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Dumb Stuff Republicans Say On The Senate Floor

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It's been a raucous and contentious week in the United States Senate, with Democrats trying to save the lives of American troops by pulling them out of an increasingly-violent civil war and Republicans doing everything in their power to keep our men and women in Iraq until hell freezes over. But you can always count on the folks on the GOP side of the aisle to provide a tiny bit of unintentional comic relief or, at the very least, to spew some things that just make you say "huh?" Here's the line-up for this week: Lamar Alexander (R-TN): And why do you think your crew was dubbed the "do-nothing" Congress? Alexander took to the Senate floor this week to accuse Democrats of wasting time by doing -- gasp! -- oversight of the Justice Department in the Alberto Gonzales scandal... "The Democrats are making political hay out of these firings at a time when the Senate should be focused on Iraq, terrorism, health care costs, excessive federal spending, energy independence and keeping our brainpower advantage so we can keep our good jobs here instead of seeing them move overseas." Yes, indeed. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) needs to take a page out of former leader Bill Frist's book and focus on the really important stuff like Terry Schiavo-like medical cases, flag burning and gay marriage, rather than all the things that Alexander hypocritically accuses Democrats of ignoring. Oh, and Senator Alexander, while this may come as a major shock to you, it's kind of the Senate's responsibility to look into stuff like a corrupt Justice Department. Richard Shelby (R-AL): We support you so much, we love you to death. Here's Shelby making an impassioned speech this week and actually saying the words "I think we need to give our Armed Forces every opportunity to succeed. We should not send an ambiguous message to them: We are going to support you today and tomorrow we want you to withdraw, in 120 days, or begin to withdraw. I think that is the wrong message, and I think it would undermine the morale of our troops." I have the acid test for Shelby's ridiculous statement: Pick a few Marines or soldiers in Baghdad at random and ask them if they would rather be in Iraq -- with the ever-present risk of getting their asses blown off for absolutely nothing -- or be back home in the warm embrace of their family, sleeping in their own bed and having a nice steak and a beer. Then let's talk about their "morale." John Thune (R-SD): Johnny Thune, you may not return to the Senate floor until you read the Constitution. "I rise in support of his amendment and also note that Friday of last week, March 23, was, in my view, a sad day because it was on that day the House of Representatives voted to usurp the responsibilities of the President of the United States as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces," said Thune on the House vote demanding that Bush begin withdrawing troops from Iraq. "Unfortunately, the Democratic majority in the Senate, rather than reject this ill-conceived and dangerous line of thinking, has chosen to endorse it." What part of coequal branch of government and Congressional oversight do you think Thune does not get? I'm sure he'll be as generous with all this executive-branch free reign when a Democrat begins occupying the White House in 2009. Mitch McConnell (R-KY): Because if King George doesn't like it, you can't pass it! Once again playing the court jester to George W. Bush's king, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell again lets us know that, in his mind, if King Georgie -- with all the credibility he has at this point -- doesn't like it, there's no point in the Senate even passing it. "I intend to vote for cloture. I hope everyone on my side will vote for cloture. We are going through an exercise that is going to ultimately lead to a vetoed bill that doesn't get money to the troops," said McConnell on Wednesday. "The sooner we can get this bill out of the Senate and into conference, get the conference completed, and get the bill down to the President for veto, the sooner we can get serious about passing a bill and getting money to the troops." The answer could not possibly be for McConnell to listen to the American people, the Democratic majority and some in his own party and tell the president to approve the funding, while also getting our troops out of that mess, could it? Naaaaahhhhh. Joe Lieberman (WHOCARES-CT): Take another bong hit, Joe... Finally, we wrap up with Senator Joe Lieberman who, while arguing for why things like finally helping Hurricane Katrina victims should not be part of the supplemental bill passed yesterday, seems to drift off to the same Fantasyland he visits with his Republican colleagues and the whole White House cabal. "The bill has kind of grown like Topsy and has a lot of other stuff in it. Maybe I am reflecting on the fact that I am going to see my grandchildren soon. One of my favorite Dr. Seuss books is about Thidwick the moose," said Lieberman on the Senate floor, drifting into a dreamlike haze. "Thidwick is a glorious moose with large antlers. Various creatures in the forest begin to occupy, ultimately quite unjustifiably, Thidwick's antlers until they fall off. There are parts of this supplemental appropriations bill that in my opinion, respectfully, do not belong there." Next week, we expect Lieberman to chide Senate Democrats for picking on Bush and Cheney by invoking that thoughtful tome, Hop On Pop. Have a non-delusional weekend! You can read more from Bob at BobGeiger.com.
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Bob Geiger is a writer, activist and Democratic operative in Westchester County, NY.
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