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Tilting at Windmills

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March 24, 2010

A SLOW-MOTION SHUTDOWN.... Arizona Sen. John McCain (R) told the media on Monday about his outrage over the Democratic majority voting to approve legislation they support. He announced that, going forward, he would tell Dems to stay off his lawn refuse to cooperate in the Senate's legislative process. To punish Democrats for fulfilling their campaign promise to the nation, McCain said, "There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year."

We saw the manifestation of this pettiness yesterday, when Republicans used an obscure rule to block any Senate hearings from continuing after 2 p.m. Amanda Terkel reports on the developments that are almost too juvenile to believe.

Today, during a Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing on transparency, Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) announced that he had to stop the proceedings because of Republican blocks. [...]

ThinkProgress spoke to a Homeland Committee staffer who said that the committee's work would be significantly disrupted if Republicans refuse to give unanimous consent throughout the week. The AP also reported today that Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) had a hearing on the bark beetle canceled today "after Republicans angry over the passage of health insurance reform legislation blocked it by using an obscure Senate rule requiring a unanimous consent to hold hearings scheduled after 2 p.m."

Democratic staffers on the Hill told ThinkProgress that they anticipate Republicans will not only continue blocking hearings for the rest of the week, but also delay or block all sorts of minor, routine measures.

The country has not seen a congressional minority this pathetic in a very long time. Republicans are effectively shutting down the Senate because a supermajority of the chamber approved legislation the GOP didn't like.

Kevin added, "To call this behavior childish would be an insult to children everywhere. Are we really expected to take a party like this seriously?"

For its part, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) office noted in a statement, "The bottom line is that as millions of Americans are learning about the immediate benefits of health reform, Republicans are throwing a temper tantrum and grinding important Senate business to a halt."

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (54)

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McCain has always been childlike and nasty when he does not get what he wants - and he always wanted to be president!
I agree with Lawrence O'Donnell's statement last night - McCain should just go home and retire if he is not going to do any work. It is kind of hard to say to the people 'I have done nothing, please elect me for 6 more years till I am 80'

Posted by: JS on March 24, 2010 at 8:04 AM | PERMALINK

Where is the press on this. This is clearly a situation for Wolf's room. Crickets.

Posted by: Ron Byers on March 24, 2010 at 8:05 AM | PERMALINK

McAce and his ilk can take their ball and go home but they are leaving an empty stadium. Empty except for those wing nut Tea partiers who are drunk with power given to them by these dopes. Oh and a couple of Media ttypes who still are pitching out of the buul pen for the "startesr" who lost big time on this one. What fun...

Posted by: stevio on March 24, 2010 at 8:06 AM | PERMALINK

Watching senator Kit Bond on the floor last night, rambling on with a series of disconnected non sequiturs, I was reminded of Professor Irwin Corey.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxtN0xxzfsw&NR=1

Posted by: DAY on March 24, 2010 at 8:09 AM | PERMALINK

Healthcare reform passe with out a single Republican vote in the House. Obviously, the Democrats can figure away to get things done with out them. I say great. I hope everything they pass is without Republican suppoert.

I have a feeling November may not be quite the celebration the GOP is expecting. They're mean-spirited, vile and repulsive. The Bagger movement has been nakedly exposed as bigotted trash (as if we didn't know), and their supporters are resorting to violence and threats. I'm not sure how well that will play with the public at large.

The big problem is that the Republican's poisonous base will turn out in droves in November. The Democrats better get out the vote.

Posted by: SaintZak on March 24, 2010 at 8:09 AM | PERMALINK

That's the problem - they WON'T just go home and leave the Democrats to govern. They're going to stay and make sure the Democrats CAN'T govern.

We really really need to abolish all these ridiculous Senate "rules."

Posted by: gypsy howell on March 24, 2010 at 8:11 AM | PERMALINK

What happened last time Republicants shut down government?

Posted by: Ugly Moe on March 24, 2010 at 8:14 AM | PERMALINK

The repub strategy on HCR was an historic blunder, and now that they realize it, they are throwing an historic temper tantrum to match. The repubs could have claimed that the framework of reform was a 17 year old prepub proposal, and that they were glad to see the Dems finally come around. They could have stolen the credit for it, while giving us a far more conservative solution - had they decided to stay in the game. Instead, they followed the lead of FOXNoise and the lunatic AM radio crowd. Instead of debating specifics within the plan, they went with the crazy guy with the shopping cart who shakes his fist at passing motorists.

