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Growing a pair

February 13, 2017

When the Republican senate leaders realised they could actually be in trouble over the confirmation of gazillionaire party donor Betsy Devos as education secretary, they decided to hold her hearing before the confirmation hearing for Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III as attorney general. (Once sworn into that position, he would no longer have a senate vote on other nominations.) The plan worked. On the day of the DeVos hearing, two Republican senators did vote against her, but that only meant the count was a tie, allowing Mike Pence, for the first time in US history to use his vice-presidential senate vote to break the tie.

When I heard that two Republican senators voted against her I thought: John McCain and who? Lindsay Graham? Marco Rubio? Who else had grown a pair during this gong show? So I went on-line to check. Turns out none of the three had.

The two Republican senators who grew a pair were Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine. I don’t know whether they actually voted their consciences, deciding there was only so much Kool Aid they could swallow in the name of party unity, or if theirs were marginal wins in their states, so voting the way their constituents were demanding on DeVos was politically expedient. And I don’t care.

I just wish there’d been another pair somewhere in the Republican ranks. If nothing else (and there is a great deal else) it would have saved poor Betsy the embarrassment three days later of having to scurry back to her car when parents and teachers blocked the new education secretary’s attempt to enter a public school for the first time in her life.

DeVos School Visit

Meanwhile, back to Tuesday and the post-Devos senate confirmation hearings for Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III.

This wasn’t the first time he’d been here. Thirty-one years ago the senate held confirmation hearings for Sessions as a Reagan nominee for a federal judgeship. His confirmation was rejected because, put bluntly, he was just too damned racist. At that time, Martin Luther King’s widow Coretta wrote a lengthy and impassioned letter to el racist supremo Senator Strom Thurmond, then chair of the Judiciary Committee, detailing the many reasons Sessions was unfit to be a federal judge. Thurmond did not enter her letter into the proceedings and its existence only recently resurfaced.

Tuesday evening, during the confirmation hearing for Sessions as attorney general, Senator Elizabeth Warren decided it was time that Coretta Scott King’s letter was entered into the proceedings. Mitch McConnell did not agree and told her to do so would impugn the reputation of a fellow senator and would thus violate some arcane rule of appropriate behaviour. When Warren disagreed, McConnell, shut her down, stating: “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

I doubt McConnell intended to launch Warren’s 2020 presidential campaign that night, but he succeeded. Within seconds of his uttering those instantly infamous words, Twitter exploded.

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Within hours She Persisted mugs and t-shirts were selling like hot cakes. By the end of the week Reebok had its own t-shirt and announced it would donate all proceeds to the ongoing campaign started by the Women’s March.

Talk about an own goal, Mitch. Thank you.

Meanwhile, across the pond, I can’t help wondering if  the Queen might be considering abdicating. She has in her time been compelled by various prime ministers to host state dinners at Buckingham Palace for some truly vile world leaders, but could the prospect of President Dickhead at her dinner table – and sleeping in one of her bedchambers – be the straw that breaks the monarch’s back? Sadly, I doubt it. No one knows how the game is played better than Betty Windsor.

So, three cheers for Speaker of the House John Bercow (of whom I’ve never held such a high opinion) for last week listing the many reasons President Dickhead shout not be allowed the privilege of addressing Parliament.

 

Your future as Speaker of the House may now be in question, John, but for now congratulationsn, for being the only Dickhead-era male conservative with any balls.

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