WASHINGTON, February 10, 2017 — The classic films of the 30s and 40s often feature characters in the throes of hysteria quickly brought to a state of calm by a swift slap across the chops.
As in the movies of old, if only metaphorically, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren was Mitch-slapped while shrilly denouncing fellow Senator Jeff Sessions, the new U.S. Attorney General.
When Warren attacked Sessions’ character with the tired and well-worn charge of racism, GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell invoked a Senate rule that forbids Senators from attacking the motives of fellow senators rather than debating the substance of issues under consideration.
It went down like this:
Sen. Mitch McConnell: “The Senator [Warren] has impugned the motives and conduct of our colleague from Alabama [Sessions] as warned by the chair. Senator Warren, quote, said, ‘Senator Sessions has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens.’ I call the senator to order under the provision of rule 19.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren: “Mr. President, I am surprised that words of Coretta Scott King are not suitable for debate in the United States Senate. I ask leave of the Senate to continue my remarks.”
President of the Senate: “Is there objection.”
McConnell: “I’ve got one.”
President of the Senate: “The objection is heard, the senator will take her seat.”
Warren is neither the first nor the last to become unhinged by the result of the presidential election. The left and the hierarchy of the Democratic Party, not to mention their collegial Democrat-lite GOP congressional colleagues, have been in denial about the nation’s shifting political tide since the populist Tea Party revolt of 2010.
Contrary to the media narrative, the owl-faced McConnell is no fire-breathing, Machiavellian right-winger. In 2014, he was forced to spend $12 million to fend off a primary challenge from Tea Party darling Matt Bevin.
Recently, conservative commentator and news aggregator Matt Drudge channeled the frustration of many on the right when he tweeted:
“No Obamacare repeal, tax cuts! But Republicans vote to shut Warren? Only know how to be opposition not lead? DANGER. Republican Party should be sued for fraud.”
When a sizable contingent of Tea Party-friendly candidates were elected to the House of Representatives in 2014, then Speaker of the House John Boehner found his ability to broker backroom, mega-spending deals with the Obama White House foiled time and again.
Boehner’s inability to sellout his party, not to mention the voters whose turnout won him the speaker’s gavel, proved too much and he retired in 2015.
McConnell’s abrupt seating of Warren was certainly justified. It ended her violation of Senate rules governing decorum while winning the body’s jittery majority leader some currency with the frustrated voters of flyover country who, against all odds, elected a populist president unbeholden to the timid leaders of the GOP or frightened by the oddball constituencies of the Democratic Party.
The New York Times described the McConnell-Warren brouhaha as having “a broader theme—that women are too commonly shushed or ignored.”
That, of course, depends mightily on the women being “shushed.”
A recent article from the Times wondered whether the recent Women’s March on Washington signaled that the “fractious woman’s movement came to lead the left.”
Warren spoke at the Women’s March in Boston.
In Washington, marchers carried signs reading, “Refugees Welcome,” “Keep Your Laws out of My Vagina,” “Black Lives Matter” and “Nobody Likes You.”
Do you recall the sea of pink that dazzled the eyes of those scanning the estimated 600,000 Trump protestors gathered at the National Mall?
You can thank Krista Suh and Jayna Zweiman for that. They’re the co-creators of the so-called “pussyhat” into which so many of the marchers tightly shoved their heads that cold winter’s day.
Mitch McConnell’s rebuke of Elizabeth Warren only emulated Middle America’s censure of the new, pink-hatted left when they elected Donald Trump America’s 45th president.
You could say that last November they asked the whiners to pull their collective heads out of their tight, knitted facsimiles of a bodily orifice so they could, well, shut up and sit down.