It will remain this way as long as their media machine calls the shots. Ironic as it seems, what repubs desperately need is reinstatement of the 'Fairness Doctrine'

Posted by: JoeW on March 24, 2010 at 8:25 AM | PERMALINK

Somebody on another blog wrote this comment:

The ads write themselves (voiceover on picture of Republican Senator playing golf)

(Republican Senator X) thinks he shouldn't have to work past 2 o'clock. I'm (Democratic Candidate Y) and I promise I'll work fulltime for you as your Senator.

They'll go straight off the cliff with this kind of behavior.

Posted by: Micheline on March 24, 2010 at 8:27 AM | PERMALINK

One of the main problems with Washington (including the traditional media that covers it) is that Republicans and their supporters simply do not believe that Democrats belong in leadership positions. A Democratic President is simply not legitimate. Nor is any Democratic legislation that they do not agree with.

They refuse to believe that they are not in control, and when it is demonstrated to them that they are not in control - e.g., HCR legislation - they are beside themselves with anger and pettiness. It really is a sight to behold.

Now, what do we do about it? We have a MSM complex that refuses to report on it (no surprise there).

Posted by: terraformer on March 24, 2010 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK

I suggest that mcainine no longer be referred to by his given name and that from this day forward he be referred to as The Senior Senator from AZ, Little Prince Poopy Pants (R-Diaperville)

Posted by: bubba on March 24, 2010 at 8:32 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, this might take awhile as David Vitter has brought in a year's supply of Pampers for all of them.

Posted by: berttheclock on March 24, 2010 at 8:34 AM | PERMALINK

Shutting down Homeland Security hearings? Can anyone say terrorist sympathizers.

Posted by: Dave on March 24, 2010 at 8:35 AM | PERMALINK

The AP may have reported on it, but searching Google News, the only other reference to this I could find was in the Denver Daily News. This story only has legs if the media decides to give it legs. And quite frankly, even with the new narrative on HCR, I'm skeptical that this will get any air time.

Posted by: Kris on March 24, 2010 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

Dang it, but, I can't recall the politico who just introduced a bill to revert to the days when Senators were appointed by their states and not elected by their electorate. He is calling this a state's rights amendment. Ah, yes, for those glory days of Senator Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe, Senator Union Pacific, Senator Southern Pacific, Senator Great Northern; yes, truly the days of democracy.

Of course, now, we have Senator Wal*Mart, Senator Aetna, Senator Texaco, Senator Airbus and Northrup, so, would there be any difference?

Posted by: berttheclock on March 24, 2010 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

If Senate hearings have to stop after 2 pm., why can't they start the day earlier?

Posted by: pol on March 24, 2010 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

David Frum is right, I have concluded. Every time McCain and the Tea Party et al throw a tantrum Murdoch gets more readers and viewers. His business thrives on drama, passion, violence and the more he disturbs the moderate classes the more profit he makes. Do we doubt that in the 1960s Murdochs message would have been just short of red?

I am embarassed that McCain represents Arizona supports those Arizona republican legislators who passed a budget which cuts 300,000 people from Arizona's version of medicade and the insurance for 37,000 kids.

Some times its useful to have an experienced Senator represent you even if they were of the non-majority party. With McCain there is no advantage and he hurts Az rather than helps it by his ugly tactics.

Posted by: kurt on March 24, 2010 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

What a completely meaningless threat-- "There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year." What has the GOP been doing the past year? Certainly couldn't be defined as anything remotely like cooperation. How the hell would it be any different from the past year?

They really are just humorless, arrogant as*holes most of the time.


Posted by: zoe kentucky on March 24, 2010 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK

The country has not seen a congressional minority this pathetic in a very long time. Republicans are effectively shutting down the Senate because a supermajority of the chamber approved legislation the GOP didn't like.

Their supporters will think it's cool in a, "we'll show them," sort of way. Now, the Democrats need to call them out on this repeatedly and hang the GOP temper tantrums around their necks. If there is anything the public dislikes more than politicians, it's do-nothing politicians.

Posted by: AK Liberal on March 24, 2010 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

Dang it, but, I can't recall the politico who just introduced a bill to revert to the days when Senators were appointed by their states and not elected by their electorate. He is calling this a state's rights amendment." - berttheclock

That would be one Louie Gohmert (R-TX).

