Sunday, June 8, 2008

TRAIN NEWS presents: “When Congressmen Attack”

Senator Barack Obama made news and inspired well-written blog posts earlier this week when he took Senator Lieberman by the hand and, to use the parlance of our times, made him a man. In this case, ‘making him a man’ refers to emasculating him in front of his allies and opponents in the Senate, the Republicans and Democrats respectively. While this has been hailed as a heroic act far overdue, it should be noted that this is not the first time in recent history when tempers have flared on the floors of the House and Senate:
  • 2004: Dick Cheney, in his role as president of the Senate, drops the F-bomb during a discussion with Pat Leahy. This is generally acknowledged to be the least obscene thing Cheney has ever done.
  • 2003: When Senator John Lofton collapses as he enters the Senate chamber, Bill Frist pauses his kidnapped kitten vivisection* to make a diagnosis from his seat hundreds of feet away. Although onlookers note that Lofton appears to be suffering from a heart attack, Frist concludes that Lofton seems fine and that he should recover imminently. Lofton’s death hours later enrages his colleagues, although the lack of consequences emboldens Frist, who then swears that from that moment on he will get EVERY diagnosis wrong.
  • 2001: After the results of the 2000 elections are announced, lame duck VP Al Gore invites the senate to a special presentation. Instead of a rough working cut of his as-of-yet unannounced global warming presentation, however, this was revealed to be a crude prank which ends with Gore flashing shock site on the monitors until the disgusted senators leave the building.
Hopefully in the upcoming days other Democrats will take the opportunity to shake hands with Lieberman and yell at him for a few minutes. Getting Democrats (and Connecticut for Liebermanders) to work together can be harder than herding cats, but it will probably get easier as these cats realize that a steadfast refusal to do the right thing will earn them verbal abuse from their colleagues. Also, these cats won’t be offered Committee chairmanships. Finally if all else fails we can threaten to formally turn these cats over to the Senate Republicans, and see if they learned any uses for cats from their old friend Bill Frist.

*While the link leads to the Wikipedia article on the subject, it cannot be repeated enough: Bill Frist, by his own admission, took cats from animal shelters and killed them for experimentation. I would say this quite possibly makes Frist the worst person in the world, very much like those selected by Keith Olbermann. Unlike those selected by Keith Olbermann, however, Frist will remain the worst person in the world tomorrow, and the day after, and so forth into perpetuity.


  1. So your post reminded me about this story of senator on senator violence, which funnily enough I got from the senate's own history website:

    "On May 22, 1856, the "world's greatest deliberative body" became a combat zone. In one of the most dramatic and deeply ominous moments in the Senate's entire history, a member of the House of Representatives entered the Senate chamber and savagely beat a senator into unconsciousness.

    The inspiration for this clash came three days earlier when Senator Charles Sumner, a Massachusetts antislavery Republican, addressed the Senate on the explosive issue of whether Kansas should be admitted to the Union as a slave state or a free state. In his "Crime Against Kansas" speech, Sumner identified two Democratic senators as the principal culprits in this crime—Stephen Douglas of Illinois and Andrew Butler of South Carolina. He characterized Douglas to his face as a "noise-some, squat, and nameless animal . . . not a proper model for an American senator." Andrew Butler, who was not present, received more elaborate treatment. Mocking the South Carolina senator's stance as a man of chivalry, the Massachusetts senator charged him with taking "a mistress . . . who, though ugly to others, is always lovely to him; though polluted in the sight of the world, is chaste in his sight—I mean," added Sumner, "the harlot, Slavery."

    Representative Preston Brooks was Butler's South Carolina kinsman. If he had believed Sumner to be a gentleman, he might have challenged him to a duel. Instead, he chose a light cane of the type used to discipline unruly dogs. Shortly after the Senate had adjourned for the day, Brooks entered the old chamber, where he found Sumner busily attaching his postal frank to copies of his "Crime Against Kansas" speech.

    Moving quickly, Brooks slammed his metal-topped cane onto the unsuspecting Sumner's head. As Brooks struck again and again, Sumner rose and lurched blindly about the chamber, futilely attempting to protect himself. After a very long minute, it ended.

    Bleeding profusely, Sumner was carried away. Brooks walked calmly out of the chamber without being detained by the stunned onlookers. Overnight, both men became heroes in their respective regions."


    yeah, i was gonna have a bunch more with that one in it, but i was also going to stick to lieberman and not turn it into a 'crap on frist' fest, so...

  3. I honestly don't understand how the cat story doesn't come up every single time Frist makes the news. It should be his title, "Shleter Cat Killer" instead of "former Senator".

    If the people don't start doing that, I'm going to have to start calling Michael Vick "Former senator" just on principle.