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Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Breaks Protocol, Confronts Republican on House Floor

The stewardship of Democrats in the House by Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California has certainly had high moments and low moments. Her high moments are redwood-tall: highest-ranking elected female government official, ever; the first woman to serve as House Minority Leader and as Speaker of the House; and the first American of Italian descent to lead one of the major political parties. However, some argue, the low moments have outnumbered the high.

It was certainly not a high moment on Saturday when Pelosi broke protocol and challenged the assertions of Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Tom Marino that the current immigration issue is an example of the Democrats playing politics. According to The Washington Times, New York Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey “could be heard off-camera saying ‘What is she doing?’”

Pelosi’s comments came after Marino claimed that the Democrats “didn’t have the strength” to reform immigration when they controlled the House and Senate from 2008-2010. While what she said was not picked up by the microphone, Marino responded to her saying, “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.”

Of course, the story is going to be about Pelosi or the snarky tweets that Marino sent afterwards, curated by Mediaite.com. But for those of us not titillated by the reality show aspects of this interaction, Rep. Marino gave the most infuriating answer that any politician or pundit can give. To suggest someone “do their research,” makes up for not having anything of substance to say.

Yes, “charging” (as many outlets are reporting it) across the floor was a spectacle, but one has to ask if Marino had done the research, why didn’t he tell us what he found? Rather, he chose to make the Minority Leader seem stupid, erratic, and (especially deadly for women) overly emotional.

Had Marino responded with statistics or figures or any information at all, he may have proved that he did indeed do some research. In fact, it’s almost certain he would have because it would have been even more embarrassing to Pelosi. Yet, his response indicates, at least to me, that he didn’t have anything and, possibly, was a little intimidated by the septuagenarian “storming” the floor after his remarks.

About the author

Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. Along with news and current events, he writes about parenting, art, and personal stories. His serial fiction story "The Prophet Hustle" is available at JukePop.com and a forthcoming independent ebook about the cam-modeling industry "Dirty Little Windows" will be available later this summer.