Talk:Hastert Rule

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Republican rule?[edit]

Is there any reference that the Democrats have used this as a rule when they were in the majority? Uberhill 02:01, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

When Pelosi was Speaker the House occasionally passed bills with significantly more support from the minority than from the majority, such as funding for the U.S. occupation of Iraq. In the 90s, the NAFTA free trade pact passed with 102 Democrats voting for and 156 Dems voting against.--Brian Dell (talk) 07:51, 3 January 2013 (UTC)
It's a fundamentally corrupt and anti-democratic rule ... i.e., a GOP rule. -- Jibal (talk) 09:39, 10 April 2017 (UTC)

Name of article[edit]

The article was moved from "Majority of the majority" to "Hastert Rule" without meaningful discussion. I'm not 100% opposed to this change but I do think it merits a short discussion. "Hastert Rule" certainly sounds snappier but one issue is that, as described in the article, while the rule has been ascribed to Hastert it started before him and continued after him, making it somewhat misleading. Also, a Google web search for "majority of the majority" turns up 966,000,000 hits while "Hastert rule" turns up 86,700 hits. That may be affected by Wikipedia, however, as well as the fact that "majority of the majority" might be used to refer to other things. A Google news search turns up "majority of the majority" 2,150 times and "Hastert rule" 2,320 times, roughly indicating a near-even split in reliable sources. --Nstrauss (talk) 18:10, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

  • I am actually fine either way. I noticed a largly blank talk page, so I didn't think there was much interest in the article. I think "Hastert Rule" is better, but I would be fine if either. As far as my logic, if we go to what it is currently being called (the news search), you are right that the hits are almost even. However, if one looks at the title fo these stories, the "Hastert Rule" place an upfront role. All these titles (or nearly all) mention the "hastert Rule", even if majority of the majority is mentioned also in the title. This is the title the media will often use. Therefore, I think the "Hastert Rule" is more helpful to the reader in finding what it is. Casprings (talk) 19:27, 24 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Good grief. Maybe you should learn how to use google, and should take just a moment or two to think. The vast majority of your "966,000,000 hits" are for the word "majority". There are only 6 hits for the phrase "majority of the majority". -- Jibal (talk) 09:50, 10 April 2017 (UTC)

Ok, looking at the NY Times and the WaPo, the two most reliable sources on this in my opinion, they seem to lean toward "Hastert Rule" or "Hastert rule." (Times has lowercase r, Post has uppercase R.) So I'm fine with this. --Nstrauss (talk) 19:50, 24 June 2013 (UTC)


Cite lead.[edit]

You say here that the claim (that it is done only be the GOP) is cited elsewhere in the article, but the claim is not even claimed elsewhere in the article. It it was there in the past it is not anymore-- so the claim in the lead looks like random vandalism.

If there is a RS somewhere in the article to back-up this claim, then it does no good when it is nowhere paired-up with the claim that needs the citation. tahc chat 03:41, 12 December 2014 (UTC)

