My Heroic Gesture Is Your “Stunt”

After House Republicans got themselves tied into knots over an amendment to a Interior Department appropriations bill that would have banned Confederate flag displays at federal cemetaries, House Democrats offered their own resolution about displays in the House itself, and GOPers freaked, per a report from The Hill‘s Christina Marcos:

Earlier on Thursday, House GOP leaders yanked an Interior Department spending bill from the floor because of a separate fight over allowing graves in federal cemeteries to be decorated with the Confederate flag.

The House on Tuesday voted to ban such displays, but members of the GOP conference complained after the voice vote.

Late Wednesday, Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) offered an amendment to undo the voice vote and to continue the practice of flying the Confederate flag at certain federal cemeteries.

That move triggered intense opposition from Democrats, who marched to the floor to denounce the Republican move.

So Nancy Pelosi offerered a follow-up resolution:

The House voted Thursday to refer legislation banning the Confederate flag image from the Capitol to a committee, effectively punting the issue.

The dramatic vote was forced by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who was eager to put a spotlight on the issue after House GOP leaders pulled a separate bill from the floor after an intraparty fight over the flag.

Pelosi’s resolution would have forced Mississippi’s state flag, which includes the Confederate flag, to be removed from the House side of the Capitol.

After Pelosi offered the resolution, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) immediately moved to refer the measure to the House Administration Committee for further review.

Democrats shouted their disapproval to drown out all other sound in the House chamber.

“Vote! Vote! Vote!” they chanted.

The House backed McCarthy, voting 238-176 to refer the measure in a largely party-line vote.

Rep. Curt Clawson (R-Fla.) was the only Republican to side with Democrats on the Confederate flag. Rep. Mia Love (Utah), the only female black Republican in Congress, briefly voted “present” before changing her vote in favor of referral in the final moments of the roll call.

Speaker Boehner’s spox, of course, called the Democratic maneuver a “stunt.” But that sounds a bit hollow in view of the self-high-fiving going on among Republicans about the removal of the Confederate battle flag from South Carolina’s Statehouse grounds, decided this very day.

You cannot have it both ways.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.