In 1993, Congress passed Pres. Clinton's first budget by one vote, 218-217. Democrat Reps in competitive districts knew that the public was against the Clinton budget and asked to be able to vote their conscience, especially the freshmen (anyone remember Marjorie Margolis-Mezvinsky?). No such luck -- the Democrat-run House needed every vote it could muster to avoid embarrassing their first president in 12 years and freshmen had to get in line. A year later, the Democrats got creamed in the mid-term elections and Republicans took over the House for the first time in 40 years.
This year, the Democrats in the House passed a boondoggle for the unions -- the "Employee Free Choice Act". The act would do away with secret ballot elections for employees voting whether to unionize -- all votes would now be public. This would allow the unions to target specific employees, and union tactics are not dissimilar to those of Soviet era riot police.
The Republicans have rightly hammered the House for passing this bill. The bill is DOA in the Senate because it won't get past a filibuster. Even if the Democrats can strike a deal to get a vote, the President will veto and even in the House Republicans have an override-proof minority.
But the Democrats needed to give a sop to the unions. Good. Now business groups and the "yea" voters' constituents understand what those Dems are really about. Time for a '94 repeat in '08.