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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.

  • Annie Kemps

    Marino wants to try and make people believe the Dem’s are holding up the Immigration Bill but; it is obvious who is actually doing it; same people that keep trying to suppress the vote, same people that killed the jobs bills, vets bill, infrastructure bills, on, and on, I could go.; and that would not be the DEM’S but; the republican’s are good at getting paid for doing nothing.TYVM.

    • Joshua M. Patton

      Thanks for reading and your comment. To be honest, I really hadn’t heard of Rep. Marino before this, so I don’t really know what he’s about. My point is essentially that “Do your research” is the “Your Mom…” of Congress, political discourse. It reminds me of a college freshman trying to argue around not having read the assignment.

  • Terry Collins Kelley-King

    the rule is the house doesn’t nothing. Boehner has total say and do nothing is the rule.

    • Joshua M. Patton

      Thanks for reading and sharing your opinion. The leadership of Minority Leader Pelosi has not been fantastic. Put another way, she is not flawless here. Yet, say what you will about her and the Democrats, they passed legislation even with a Republican in the White House.

  • John Schaefer

    How is that not a high point? The dems need to do a lot more of this. The gop NEVER follows any protocols. unless it serves their evil purpose.

    • Joshua M. Patton

      John, thanks for reading and your question. It wasn’t a high point both because of how it “looked” and the issue at the heart of it. Going with the latter first, the DREAM Act passed the House but didn’t become law, thus the ultimate argument (that DEMOCRATS are weak, not just House Democrats) is actually validated by the attention brought to what was, before she went across the floor, a throwaway GOP statement. It became a spectacle, and the GOP always wins at “spectacle.”

      • lugnut

        So all republicans have had low points, because of how they look.It wasn’t validated. It’s only validated in rightwingers minds and it’s not like they support Dems anyway

  • lugnut

    So when a Dem steps up to challenge all the nastiness by republicans since day one on a daily and hourly basis, it’s a low point? Marino didn’t do his research, or simply ignored the fact Dems couldn’t get much of anything done in 2009-2010, because republicans were 100% obstructionist, requiring 60 votes on every bill. Republicans even complain about jobs and even put on shows on the steps of congress, asking “Obama where are the jobs, even though they filibustered all jobs bills.

  • lugnut

    I wouldn’t care if she had ran up behind him and beat him on the head. I have longed for Dem to show some aggression. I actually love what she did. With all the nastiness republicans have been doing on a day to day and hourly basis for 5 and and a half years, i would love to see fist fights.

  • Corey

    How about “YOU LIE”!!! seems people forget that trumps anything that the fools in congress say to each other