Republicans in Disarray!

All 233 Democrats joined by 82 Republicans voted yesterday to raise the minimum wage. Of course, the 2006 swing in congress was substantial, but it wasn't nearly that big. If 82 Republicans are prepared to raise the minimum wage, why didn't it go up last congress? And what happened to the vaunted GOP discipline? Why are the Democrats so orderly all of a sudden. In short, nothing succeeds like success.

The major perk of being in the majority is that in addition to having more votes than the other guy (the numerical difference between the majority and minority parties is not especially large, nor was it in the previous two or three congresses), you get to decide what gets voted on. A GOP majority blocks minimum wage increases but not bringing them to the floor for a vote. Or, even better, by brining them to the floor but only paired with a bunch of special interest giveaways and giant tax cuts. That way, Republicans who want to be on record as "for" a minimum wage get to vote for one, while a coalition of Democrats and other Republicans vote the bill down. With the Democrats in charge, though, things are different -- you get a vote on a clean bill. What's more, since the bill is going to pass one way or another, every even vaguely Republican member may as well vote for it. Consequently, the GOP caucus is suddenly thrown into chaos.