A protester sitting in the House gallery just disrupted the early business going on in the chamber by screaming out: "The people have said no!" and "You took an oath." Leadership tried to gavel the members back into session and ordered the Sargent in Arms to remove the unruly man. Before he was escorted out, however, he did receive a fair amount of applause from the Republican side of the aisle.Steve Benen:
Outside, meanwhile, bullhorns and chants are seeping into the press room and even the chamber. Chants of "Naaaannnccy" and "vote them out" are constant, as are the usual "kill the bill" refrains. At one point, three lawmakers, presumably Republicans, went outside the Capitol building -- on a second floor balcony -- to greet the protestors. And they each held up one side reading: "Kill" "The" "Bill".
It's not terribly unusual for some nut to start shouting from the visitors' gallery in the House, interrupting proceedings, and they're always quickly escorted from the room. But I've never heard of an instance in which House members actually applaud the nut. This sort of thing simply doesn't happen in the United States Congress.We have a highly educated relative who was born to life-long Republican parents some six decades ago. He was, himself, a prominent and highly successful Republican politician, holding an elective office at the state level in the Midwest for nearly a decade, before he voluntarily retired from politics.
And we're not just talking about a GOP member or two. Jonathan Cohn, who was literally a few feet away, said "at least a dozen" Republican lawmakers cheered on the protestor.
He longer considers himself a Republican. "I didn't leave the Republican Party," he told us recently. "The party left me."
If the irresponsible, near-psychotic behavior of national Republican office-holders continues, many more people will be coming to the same conclusion for themselves. Down the path Mitch McConnell and John Boehner are leading them lies the death of Abraham Lincoln's once-great political party.