Poor Elizabeth Warren. Listening to the Senior Senator from Massachusetts in the past 24 hours, one would think that she was silenced on the Senate floor last night by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to quell the voice of a woman speaking truth to power.
The issue at hand? Warren had taken to the Senate floor with her Democratic colleagues to conduct an all night sleepover to protest the nomination of fellow Senator Jeff Sessions to become the next Attorney General of the United States. When Warren rose to speak, she read a letter from Coretta Scott King to the late Senator Ted Kennedy to protest Sessions’ appointment to become a federal judge.
Heedless of the Presiding Officer’s admonition not to disparage another Senator according to Rule 19...
“No Senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.”
...Warren plunged ahead. Undaunted by the warning of the Chair, Warren continued with King’s letter:
““[Then U.S. Attorney Sessions used] the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens in the district he now seeks to serve as a federal judge.”
An incendiary statement offered without any supporting evidence is a clear violation of the prohibition of Senate rules not to speak ill of a fellow Senator.
Senate Majority Leader McConnell was having none of this behavior and he brought a motion to the Senate floor to prevent Warren from further debate on the Sessions nomination – the vote passed along party lines 49-43. To listen to Warren supporters and sympathetic headlines in the media, one would think she was the victim of white male privilege and discrimination.
NBC tells us: “Warren Silenced for Reading Coretta Scott Letter.”
“McConnell Silences Sen. Warren Midsentence as She Reads Coretta Scott King Letter on Senate Floor,” sniffs Slate.com.
In their current scorched Earth, win at any cost strategy employed by Congressional Democrats in the wake of President Donald Trump’s stunning victory, common sense and decency has been thrown out the window in favor of anger and confrontation. Even Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel warned his fellow Democrats this week when he said: “Take a chill pill, man. You gotta be in this for the long haul.”
Will the Democrats chill in the short term? Not likely.
Look at Warren’s conduct last night as a beacon of the light they’re set to follow in the days ahead. It is beyond coincidental that Warren, widely seen by progressives as a leading contender for the Democratic nomination in 2020, would invoke words written by the wife of the famed civil rights leader during Black History Month.
Ascribing Trump’s presidential upset at the hands of uneducated Southern white men (not true, naturally) Democrats have charted their path out of the political wilderness by wooing women, people of color and millennials. What better way to mobilize the base than to assert that a Southern Senator seeking to become the next Attorney General is nothing more than a racist bigot who would turn back the clock on voting rights for blacks?
There’s only one problem with this approach: it simply won’t work. President Donald Trump was accused of being a racist, sexist Neanderthal who would terrorize the world and he beat all but coronated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. How? Voters saw through her web of deceit, obfuscation and the sense that rules applied to other people and not her.
Warren could be falling into the same trap: a recent poll indicated 46% of Massachusetts voters believe someone else should represent them in the Senate when Warren faces the voters in 2018. More lies, insults and character attacks aren’t the solution to the problem, Senator Warren.
A strong legislative strategy accompanied by a track record of accomplishments will set you free from the ideological blinders, which have shackled you and your fellow Democrats to political irrelevance