Posted by: eserwe on March 24, 2010 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

Louie Louie, oh no
Me gotta go
Aye-yi-yi-yi, I said
Louie Louie, oh baby
Me gotta go

Posted by: eserwe on March 24, 2010 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

Their base loves it. Independents, not so much.

They may get wise and stop it long enough before November for the half-paying-attention public to forget they did it. Or they may not be able to stop their twisted little selves.

Posted by: shortstop on March 24, 2010 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

The Republicans look childish-- the Democrats look both weak and stupid for allowing the behavior to continue. Unless Dems change the rules pdq, especially eliminating the filibuster, they may suffer more negative electoral consequences than the Republicans.

Posted by: gdb on March 24, 2010 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks, eserwe. Yes, Gompert, the Pampers distributor for Louisiana and Texas.

Kind of hard stopping, when not one of them has pushed out of the blocks, not even on a false start.

Posted by: berttheclock on March 24, 2010 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

Senate race challenger X at candidate forum in competitive state Y,

"I'm sorry, Senator, but can you explain to me why for months you refused to work past 2pm? The people in this audience are hurting. They work hard week in and week out and pay your six figure salary through their taxes. They can't pull a 'procedural tactic' to skip out of work early every day, so why are you refusing to do the job that we are paying you to do? rabble rabble rabble..."

Posted by: noodle on March 24, 2010 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

"Dang it, but, I can't recall the politico who just introduced a bill to revert to the days when Senators were appointed by their states and not elected by their electorate. He is calling this a state's rights amendment." - berttheclock

That would be one Louie Gohmert (R-TX).

Rep. Gohmert: Big on the 10th Amendment, not so much on the 9th.

Posted by: TonyB on March 24, 2010 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

"There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year."

McCain at his usual mendacity. 'No cooperation' is when Johnny takes his own toys and goes home. Locking away the toys of the other kids and throwing away the key is not 'no cooperation', its obstruction.

And of course, the Senate is not a sand box and this is not about baking delicious sand cakes, it's about doing the country's business.

'Country first!' indeed, John.

Posted by: eserwe on March 24, 2010 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

It was just a few weeks ago that I was thinking that the one good thing you can say about the teabaggers is that, unlike left-wing "anti-globalism" protesters, they haven't destroyed property.

Well, you can't say that now. Pathetic.

And seriously: Breaking windows? It's like they want to invite Nazi comparisons.

Posted by: Brock on March 24, 2010 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

Change the fucking rules. If the repubs call foul, challenge them to debate what's worse, changing a stupid rule or not doing anything for an entire legislative session.

Whatever you do, make sure the press knows about it. And if they don't cover it, CHALLENGE THEIR IMPARTIALITY. If they don't start getting in people's grills, the vast majority of the public (not us) won't know about it.

It's got to become a major media issue somehow.

Posted by: bdop4 on March 24, 2010 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

Not to defend St. McCain too much, but he does have a primary challenge from the right. He's got some important posturing to do --- on top of being a nasty, petulant old man. It must really burn him up that a young, black man is so much better at everything.

Micheline - that is exactly it.

Posted by: Rathskeller on March 24, 2010 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

Never mind "where's the press," why aren't the Dems capitalizing on this behavior themselves? Where are the ads? Where are the press releases? Where are the outraged speeches on the steps of the Capitol Building? Republicans can't govern worth sh*t - but they know how to play the media like a fiddle. They know that if a story isn't pre-produced and handed to media outlets in a tidily wrapped box, reporters are most likely too lazy and ignorant to do anything about it themselves. They show up only when YOU start making noise, and when they get there they expect to have talking points and interview subjects waiting for them. Somebody please hire a media consultant for our poor, feckless Democratic representatives in Washington.

Posted by: Jersey Tomato on March 24, 2010 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

I hate to gripe the day after HCR got signed, but where is Sen. Reid on this? Rule the objection to proceeding after 2 p.m. as deliberately dilatory and out of order and move on forward. I understand that it would be a really big move for Reid to do something to end the filibuster (although I would support that), but that doesn't mean he can't push the envelope of his authority to swat down this kind of nonsense.

