HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Pennsylvania's House of Representatives, where Democrats have a one-vote majority, elected a Republican as its new speaker Tuesday.I'm absolutely dumbfounded.
Democrat William DeWeese, a former speaker and more recent minority leader, had hoped to return to the top job. Finding he could not get sufficient support within his own party, he nominated Republican Dennis O'Brien of Philadelphia, preferring him to the departing speaker, John Perzel, also a Philadelphia Republican, the Scranton Times-Tribune reported.
O'Brien defeated Perzel 105-97, getting most of his support from Democrats. There have been persistent rumors that he plans to switch parties, although he denied them last fall.
I'm not really up on Pennsylvania's internal politics anymore, so maybe this O'Brien guy (who seems not to be a Santorum-esque Republican) might be better than John Perzel. Maybe he'll switch parties. Maybe this was good politics.
But I can't help but wonder why a party with the majority couldn't elect one of their own for Speaker. Meet with the caucus, nominate potential speakers, vote. The winner should have Every. Single. Democratic. Vote.
I'm not advocating lock-step party politics. On any legislative issue, a Democrat is free to vote her or his conscience. But on procedural matters, party should always come before personal bickering.
Get it together! You won't be the majority in two years if you can't even manage to do this correctly...
Pennsylvania House of Representatives Republican Speaker Democratic Majority