On further review, you're right. I've added a {{cn}} tag and will look through the sources when I have a bit more time. --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 19:45, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
The "Hastert Rule" has been used much more by the GOP than Democratics since there has only been one Democratic Speaker (Pelosi, for 4 years total) since 1995, vs. 3 GOP Speakers for 17 years-- but it is misleading to claim it is a "Republican" rule unless it Democratics disavow it or don't use it while in office.
On December 13, 2012 Frank0051 placed a large caution that claimed the "Hastert Rule" was "largely" a GOP rule). His concern was a perception that the article then did "summarize the theory to the contrary" (I don't see how).
A few hours later How hot is the sun? added the word "Republican" (not "largely Republican") to the lead so as to remove the large caution. Neither editor indicated a WP:RSs. BTW, I do not think "largely Republican" by itself is would be a clear indication of the rule's use. tahc chat 21:05, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
"Largely Republican" is factually inaccurate as it suggests that Pelosi adhered to the rule, which she didn't. Regardless, per our verifiability policy if we're going to say either "Republican" or "largely Republican" that info must be supported by a reliable source. Otherwise it's original research. Hence the cn tag. --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 22:12, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
My comment was only that I do not seek a text to say "largely Republican". As long as you fine a reliable source soon we can go with whatever it says, but this looks to me like there isn't one. tahc chat 23:52, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
From the mid-1990’s there have been four Speakers of the house of representative – Gingrich, Hastert, Pelosi and Boehner. We have a source saying that it started with Gingrich, who became Speaker in 1995. We have another source saying that Hastert went public with it, and for that reason his name is attached to it. We have another source for Pelosi, where she renounces it (Pelosi Brings End to ‘Hastert Rule’ [1]). And lastly we have a source for Boehner embracing it. Gingrich, Hastert and Boehner are Republicans; Pelosi is a Democrat. So we have sources for all Republican Speakers from the mid-90’s until now, showing that they all used it. At the same time we have a source for the only Democrat to act as Speaker during that time where she publicly repudiates it. So we can clearly say that it has been “used by all Republican Speakers of the House of Representatives since the mid-1990s”, as we have sources already in the article for every Republican speaker during that timeframe. We can move those sources up to the lead if necessary. Brimba (talk) 05:13, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
If Pelosi somewhere repudiates it then start by putting that in the article body with the citation. Then we can change the summary to reflect. tahc chat 16:14, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
I don't see anything in the cited article that says she repudiates the "rule" and no one ever followed the "rule" all the time. The article seem to be about a partiular situation that she didn't at a time only 5 months into her speakership. If I missed it and anything besides mere headlines shows she repudiates the "rule", let us know. tahc chat 18:45, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
We have long had a quote from Pelosi in the article that I had thought made clear that she had rejected/repudiated the Hastert Rule when she was Speaker: “I would think that I have to take into consideration something broader than the majority of the majority in the Democratic Caucus.” Seemingly this was not as clear as I had assumed, so I have expanded upon it using more quotes from the source we have cited.
The article we cite for Pelosi’s view covers a specific vote when she had been Speaker for five months; however, the bulk of the article contrasts her approach to the legislative process, and specifically the Hastert Rule, with her predecessor Speaker Dennis Hastert.
The very first paragraph of the article sets the tone; While the leadership styles of Speakers Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) never have had much in common, the difference in their governing philosophies could not have been more stark than when Pelosi offered her take on Hastert’s “majority of the majority” rule Friday.
The second paragraph covers the Iraq War supplemental bill vote and makes clear that the Hastert Rule was not followed on that vote.
The third paragraph makes clear that the vote was not a one-off situation but a change in policy.
The fourth paragraph quotes her former Chief of Staff as saying she had talked about ending the Hastert rule for quite a while.
That is followed by this: So far, Pelosi’s attitude toward moving legislation is in direct contrast to how Hastert did business.
Then we have three paragraphs describing how Hastert used and enforced the Hastert Rule.
Then the last paragraph on the first page describes a former Hastert aid saying Pelosi’s reversal could cause her trouble in the long run.
That’s the first page; I am not going to give a play by play beyond that. The article as a whole describes exactly what the headline says. Brimba (talk) 03:51, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
I didn't ask for your book report on the news article, and I do not think the extra text helps anything.
I can agree that "I would think that I have to take into consideration something broader than the majority of the majority in the Democratic Caucus" is the strongest statement Pelosi makes, but she is still a politician.
She is not promising a floor-vote on anything that can pass. She is just claiming that she looks at (or at least the committee chairs look at) what the GOPs are saying. If she really want people think she had left the Hastert rule behind then she would make it clear.
News headlines are not made to be real summaries of the news article. Headlines are written by the editor (not the writer) merely to prompt people to read the article. tahc chat 08:50, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
While I appreciate your comments on how headlines come to be, and that they are used to generate “eyeballs” (I think is the correct term), the article cited goes into quite a bit of detail as to why the headline is accurate, and not a misnomer. You keep addressing the headline, but there is far more there than the headline. You said “I don't see anything in the cited article that says she repudiates the "rule"”. I took the time to layout what the article said; at least as I read it, and I honestly do not see how it could be read any other way. What I got in return was a snarky reply of “I didn't ask for your book report on the news article”. Sorry, but the best way to answer you was to break down the article and say specifically what I saw in it, in the hopes that you would then respond with how you read it. Maybe that’s tedious, but what other way forward is there?
Then you go on to agree with me that she repudiated it, but imply that it does not count because “she is still a politician.” Am I reading you wrong? Is there another way to read her statement?
Then for it to count you want us to find where she promised a floor vote on anything that can pass. The Speakers job is not to always function as a rubberstamp. No Speaker of either party is going to tie their hands with a promise or anything close to a promise. They will keep their options open. There are times when it’s the Speakers job to keep bills from coming to the floor that if passed might damage the county in some way (in the Speakers’ view), or get their party thrown out of office in the next election.
We have a reliable source saying in very clear terms that Pelosi did not use or follow the Hastert Rule. We have to go with the sources we have, not the sources we wish we had. Brimba (talk) 13:33, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
I never implied she repudiated the Hastert Rule. I said that the particular quote was the strongest. That just means that quote is better to look at use and discuss than any of her other quotes. If we agree on which is the strongest and most useful quote, then we can look to see if it is a promise to not use the Hastert rule, and I think it obviously isn't one-- and I think I wrote clearly why the think so. I am not trying to snarky; I just want to cut to the chase.
You could tell us why you do see this quote as a promise to not use the Hastert rule, but you basically admit she does not with the claim that, "No Speaker... is going to... promise or anything close to a promise." Wikipedia cannot claim anything unless first a RS claims it to be so. If we have no RS claiming she promised, then Wikipedia cannot she did.
Of course even we did agree that early on she committed in words to not following Hastert rule, or that early on she committed in words to anything relevant, we would still have to look at why she did follow the Hastert rule in actual practice. tahc chat 17:59, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
At the start of the Republic there were no political parties. From the time political parties first entered American politics I am certain that the majority party has done its best to undercut the minority. That’s politics and how human beings function. If you had the data in front of you, and could look back over the years, I believe you would see that an unwritten version of the Hastert Rule existed and functioned long before Gingrich was ever born.
A promise not to use the Hastert Rule does not equal never having the same outcome as would have occurred absent the promise.
The Hastert Rule took something that had been going on for a long time, codified it, and made the practice more pervasive and harder to get around. I am not saying that Pelosi’s repudiation of the Hastert Rule meant she suddenly became Joan of Arc and became perfectly fair. The sources we have say she (a) repudiated the Hastert Rule and (b) at least early on in her tenure she tried to be fairer to the minority party than what the Hastert Rule would have allowed had she invoked it. Did it make much difference in the long run? Likely not a huge difference, but was that due to Pelosi or was that due to all the levers of power in the legislative branch being controlled by Democrats? Both houses of Congress where controlled by the Democrats during her speakership; meaning there was no Republican Senate sending the House bills prioritized by Republicans. Was the outcome noted by due to Pelosi enforcing the Hastert Rule, or was it the nature outcome of one party rule in congress?
In the end I have seen nothing that shows Pelosi actively embraced the Hastert Rule which is what we would need to change the lead as she was the sole Democratic Speaker during the life of the rule.Brimba (talk) 02:14, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

