Five sweet rollcalls: not a bad start

The 100 hours agenda greased through the House, splitting the Republicans and unifying the Democrats on highly popular issues. Nice work, Ms. Pelosi!

I’m really grateful to all the pundits and bloggers who have explained to me so carefully what a turkey of a Speaker Nancy Pelosi is, being a gurrrrrrrlll and a San Franciscan to boot. Otherwise, I might have thought that picking five signature issues and getting them all through the House before the SOTU was pretty slick work.

Even more so, I might have been impressed by the actual votes: how Pelosi split the Republicans while holding her own caucus together beautifully. In each case, at least 24 Republicans voted for the Democratic bill, but except for college loans a majority of GOP members were on the unpopular side each time, making four clear partisan issues: protecting the country from terrorists, protecting seniors and the Treasury from Big Pharma, raising the pay of the working poor, and curing disease.

Party discipline among the famously fractious Democrats: near perfect. Other than stem cells, where 16 Democrats voted “no,” Democrats lined up just about perfectly; in the four other rollcalls, there were a total of four Democratic “nays,” all on the energy bill.

As I say, I might have been fooled into thinking to myself, “Mr. Sam would have been pretty happy with those rollcalls.”

Silly me.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: