelosi is not alone in thinking people “insignificant” who do not hail from fashionable Nob Hill in San Francisco. Or who, more to the point, are not senior in Congress. Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) blew his top the same way when his aides showed him a summons and complaint from an organization seeking to recall him from office.
Who the h__l are these people?!? They’re nobodies!!!
There you have it. Senior Senators and Representatives think those who vote for their opponents, or especially for opposite-party challengers, are “insignificant.” Likewise they consider “insignificant” any colleague who has not served in Congress as long as they have.
This attitude endangers the function and the freedoms of any republic. It shows why the Constitution and laws of the United States should not let anyone serve longer than, say, seven years in the House, or fifteen years in the Senate. When favors, and federal grants, go only to “significant” districts with “significant” Representatives, this breaks every rule the Framers of the Constitution set.
To the Framers, no one was “insignificant.” And no Senator or Representative ought to be more “significant” than any other.