If either you you had stopped bickering and pretending to be political analysts and had checked the reliable sources already cited in our article and elsewhere, you would have seen there is ample support for the "Republican" claim. I have added it. --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 23:03, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

No one ever claimed that it wasn't used by Republicans, but if you want to just use the lead to indicate which parties have used the Hastert "rule" then that can simplify this, since we have RSs for its bipartisan use. tahc chat 02:18, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
@Brimba:- You are being ridiulous and hoplessly POV here.
A claim that Pelosi wants to "take into consideration something broader... [Democrats]" you want to claim is some sort of verifiability that Pelosi did not use the Hastert "rule"-- but a direct statement by a research insitute of she permited a non-majority-of-the-majority vote less than once per 6 months you want to claim is mendingless. No speaker ever followed the Hastert "rule" 100%. The May 14, 2013 Robillard aricle ("Nancy Pelosi: Female John Boehner would be called the 'weakest speaker'") is about the fact that Boehner followed it Hastert much less than Pelosi did. tahc chat 15:06, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
We have a source (Pelosi Brings End to ‘Hastert Rule’ [2]) that says Pelosi had broken with her predecessor and was no longer following the Hastert Rule. It covers it in detail, it quotes her and others on the subject, and even has one of Hastert's aides saying she was foolish for doing so.
Pelosi spent her entire term as Speaker with both houses of Congress under control of the Democratic Party. Boehner has spent his entire time as Speaker with the Republicans controlling the House and the Democrats controlling the Senate. Democrats tend to agree amongst themselves so there where far fewer opportunities to break the rule during Pelosi's Speakership regardless of her position on the rule. On the other hand, Republicans and Democrats tend to disagree fairly often so if one holds one house and the opposite party holds the other, the Hastert Rule is far more likely to be violated as it was under Boehner. All your source did was crunch the numbers and report the number of violations. Pelosi violated a rule she said she was not going to follow. Brimba (talk) 18:07, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
Tahc, I cannot find a reliable source saying that Pelosi (or Democrats) used the Hastert Rule. If you can find one then I will gladly support a change in our language. --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 18:25, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

It's a GOP rule, crafted by and sometimes followed by Republicans; it has never been a rule of or followed by the Democrats. It's not possible for Pelosi or any other Democrat to have "violated" the rule since they never subscribed to it in the first place. Any claims or implications to the contrary are obfuscatory. And claims that it's "original research" to say that it's a Republican rule are nonsense. Hastert's a Republican. Boehner is a Republican. Gingrich is a Republican. The people who formulated the rule and the only people have ever followed the rule or have been stated to have followed the rule are Republicans. The only "majority of the majority" to which the rule has ever applied or been applied are Republicans. For instance, says "unless it has the support of the majority of House Republicans", and quotes Republican Boehner as saying "the support of the majority of our members", referring to Republicans. And it says "must have the support of the majority of the House’s 234 Republicans", and "Conservatives in Boehner’s House Republican Conference have been pressuring him to adhere to the so-called Hastert rule". The GOP phrases the rule in terms of "the majority party" as a pretense that this applies to both parties, but it clearly does not, and Wikipedia should not be doing their bidding by maintaining the ruse. -- Jibal (talk) 10:22, 10 April 2017 (UTC)

Good thing or bad thing[edit]

Earlier today I redacted some non-neutral WP:Original research and was reverted. The disputed text is shown in strikeout from a 3 sentence paragraph which reads

1. Commentators note that there are pros and cons to the "majority of the majority" rule.
2. On the positive side, [I]t ensures that no legislative proposal will counter the wishes of the majority of the Speaker's caucus.[5] It also all but ensures that the Speaker will keep his or her job.[8]::
3. On the negative side, [W]hen combined with a systematic effort to marginalize the influence of the minority power, it can lead to a breakdown of the legislative process, radicalization of the members of the minority party, and legislation that does not reflect the broadest view and area of agreement.[5]


1. Sentence 1 was struck because it leads in to sentences 2 and 3 which themselves are problematic.

2. "On the positive side" was struck because (A) it is not what the source says and (B) makes the non-neutral wikivoice statement that this is the way it is rather than this is the (mischaracterized) opinion of the writer. The source ambiguously states "There are many reasons why a “majority of the majority” doctrine makes political sense. Clearly, any leadership that regularly runs counter to the wishes of the majority of its caucus will find itself enjoying a very short tenure." The only "political sense" the source mentions is that it helps the speaker keep their job. This may or may not be viewed as a positive by the speaker (just ask John Boehner), but is it "positive" for you? For me? For the president? For the goal of governing overall? The article does not say. Therefore, editors should not conflate the source's statement about the rule usually making political sense from the perspective of the current house leadership into a wikivoice value statement that the rule is "positive" generally, for everyone.

3. Finally, unless the sources are overwhelmingly consistent we should also not say in wikivoice that a breakdown of the legislative process, or any of these other consequences, are necessarily "negative", especially in wikivoice instead of attributing the opinion to the author.

I'm surprised this edit was not the gnomish apple polishing I though it to be and will be returning to a self imposed wikibreak. Restore by self re-revert or not, up to you and others. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 18:50, 21 October 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for writing. I'm comfortable with your analysis, just not with the proposed solution. The purpose of this section is to summarize commentators' views on the Hastert Rule. It doesn't have to be done in the normative good/bad positive/negative way, but it should reflect that there are some substantial differences of opinion. Perhaps a lead sentence saying something like "Commentator's views about the Hastert Rule are varied," or somesuch would do the trick. --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 19:08, 21 October 2015 (UTC)