John Stewart set his sights on house Minority leader Nancy Pelosi
the other night for her not allowing Representative Duckworth to vote by proxy for leadership roles on committees.
The offenses committed by Pelosi — whom Stewart championed as a longtime fighter for women's and voting rights? She denied Rep. Tammy Duckworth's request to cast a proxy vote in the Democratic leadership elections. Duckworth was advised by her doctor not to fly to Washington in her eighth month of pregnancy. Duckworth (D-Ill.) also is a double-amputee Iraq War veteran, or, as Stewart put it, a Democratic demographic Turduckworth. The reason for denying the proxy vote? Pelosi said it would set a precedent ... and Duckworth happened to be supporting someone other than Pelosi's chosen candidate for a committee position.
This segment was preceded by many political publications reporting with headlines such as this: House Dems Rage Over Denying Pregnant Colleague Proxy Vote
. From the link:
Proxy voting is prohibited under Democratic caucus rules.
Some Democrats, however, are still objecting.
“Our party should be the party that stands for women,” Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) said during a caucus meeting on Tuesday, according to Roll Call.
On Monday at a news conference Pelosi defended her resistance to allowing Duckworth a proxy vote.
“The rules of the caucus are the same as the rules of the House. No proxy voting….The fact is that it’s really important to be here, to be in caucus. It’s more important to vote on the floor. If I were to make a fight, I’d vote to have a proxy vote on the floor than in whatever’s going on in the caucus.”
Ms. Duckworth responded: “I submitted a request to the Caucus to allow for a proxy vote due to my pregnancy. The Caucus chose not to allow me to vote via proxy,” Duckworth said. “I respect the process and very much appreciated my colleagues who made sure my request was considered."
Certainly, a very gracious response. Roll call stated:
And many members are concerned about the optics of not allowing Duckworth a proxy vote when Democrats are supposed to be the party that fights for women. Democrats have tried to make electoral gains by touting the “When Women Succeed, America Succeeds” economic agenda.
“Our party should be the party that stands up for women,” Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida said in a caucus meeting Tuesday morning, according to a source in the room.
What is far less reported was this moment during discussions on whether to allow a proxy vote for Rep. Duckworth:
Democrats like Rep. Rosa DeLauro, the co-chair of the Democrat Steering and Policy Committee, cautioned colleagues against setting new precedent for the secret ballot elections.
But Rep. Jan Schakowsky, vice-chair of the steering and policy committee and one of Duckworth’s colleagues from Illinois, made a motion to permit a concession to Duckworth, whose letter was read to the caucus.
"I write to request your assistance regarding upcoming votes four our Caucus," her letter stated, according to the National Journal, which first broke the story. "As you are aware, I am in the final weeks of my pregnancy, and have been instructed by my physician not to travel. As a result, I will not be attending the upcoming Caucus meetings in person."
"I would like to request a proxy vote on the upcoming leadership and ranking member elections that will come before the Caucus in the coming weeks,” she continued.
According to a Democratic aide in the room during the debate, a pivotal moment came when Rep. Gwen Moore spoke out to ask whether she could proxy vote as well because she plans to attend a funeral in Wisconsin next Tuesday.
Moore’s request soured the mood of the room against Duckworth’s motion, the aide said, “with Members realizing the slippery slope argument that others had made.” Schakowsky then pulled her motion for Duckworth.
John Stewart, along with many other people who have a bullhorn didn't bother telling people that part of the story.
I love Stewart, but there are rules that should be followed, and when the time to change those rules comes, they should be changed. I personally do not believe that voting absentee is a good idea for legislating, and am not completely convinced it is a good idea for intra-party decisions.
I guess I am concerned about the "slippery slope" as well. With all the technology we have, I believe that face-to-face interactions make governing better. I don't believe as some have suggested that it is sexist to not allow her to vote nor do I believe it is a slap in the face at her service and sacrifice to our nation. Her Doctor has advised she not travel due to her pregnancy. She attempted to have her voice heard and I appreciate it. Some Dems are angry, while many - I believe - understand what happened here. It's not sexist, it's not anti-woman, not the way I am seeing this.
Sometimes rules are rules. Skype cannot replace actually being present in real life. What do you think?