You guys, I am so far behind in writing about politics. Every day has so much political news that it feels like I’m aging in dog years. And then how will I ever catch up?
Anyway, tonight I bring you tidings of Senator Elizabeth Warren. It’s not unusual for the liberal Massachusetts senator to throw a grenade over the fence at the populist Trump, or for the president to respond with snarky tweets about “Pocahontus”, a jab at Warren’s debunked claim of being Native American. At the same time, Sen. Warren is clearly positioning herself to run in 2020. (Watch for fireworks between Warren and Senator Cory Booker. Or perhaps they’ll be running mates.)
It may have been a combination of her distaste for Trump and the desire to be in the limelight that led to this week’s spectacle. Sen. Warren was urging the Senate to vote down Trump’s appointment of Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General. Warren produced a copy of a letter by Coretta Scott King, widow of Dr. Martin Luther King. The letter was written in 1986, and the main premise was that Sen. Sessions wasn’t fit for a judgeship for which he had been appointed, because his record demonstrated hostility to civil rights of black Americans. Sen. Sessions didn’t get the job, possibly due in part to this letter. Sen. Warren was clearly hoping Mrs. King’s letter would work a treat to kill the Attorney General nomination for Sessions.
It was a lousy plan, because no matter how furious Elizabeth Warren gets, no matter how her voice trembled with indignation as she read this 31-year-old letter, nothing was going to stop Sessions from becoming Attorney General. Also, if racism did motivate him in the 1960s to prosecute black civil rights leaders for voter fraud, as Mrs. King suspected, he must have used the past three decades to become a little smarter. Several black citizens were called as character witnesses for Sen. Sessions during his recent confirmation hearings and they spoke glowingly of him.
But Sen. Warren was either the recipient of dumb luck, or she accurately predicted that Senator Mitch McConnell would be unable to resist snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. With the lack of excitement that characterizes everything he does, Republican Senate Majority Leader McConnell objected to Sen. Warren’s reading this letter, citing obscure Rule 19 that prohibits trash talking fellow Senators while on the floor of the Senate. If you pay much attention to Congress, you’ll know that Sen. Warren is hardly the first senator to do this. However, she was admonished, and adminished again, and again, but Warren just kept going back to the letter and finally was asked to sit down and was banned from speaking again during the debate over Sessions.
Elizabeth Warren could not have been more delighted with herself. She knew she had no hope of defeating the Sessions’ nomination, and she knew she was boring everyone to death. Then, like a turtle-faced guardian angel, Sen. McConnell mumbled his way to her rescue.
She revelled in leftist adulation for an entire news cycle, doing numerous interviews from the Senate floor and darkly hinting that McConnell did not really object because of Rule 19. I agree with her. But while I know he was objecting to her personally because she was being shrill and obnoxious, Warren imagines she was ‘silenced’ because McConnell was unable to control his racism and sexism. It was pretty disgusting to hear her compared to the suffragettes and sitting at a lunch counter in Jim Crow South, when all she had done was try to exploit Mrs. King’s letter. (Am I the only person who feels offended by the hyperbolic comparisons in the media? “Trump is Hitler!” “Elizabeth Warren is a Suffragette!” It makes Hitler a synonym for “I disagree”, and cheapens what the suffragettes did.)
Interestingly, Mrs. King’s niece, who had served as her Communications director, spoke out immediately against Sen. Warren, noting that her aunt wanted to bring people together and probably would have supported Sessions for Attorney General, given his current record, but that Elizabeth Warren was playing the race card and using her family’s name to be divisive.
I don’t even want to think about how mad Cory Booker is right now. He also did some grandstanding and Mitch McConnell just sat there and listened. If McConnell was a more enterprising sort of fellow, he could sell his next objection to Booker for a cool $15,000.