California Republicans' Big Gay Snub
Rare tradition of bipartisanship comes to an end
Assemblyman John Perez, D-Los Angeles, stands to cast his vote for himself during the election of a new Assembly Speaker at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 7. By a 48-26 party line vote, Perez defeated Assembly Minority Leader Sam Blakeslee, of San Luis Obispo, to replace Speaker Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles.
Monday, Jan 11, 2010 Updated at 5:08 PM PDT
Defying tradition, Republicans in California's state Assembly did not participate in the usually unanimous voice vote electing John Pérez as Speaker last week.
The unanimous vote is generally regarded as a show of support for whichever sucker ends up with the job of herding the cats in California's legislative body.
The snub was apparently urged by conservative pundits online, according to former Speaker Willie Brown. It's not clear whether being a Democrat or being gay was behind the demand, though Republicans have voted for the previous four speakers, all Democrats.
"We're just going back to more historic roles about how we elect a speaker," Republican Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee told the Capitol Weekly.
"In the same spirit of bipartisanship, I'd like to nominate Sam Blakeslee for Miss Congeniality," ever-witty Assembly Democrat Tom Ammiano offered as a retort.
Republicans nominated Blakeslee for the speakership instead of Pérez. Blakeslee then lost the vote, which carried along party lines.
Jackson West figures if Republicans are so concerned with tradition, why don't we just go back to being a colony of Spain?
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