In which I write the following letter to Utah’s senior Senator. Wonder if I’ll get a reply:
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In the last two days, I’ve read two responses of yours to two different appearances of President Obama. The first was your response to his State of the Union speech, the second was your comments regarding his Q&A session with House Republicans. What struck me about both responses was how similar in tone both were, and how reality-averse both were. In your response to the State of the Union, you say “the American people have made it clear they are angry with how Washington does business. They want their elected officials to listen to them.” I agree; people are indeed frustrated with the way Washington – particularly your chamber, the Senate – is functioning lately.
What they see is a government that cannot deliver on many of its initiatives. But what far fewer know (as was revealed in a recent Pew poll) – but what you know well – is that it is the historic obstructionism of the Senate which is responsible for what appears to much of the public as Washington’s inaction. In short, it is you and your Republican colleagues who, by literally unprecedented use of parliamentary parlor-tricks, are responsible for most Americans’ sense of frustration with Washington…not the Obama administration.
Similarly, I about fell off my chair when I read that you’d told the Salt Lake Tribune that if Democrats pursue reconciliation to STOP the problem of not delivering on their initiatives, it would be “outright war” between the parties. As Greg Sargent notes, you yourself voted enthusiastically for contentious bills during the Bush Administration, under reconciliation. The Bush tax cuts, the tax increase prevention act of 2005, various others – all earned “aye” votes from you under reconciliation. Which, of course, makes you a hypocrite regarding the Democrats’ use of reconciliation now.
But you know what? The best – most delicious – part of your ludicrous, false and puffed-up threats is that since the Republicans have already chosen the most extreme path of obstructionism possible, you literally have nothing left with which to bluff in that regard. In essence, you’re threatening Democrats that you and your party will be obstructionist jackasses if they do something about you and your party being obstructionist jackasses. Perfect. Now, of course, the utter emptiness of your threats doesn’t make you any less of a party-before-country hack…but it does make it a lot funnier to watch you squawk and flap and sputter in interviews about how you’ll huff and you’ll puff and you’ll hold your breath until you turn….red. Enjoy your time in the minority. I have a feeling it’s gonna be a long one.
PS – By the way? Ted Kennedy called. He said to tell you to go Cheney yourself.