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This Oct. 2011 file photo shows Senate Banking Committee member Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. listening during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Corker is spending a lot of time lately talking to Democrats. The freshman lawmaker from Tennessee spoke briefly last week with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner after he unveiled his 10-year, $4.5 trillion solution to averting the end-of-year, double economic hit of tax hikes and automatic spending cuts. Deficit-cutting maven Erskine Bowles had forwarded Corker's proposal to White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Speaker Paul Ryan and his Republican allies in the U.S. House were quick to insist that Democrats, too, would be outraged if they held the majority and minority Republicans staged a sit-in on the chamber floor. Ryan and colleagues have a point. Yet more telling is: Why the extraordinary protest, civil disobedience Capitol Hill-style, the television cameras shutting down, Democrats left to communicate via their smartphones?