We Republicans and Conservatives (not always one in the same thing, necessarily… hello Linc “leftie” Chaffey) have been eyeing the Senate with disgust for many years, now. But we finally have a Senator who knows what to do with power. Mitch McConnell has rode in from the Blue Grass state — um, that would be Kentucky for those unaware — and taken control of the Senate, even though his Party is in minority status.
Frist was a useless addition to the Senate in the role of Majority leader. He did squat for the Party, the country or even his home state of Tennessee in that position. His best service was stepping aside. Yet, for as ineffective as Frist was, Trent “the mouth” Lott was even worse. Lott was, though, a great Democrat as the GOP majority leader. He helped their cause immensely so they should give him massive congrats on his work for them.
But, finally, we’ve got a man that knows what to do as a Party leader. Mitch McConnell has had the supposed majority Party running in circles and he isn’t done yet. Last week he did a masterful job of confounding the chief Defeat-o-crat, Harry Reid, during their showboat all night Senate session.
No one has reported this instance of Senate Rules wielding brilliance better than Hugh Hewitt. And here I’ll let Hewitt take the narrative:
The Senate spent much of the day discussing the merits, or demerits, of HR 2669, the Student Loans and Grants Act. Maybe it was the culmination of a long week already, or maybe it was the upper chamber being lulled off guard by the increasingly senile senior Senator from West Virginia, Robert Byrd, who spent 25 minutes decrying the plight of the helpless fight dog in response to the weird Michael Vick story in the news, but tonight, McConnell and the Republicans decided to take control of the Senate. The Republicans offered amendment after amendment to the bill, catching the Democrats flat-footed. In case you want to hear about the plight of the fight dog, hereâ€™s Robert Byrdâ€™s Senate floor address.
After a couple of Republican amendments failed, Mitch McConnell took to the floor and offered his own amendment, which was a Sense of the Senate that Guantanamo detainees not be allowed released or moved to U.S. soil. To conservatives, this obviously makes sense. To liberals, especially Californiaâ€™s Dianne Feinstein, one of the chief proponents of the effort to close the detention center at Gitmo and relocate these detainees into the American justice system, especially when tagged onto a student loan and grant bill, youâ€™d think this measure would go down in flames. Except a funny thing happened. The bill was titled in a way that you had to vote yes to vote no, and no to vote yes. The final vote was 94-3, officially putting the Senate on record as saying terrorist detainees shouldnâ€™t be moved to the U.S. Before the Democrats, who clearly hadnâ€™t read the amendment, realized they screwed up, the vote was recorded.
Jim DeMint of South Carolina was the author of the next amendment in line, had just gotten the consent of Bernie Sanders, the presiding officer, to order the yeas and nays. Up stepped Massachusetts senior Senator Ted Kennedy, now obviously aware that he and his colleagues just got bamboozled, and went on a full-throated rant, with reckless disregard to obvious hypocrisy, and blasted DeMint and the Republicans for slowing down the works in the Senate. The rant is worth hearing, so here it is.
Once the rant was over, Kennedy threw the Senate into a quorum call so that the Democrats could regroup. The session progressed well into the night, and McConnell could easily have rested on his laurels, but he wasnâ€™t finished. Colorado Democrat Ken Salazar offered his own irrelevant amendment, asking for a sense of the Senate that President Bush not pardon Scooter Libby. McConnell, with that wry smile he offers when heâ€™s up to something, countered with a secondary amendment to Salazarâ€™s, saying that if itâ€™s fair to bring up the Senateâ€™s view of potential future inappropriate pardons, maybe we should also have a sense of the Senate of past inappropriate pardons, and proceeded to maneuver the Senate clerk into reading off the laundry list of Clinton administration pardons, including those of Marc Rich and others, which again set the Democrats off in a tailspin. After throwing the Senate back into a quorum call for half an hour, the beleaguered Harry Reid came out and pulled the Salazar amendment off the floor. Heâ€™d been Mitchslapped twice in one night.
Mitchslapped! I love it.
You have to go read Hewitt’s whole report on this thing to appreciate how McConnell outmaneuvered the Defeat-o-crats.
THE OBLIGATORY “I DON’T ALWAYS AGREE WITH HIM, BUT…” DISCLAIMER
I’ve often wondered why people have to say that the like a person’s work but that they “don’t always agree with them.” I mean, really, who DOES always agree with someone else? Can’t we just talk about the item at issue and leave all the other stuff out of it?
But, still, I feel compelled to say a few words about Hugh Hewitt here, something I have been looking for an excuse to say for a long time.
I first began to listen to his radio show a year ago and at first I liked him a lot. Maybe familiarity breeds contempt, but lately he has lost his luster for me. His treatment of the Harriet Meyers debacle and his support for Romney, explicable by the fact that Hewitt seems to think the only criteria for the presidency is to have a lot of cash in the bank, has taken the sheen off for me.
One thing is sure, he is still fairly listenable, regardless of the above. Another thing is sure; his guest hosts are often horrible. Barnett is unintelligible, the woman he often has (sorry her name escapes me) is so monotone that she puts one to sleep, and those goof balls from Minnesota that he has had on are so loud and raucous that you can’t decipher what is going on and can’t tell one from the other (What are they, some innocuous morning zoo crew??). Hewitt should also lose the movie review segment on Fridays. It is unlistenable, loud, uninformative and not in the least funny. Worse, Hewitt doesn’t seem to realize that there is anything between Iowa and Washington D.C. His entire show is built on DC talk and Western US talk. Except for his banal sports blather about Cleveland, he never mentions what is going on in a state east of Colorado and west of Washington D.C. And he for SURE doesn’t realize anyone blogs in that “fly over country” that he ignores just as much as any Democrat does.
Still, he has one of the best political analysis shows on the radio. His knowledge of the minutia of government is deep and wide and his frequent, topical guests are great. So, my quibbling aside, I have to say his show ranks as one of the best politics shows on the radio.
There. I had my say. Not that Hewitt will notice it. After all, I’m in Chicago.