Those of us in the political pundit class tend to be big fans of Frank Capra’s 1939 Jimmy Stewart classic Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. Some of us keep replaying the film often enough to keep the lines fresh among the decaying political plant fiber in the Washington swamp.
Before the fabled filibuster was reduced from rare drama to daily droll by Senate Republicans under Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), once upon a time, filibustering was a marathon talking event. The mettle of the Senator was tested surely as much as the gravity of the cause. Through endless repetition, and casual rules, Republican filibustering skills have cheapened to a WalMart standard of Chinese knock-off “designer” fashion.
Forget Jimmy Stewart’s legendary impassioned exhaustion over political corruption. Enter the trademarked Leave it to Beaver Eddie Haskell smirk of Sen. Rand “Doctor, doctor, glad I’m not sick” Paul (R-KY). Our Ayn Rand seance medium decided to attempt to grandstand logjam the confirmation of John Brennan to head the Central Intelligence Agency.
If the duet of grumpy Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), and the daintily pirouetting Sen. Lindsey “Tutu Warrior” Graham (R-S.C.) couldn’t halt the Brennan nod for yet another bit of Benghazi buffoonery, the crazy call went out to Dr. Paul. For nearly thirteen hours, he threw red meat to his conspiracy theorist fringe, earning a public rebuke from Sen. McCain. Even McCain, despite picking Sarah Palin as a running mate in 2008, apparently has occasional limits to lunacy.
Unlike ex-Sen. Fred Thompson’s (R-Tenn.) latest acting gig helping oldsters Winnebago hock away the kids’ inheritance with “reverse mortgages” in cable TV ads, Loonytarian smirker Sen. Rand Paul should steer clear of a post-Senatorial thespian career. Paul played a worse Jimmy Stewart than Graham’s frequent tries at actress Jean Arthur’s dance routine.
Yes, a free people should question any hint of shadowy drone contract hits on guys we don’t like here at home. We would have preferred Attorney General Eric Holder being unequivocal on nixing the legality of home drone strikes from the start. The cynical among us are waiting for the first drone collision with a billionaire’s corporate jet in the skies above. Problem is, when Paul bemoans a loss of “liberty,” we too often forget the “Full Monty” of befuddled baggage that accompanies him.
Yes, Mr. Brennan’s curriculum vitae has some shadowy parts. The super-sized intelligence community doth include lots of less than savory morsels not fit for polite company. The business of intelligence gathering and covert action involves dealing with folks one would not invite to their kid’s Bar Mitzvah or family Sunday dinner.There were tough questions the Senate needed to ask Mr. Brennan, which probably should not see the mass market media light of day, but competent oversight demands be known.
Alas, the Senate confirmation process has a vital purpose in order to hire the right people for top jobs. The filibuster has a necessary place in the legislative process, hence Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)’s tepid stab at filibuster “reform” earlier this year.
No wonder polls show Congressional antics have earned the legislative bodies approval ratings lower than the desirability of a case of the clap.
A new low. We’re stuck with the circus, but let’s do try to find a better coterie of clowns.