At 4.25am on Friday, there were 314 members of the Pheu Thai Party, a barebones staff of essential employees and a few very tired TV cameramen sending the proceedings around the country. The Democrats, without a hope of winning a vote on the issue or procedure, had already walked out.
The official vote, then, was 310-0 with four abstentions to pass a bill providing amnesty to everybody for everything remotely political since 2004.
It was a remarkable achievement by the Pheu Thai leadership. In Thailand and in the worldwide Thai diaspora, just about 311 people could be found who actively supported the measure _ the 310 in parliament and one man in Dubai. (Presumably, a few dozen more supporters are lurking in the Senate, which the bill must pass to become law.)
A Democrat Party supporter at a rally against the amnesty bill hold in Bangkok on Friday. (EPA Photo)
Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's son Panthongtae said on Facebook he did not want the blanket amnesty. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra went to Lop Buri for the event, to make sure her vote was not recorded in favour. The Democrats were holding a rally against total amnesty. Businessmen, anti-corruption groups, the commander of the army, police officers _ not a person more than 311 spoke in favour of the measure.
Those four abstentions? They were hard-core red shirts, three of them accused of terrorism and other violent crimes and now, under the law, about to be freed. They did not want amnesty.
Give Pheu Thai its due. The measure was introduced, debated and passed in near-record time. It was political high-handedness at a masterful level. Party manipulators wrote the bill in secret, sidelined their own leadership including Ms Yingluck, the party head, and drove it through the Lower House with the efficacy and the grace of an army truck through a flooded street.
Four senior Democrats resigned from their party executive positions. Led by the former finance minister and presumed No2 party chief Korn Chatikavanij, the four technically became just ordinary party organisers _ although clearly designated to lead a fight that apparently has just begun.
By breaking Bangkok down into its party wards and districts like the political pros they are, Mr Korn and friends got an impressive door-knocking campaign. It ordered each Bangkok party organisation to get 1,000 attendees ready to rally, and deliver them to Samsen railway station.
The man who did not resign is the accused killer Suthep Thaugsuban. Not only did the ex-security minister remain in parliament like his colleagues, but he kept his position in his beloved Democrat Party, where he is either a major, or the major financier. Mr Suthep was chief cheerleader and ballyhooer at media events trying to whip up the crowds to attend Thursday night's protest.
There is a valid _ if unprovable _ argument that this is all threat and counter-threat. This political theory holds that the government vowed to press murder charges unless Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva embraced the blanket amnesty proposal. Mr Abhisit in turn threatened to take the noisy mobs onto the streets unless the government dropped the amnesty bill.
But this is a tortured interpretation, requiring for starters that not a single person involved has a shred of political integrity or conscience. And even if every politician is totally free of honesty _ the Yinglucks, the Abhisits, the lot of them _ there are outside pressures. These start with the independence of the Office of the Attorney-General. They include the unassailably pure intentions of the 2010 survivors and their families, and the never-wavering determination of the anti-Thaksin groups.
In truth, though, the politicians (and an exile) who champion an amnesty that can reset the country rank up there with those who reminisce about "the good old days".
A national reset to pre-coup days takes us back to a dysfunctional government, unable to govern and reduced to blatant cheating at the polls.
Yesteryear featured a useless opposition party, anti-government protests of half a million in yellow shirts _ and an army of disloyal generals conspiring against the country to launch a coup. The year 2004 was the year of Tak Bai, the year after drug killings and the year that Lumpini Park seminars turned into the yellow shirt phenomenon. Thaksin had his 46 billion baht, but he also had widespread support so solid that he was, in those days, unaccountable. The United Nations was not his father and democracy, he said, was a distant goal.
Forgiveness and redemption have places in humanity, including political life. But the country cannot return to a golden political age simply because such an age never existed.
Those who follow international news may draw a parallel with current United States problems. President Barack Obama steamrollered an unpopular healthcare bill through Congress without a single vote of the opposition party.
"Obamacare" has gone into operation with massive problems including a website that does not work and revelations that Mr Obama lied like a cheap rug to convince even his own party to pass the bill.
The result is a constant, never-ending stream of invective at Mr Obama and his key officials from even his most fervent now ex-supporters. He is an exposed lame duck, incapable of contributing new ideas for the next three years he is president.
Passing unpopular legislation is a dangerous political game. Pheu Thai has certainly caused problems for itself and the country, but the real fear is that it has opened a political divide that never existed before, and from which no one _ including Prime Minister Yingluck _ can escape.