Posted by: alkali on March 24, 2010 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder how Double Talk's new bumper sticker is playing out in Arizona. The one which reads, "I Am A Bigger Idiot Than JD".

Posted by: berttheclock on March 24, 2010 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

It must really burn him up that a young, black man is so much better at everything.

It apparently consumes him with rage and bitterness every waking moment.

Heh.

Posted by: shortstop on March 24, 2010 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

It worked out so well for Republicans last time they shut down the government....

Posted by: g on March 24, 2010 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

That 2PM just happens to coincide with the time John starts to feel sleepy each day makes this a twofer!

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on March 24, 2010 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

Hate to mention this to you, John, but, the Tuskegee Airmen were better pilots, as well.

Posted by: berttheclock on March 24, 2010 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

...no committee of the Senate or any subcommittee thereof may meet, without special leave, after the conclusion of the first two hours after the meeting of the Senate commenced and in no case after two o’clock postmeridian....

This is incredibly simple to solve, people---move the committee meetings and hearings up, so they precede the meeting of the full body. Make Mr. Get-Off-My-Yard wait in the wings by telling him, "We'll deal with your phony big-f***ing-deal crap after we tend to the REAL big-f***ing deal business of the People." If he barges in and tries to disrupt, have him escorted out. If he doesn't show, then proceed without him.

Now...GET OFF AMERICA'S YARD, JOHN McCAIN!!!

Posted by: S. Waybright on March 24, 2010 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

It will remain this way as long as their media machine calls the shots. Ironic as it seems, what repubs desperately need is reinstatement of the 'Fairness Doctrine'

The so-called "Fainess Doctrine" never applied to print media, and would never apply to the blogosphere even if it could be resurrected. And it's not the Rethugs/Teabaggers who need a more fair and balanced' media. It's the country. Internalized Rethug talking points have become the standard within the corporate MSM., and until that changes or Ruppert & Co somehow vanish from the scene, we will have the same-old, -same-old right-wing bias, and non-reporting of important issues like the Rethugs shutting down the Senate in a fit of pettiness and petulance.

Posted by: rrrk1 on March 24, 2010 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

Run ads, particularly in the states of senators up for re-election: Sen. So-and-so is having a temper tantrum, and has decided to knock off work early at 2PM every day and still collect a whole paycheck. Call his office and tell him to get back to work doing the people's business or else stop collecting taxpayer money.

Posted by: Joe Buck on March 24, 2010 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

Hmm, let me put on my thinking cap here, I'm wondering what the Repubs would say if the Dems shut down a Homeland Security Committee meeting early...I'm guessing it would involve a whole lot more than a strongly worded statement from their leader in the Senate...I'm gonna go out a limb here and guess that it would involve something along the lines of every Repub screaming "THEY'RE MAKING AMERICA LESS SAFE!!! TRAITORS!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Can we just take Grayson's DNA and inject into the entire Democratic caucus? Please?!

Posted by: Allan Snyder on March 24, 2010 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

The country has not seen a congressional minority this pathetic in a very long time.

And they still won't see it, because our "liberal" media won't show it to them.

Posted by: qwerty on March 24, 2010 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

Dammit, why am I finding out about this by reading blogs? Why isn't there a Democratic Party publicity operation in place, which could have email-blasted a story about this to all the pathetic rip-and-read 'journalists' in the media? It could have been accompanied with interview footage from Senator Carper with lovely soundbites of him describing how the GOP used a procedural manuver to shut down his committee, right above a chyron saying 'Homeland Security shut down by GOP'.

Sigh. Do we have to do everything for these guys? After all this time, do they really have no idea how to influence the media agenda, and make sure a story gets delivered their way?

Can we get them remedial media classes? Quick? Before they squander more golden opportunities?

Posted by: biggerbox on March 24, 2010 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

This is nothing but an attempt in its own way, to shut down government and it's going to backfire on them just like when Newt Gingrich tried to play a similar stunt.

Posted by: leo on March 24, 2010 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Or they may not be able to stop their twisted little selves. -shortstop

I'm not sure it is even possible now any more than it was within Dr. Frankenstein's power to control the monster he created.

Posted by: doubtful on March 24, 2010 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder if Harry Reid and the majority party in the Senate can shut off the power to the chambers of Republican Senators at 2:00 PM each day?

