Dick and the Gang

Over at World Magazine’s Blog: ‘Durbin’s Arrogance’

In his opening statement today in the John Roberts confirmation hearings, Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin tried to talk tough, but wound up vacillating between condescension and arrogance. He said Mr. Roberts would have to explain to Sen. Durbin’s satisfaction his Reagan-era writings on civil rights because “we can’t assume that time or maturity have changed your views.” Later, apparently to display his fairmindedness, Sen. Durbin told Mr. Roberts that the hearings would “give you your chance…to establish why you were worthy” of Mr. Bush’s nomination, but promised the judge that if he refused to answer questions, “the results would not be…positive.” Note to Sen. Durbin: Left-of-center Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg often refused to answer questions during her confirmation hearings. Perhaps you can recall her from the high court using your outsized sense of self.

If only the electorate was engaged enough to wise up and kick these guys out of Washington D.C.

Durbin wasn’t the only Senator in bloviation overdrive today.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D) — “Today, the devastation, despair facing millions of our fellow Americans in the Gulf region is a tragic reminder of why we have a federal government, why it’s critical that our government be responsive. We need the federal government for our protection and security, to cast a lifeline to those in distress, to mobilize better resources beyond the ability of any state and local government — all of this for the common good.”

What does this have to do with Roberts?

Sen. Teddy Kennedy (D) — “The powerful winds and flood waters of Katrina tore away the mask that has hidden from public view the many Americans who are left out and left behind. As one nation under God, we cannot continue to ignore the injustice, the inequality and the gross disparities that exist in our society.”

Uh (hiccup), what does (hiccup) this have to (hiccup) do with (hiccup) Roberts?

And it wasn’t just the Democrats who were overacting.

A television camera behind Sen. Tom Coburn (R) caught the senator working a crossword puzzle. But Coburn went from detachment to emotional overdrive when it was his turn to talk; seconds after asserting that “a super-legislator body is not what the court was intended to be,” he paused and wept.

Colleagues looked alarmed. One GOP committee aide put his hand to his mouth. It was the biggest Senate choke-up since Sen. George V. Voinovich (R) cried while opposing the nomination of the ambassador to the United Nations — and Coburn has to get through three more days of hearings.

Take the cameras out of the room and it would have been a different day. Remove the spotlight, and you instantly eliminate the drama. It’s showbiz, and it’s hard for me to stomach.

He wept?

I think I’m going to hurl.

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