Meet the real boss

Senator Mitch McConnell Crowns Senator Elizabeth Warren

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.)

Saint Elizabeth

The Boss of the Democratic Party

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.

Senator Jeff Sessions

Senator Jeff Sessions

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.

US Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell

US Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell

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.

you may have defeated me this time, Elizabeth Warren, but I'll be back!

you may have defeated me this time, Elizabeth Warren, but I’ll be back!

firecrackers

Thank you, Democrats

The Democrats saved the day. The House rejected the trade bill, even after President Obama made a last-minute, panicked trip to the Capitol to lobby Congress. I will feel more comfortable when TPP is voted down, but this vote is reassuring.

Shame on the Republicans for not standing with Democrats and the American working class. Thank goodness the Democrats managed to carry the day and reaffirm three important principles:

  1. We value the country’s well-being over deals that gratify and enrich politicians at Americans’ expense.
  2. We uphold separation of powers, and reject the efforts to strong-arm Congress into giving up their power to negotiate. Whether the people in office do a good job or no, Congress is still the people’s representation.
  3. We reject secrecy in government. The administration’s overall approach of shrouding legislation in secrecy while twisting arms to vote for it does not fly in the U.S.

I won’t lie. Agreeing with Nancy Pelosi about anything – much less an important issue – has thrown me for a loop. It will probably take months of therapy to come to terms with it. But she did the right thing, and deserves to be thanked for her support of the American working class.

twilight_zone

 

Republicans, this vote was a testament to a party that has lost its way. Might I offer some advice?

1) Do a reality check. You’ve got a majority, but you are very dispensable. If people don’t like what you’re doing, you’ll be voted out without hesitation (the Democrats can attest).

2) Rethink your leadership. Boehner and McConnell are disasters and will cost you the majority.

3) Reexamine your priorities. From the outside, it looks like your priorities are war and wall street. This is not a winning combination. Pay attention to this country. Advance some solutions about the problems plaguing the nation. Look to building the country’s infrastructure, easing regulations on small business, and making America prosperous again.

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Day of Reckoning: Republicans and President Obama’s Corrupt Deal Before Congress

A lot is riding on today’s vote on Trade Promotion Authority (TPA).

Have you noticed what a bland name TPA is? Politicians have a knack of selecting names that disguise an entity’s true purpose, e.g., Patriot Act, National Security Agency, House of unAmerican Activities Committee. Maybe extremely bland names are the next-gen strategy for ensuring little attention is paid to what politicians do?

We could rename some current legislation to more accurately represent the content. How about:

  • Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) –> The Reducing American Citizens’ Representation Act
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) –> The Enrich Corporations at the Expense of American Workers Bill

The aim of both of these bills is simple and disturbing. Here it is, in plain language:

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