It's definitely 6th grade, but it might be an apt response. "We assumed you were ceasing work entirely at 2 PM"

Posted by: drf on March 24, 2010 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

As others keep pointing out, this is only bad for Republicans if the public at large knows it is happening and why. That requires two things:

1 - A news media that will report on such matters.

2 - An effective Democratic media campaign that blasts it to the electorate everyday.

The last year has shown quite conclusively that neither really exists. The Democratic National Committee and the Congressional Election Committees should be putting ads on the air TODAY. Every Democratic Senator interviewed by the press should talk about this. Gibbs should be shouting it from the press room.

Reid should schedule a vote to get rid of the rule. Force the Republicans to satnd on the floor of the Senate and defend not having to workd past 2pm.

Posted by: thorin-1 on March 24, 2010 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

@ shortstop: They may get wise and stop it long enough before November for the half-paying-attention public to forget they did it. Or they may not be able to stop their twisted little selves.

With Rush and Beck egging them on, and Erick Son of Erick threatening to primary any Republican who "cooperates" (by halting their obstructionism, don't'cha know) with Democrats? Fat chance.

Posted by: Gregory on March 24, 2010 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

30 sec add time boys. 'The do nothing party of no'. Rapid fire cuts. Pasty old white guys telling everybody what they can't do. One after another. With the law and order hammer coming down music in the background. "Why isn't change coming fast enough?" Bamm. Because pasty old dinosaurs in Congress won't let it happen Bamm. cut to Pasty old white guys in Congress saying bat shit crazy stuff Bamm. Christ this shit writes itself. Calling Hollywood. Don't run away from this stuff. They are giving it you on a silver platter!

Posted by: SW on March 24, 2010 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

To punish Democrats for fulfilling their campaign promise to the nation, McCain said, ‘There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year’.

Jimmy Kimmel said this is like Wile E. Coyote announcing he will no longer be cooperating with the Road Runner.

Posted by: Joe Friday on March 24, 2010 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Republican Senators insist on keeping bankers' hours, so that they have more time to play golf, schmooze and fundraise? What a surprise!

Posted by: exlibra on March 24, 2010 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

Two comments.

...no committee of the Senate or any subcommittee thereof may meet, without special leave, after the conclusion of the first two hours after the meeting of the Senate commenced and in no case after two o’clock postmeridian....

This merely states that 2pm is the latest they can meet. Apparently this rule also means that no committee can meet after the conclusion of the first two hours...So why can't the Republicans demand that they don't work more than two hours each day on their committees?

Second. I'm sure there are many very talented people who comment here with skills that far exceed my own putting together "viral" videos for You Tube consumption. I would imagine a good video could address all of these points, as well as mocking Republican intransigence, and would play well on You Tube. If the DNC won't do it, why don't we? Remember the MoveOn.org commercial competition? There are thousands of clips of Republicans doing inane (stupid) things. Maybe something could be put on You Tube every time they do, and continue to do this for as long as we need to.

I can think of a lot of things, but I just don't have the talent to put it all together. And, by the way, unlike the MSM, it doesn't cost anything to get on You Tube.

Posted by: rwgate on March 24, 2010 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Schedule absolutely necessary business for the Senate BEFORE 2:00 PM. Then let the Republicans leave if they want to.
There's nothing preventing the Democratic members of the Senate from simply meeting, is there? So what if the meeting wouldn't be "official"; most of the actual work in Congress isn't done during committee meetings anyway, it's done either before or after.
As it wouldn't be an authorized committee meeting, noone could be REQUIRED to attend; however, if someone who was supposed to present some information or give a report happened to be there, say, a general, that could still occur. I have little doubt there is some parliamentary method of placing the minutes of such "meetings" into the record on a later occasion.
If the Republicans don't want to govern, show them just how little they'll be missed. They may threaten to stay away from the Senate during the few hours it IS operating, but they won't. A quorum is all that's needed for the Senate to operate and there are enough Democrats to make it up. And the Republicans know that.
So I'll probably never see the headline of my dreams: "Republicans boycott Senate, Noone notices"...

Posted by: Doug on March 24, 2010 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK

I am from Summit County Colorado where Dan Gibbs is our State Senator. I am really upset at Sen McCain's tactics on this bark beetle bill that he himself is a co-sponsor. This is not about Healthcare it is about Healthy Forest. Shame on McCain.

Posted by: RIck Warren on March 24, 2010 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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