QUOTE OF THE DAY…. Even by the standards of a House Republican, this is a strange argument.

While Americans should honor the legacy of the Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), Republicans won’t allow healthcare reform to proceed in the late senator’s honor, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) said Wednesday.

“Certainly people honor Sen. Ted Kennedy for all of his work,” Hensarling, a top House Republican, said during an appearance on CNBC. “But at the end of the day, this is a democracy, and I think the voice of the people have [sic] been heard quite loudly in the month of August.”

Hensarling said health care reform should die “if anybody’s listening to the American people.”

I can find some of this compelling. “This is a democracy.” That’s a fair observation. In fact, those four words should be on the minds of all lawmakers as the debate continues. Americans voted in November, electing a large Democratic majority in the House, a large Democratic majority in the Senate, and handing a Democratic president a large mandate. With that in mind, if a majority of the House wants health care reform, a majority of the Senate wants reform, and the president wants to sign a reform bill, reform should pass. After all, “at the end of the day, this is a democracy.” The “voice of the people” was heard loud and clear on Election Day. If majority rule should carry the day, then health care reform advocates are in good shape.

Hensarling would have us believe that we can’t really hear the “voice of the people” by way of national elections. If policymakers are going to follow the latest whims of shifting public attitudes, he argued, they should listen primarily to Tea Baggers and LaRouche cultists. They’re a loud minority, and that’s what counts.

I suppose it comes down to what kind of “democracy” we’re talking about — the one in which the people’s representatives do what they promised voters to do, or the one in which he who throws the biggest temper tantrum wins.

Hensarling prefers the latter. I respectfully disagree.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.