What to think of the current standoff in the state House of Representatives now that House Democrats have exiled themselves, bringing business in the House to a standstill for lack of a quorum?
The House G.O.P. reminds me of one of those receivers that catches a deep pass in the open field, then starts showboating short of the end zone before being stripped by a second-stringer too dumb or stubborn to know the game is supposed to be over. It’s all the more maddening because the guy who stripped the ball is a short dude with bad hair.
For years, it’s been a field position game with the Democrats and Republicans going back and forth across the 50 yard line. The Democrats would have the Governor’s mansion, the G.O.P. would have the Senate and the Congressional delegation, and they’d ebb back and forth with control of the House. Then, the G.O.P. took the Governor’s mansion, but ended up losing the House and Congressional delegation. This year, however, the Republicans connected long – keeping the Governor’s mansion (however gently that house actually gets used), increasing their perpetual majority in the Senate, taking a monstrous 60-40 lead in the House, capturing Bayh’s Senate seat, and taking a 6-3 majority in the Congress.
Publicly, anyway, Gov. Daniels sounded like the seasoned quarterback – when you get to the end zone, act like you’ve been there before. Tone down the social issues, focus on conservative economic priorities, and leave right-to-work alone. Sadly, no. House Republicans seemed to have started their victory dance at about the 20 yard line – a Constitutional Amendment discriminating against gays; lots of abortion stuff; and then, the bridge too far – right to work. That provided the opening for the uninspiring, but undeniably gritty, Pat Bauer to come and strip the ball by staging a walkout. Now, instead of walking into the end zone, the Republicans find themselves facing a goal line stand from about the 2 yard line. They may well punch the ball in anyway, but now they’re going to have to work for it.