In the first 40 minutes of Saturday’s debate on the landmark bill, representatives from the minority party objected — or threatened to object — no fewer than 75 times, throwing in 35 “parliamentary inquiries” for good measure. The debate was delayed by nearly 90 minutes.

Anybody who wondered whether more active involvement by President Obama in the climate bill process — lots of town hall meeetings, big speeches, more direct lobbying of members — would have led to a better outcome now has their answer.  No.

After all of the administration’s effort — “hours after President Obama exhorted Democratic lawmakers to “answer the call of history” — Democrats passed the health care reform bill 220-215 with 39 defections.  Precisely one Republican voted for it, Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao, who represents a heavily Democratic district in Louisiana.  So the score in the House is 0 votes for the stimulus, 1 for health care reform and a whopping 8 for the climate and clean energy bill, which actually ended up with one less vote overall — see The U.S. House of Representatives approves landmark (bipartisan!) climate bill, 219 – 212. Waxman-Markey would complete America’s transition to a clean energy economy, which started with the stimulus bill.

We’ve recently seen every Senate Republican support a trumped-up effort to boycott and obstruct the clean energy bill (see “The GOP’s phony excuse for delaying the climate and clean energy bill“).  The WashPost’s Dana Milbank has an excellent piece on the GOP’s essential (Groucho) Marxist nature over the health care bill, “The object of their objections“:

At long last House Democrats passed their health-care legislation Saturday night. The Republicans objected. Often.

The debate was only a few minutes old when Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) rose to speak. “I ask unanimous consent — ”

“I object!” shouted Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), the leader of House conservatives.

” — to revise and extend — ” Capps continued.

“I object! I object!” Price hollered.

Capps tried again. “I ask unanimous consent to revise my — ”

“I object!”

” — remarks — ”

“I object! I object! I object! I object!”

The presiding officer pointed out that Capps had not said anything that could be objected to.

Capps started over. “I ask unanimous consent to revise my remarks — ”

“I object!” cried Price, sounding like Ned Flanders on “The Simpsons.” “I object! I object! I object! I object!”

” — care denied because of a preexisting condition — ”

“I object! I object! I object!”

In the first 40 minutes of Saturday’s debate on the landmark bill, representatives from the minority party objected — or threatened to object — no fewer than 75 times, throwing in 35 “parliamentary inquiries” for good measure. The debate was delayed by nearly 90 minutes.

Ned Flanders may be the modern analogue, but it’s pure Groucho Marx in Horsefeathers — though more Groucho than Marx brother, I’m afraid:

I don’t know what they have to say,
It makes no difference anyway,
Whatever it is, I’m against it.
No matter what it is or who commenced it,
I’m against it.

Your proposition may be good,
But let’s have one thing understood,
Whatever it is, I’m against it.
And even when you’ve changed it or condensed it,
I’m against it.

I’m opposed to it,
On general principle, I’m opposed to it …

It is a certainly a consistent philosophy, if ultimately self-destructive.

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