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This is what passes for “controversy” in the US Senate

Thursday, Jan 27, 2011

* This Politico article pretty much sums up how disgusted I am with DC politics

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) had been a member of the “most exclusive club” for about two weeks when he pulled the equivalent of spiking a football on the decorous Senate floor, reveling in the GOP’s defeat of a catch-all $1.1 trillion spending bill riddled with earmarks.

“As the most junior people, for those who don’t understand what just happened, did we just win?” Kirk inquired, feigning ignorance for dramatic effect, at the end of one of the Senate’s final debates in December. […]

“I think his whole demeanor wasn’t that appropriate,” Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) told POLITICO after chiding Kirk on the Senate floor. “I saw what he said, and I thought, ‘I’m going to say something.’ And I thought that that was the politics that people are fed up with. So he has to be very careful.”

Among Republicans who privately complained about the episode, one called it “amateurish.”

Yeah, lock him up and throw away the key.

What a freaking crock.

I’d like to send them Rickey Hendon for a few days. His electric blue suit with matching shoes and attitude might finally shake that place up a bit.

There was a time in the French royal court when one had to speak in rhyme to be respected. DC is pretty much the same way. They have their own little world out there and it makes little real sense to anyone outside of it.

…Adding… Hilariously enough, somebody in Illinois actually fell for this contrived silliness

Remember the scene from Animal House, in which Otter is trying to persuade the Deltas to pledge the sad-sack Flounder?

When Otter was a freshman, he says, “I myself was so obnoxious the seniors beat me up once a week.”

That’s the kind of start Mark Kirk is getting off to in the U.S. Senate. Here in Illinois, we’ve always known he was a self-aggrandizing pipsqueak — remember those triumphant little hops every time he scored a point in a debate against Alexi Giannoulias? Now, his new co-workers are finding out, too.

* His “inappropriate” behavior didn’t hurt Kirk with his committee assignments. The freshman just snagged seats on Appropriations; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions; and the Special Committee on Aging. Not bad at all.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Wumpus - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 2:07 pm:

    Rich defending Kirk, it must be no big deal at all. I am not sure about amateurish, but he has been there fro only 2 months or so.

  2. - Deep South - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 2:08 pm:

    The line about Hendon is too funny! And a good idea.

  3. - Pat Robertson - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 2:13 pm:

    The most important point here is that it shows, once again, that someone has no desire to move on to the D.C./national scene.

    Rich Miller — he’s our pundit, and you can’t have him!

  4. - Bring Back Boone's - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 2:20 pm:

    ===There was a time in the French royal court ===

    LOL- they should make a DC Quills with Geoffrey Rush starring as Senator Mark Begich.

  5. - dupage dan - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 2:21 pm:

    To paraphrase Churchill, “This is something up with which we will not put”.

    I realize decorum is important. However, this is important stuff and a touchdown is a touchdown. I believe a “Lambeau Leap” is in order!

  6. - "Old Timer Dem" - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 2:27 pm:

    You sound like you favor the democrats. Where is your objectivity?

  7. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 2:29 pm:

    Senator Sumner?
    Are you on the Senate floor at your desk right now?
    Congressman Brooks is here to see you.

    Senator Begich?
    Look at what Senator Kirk is doing! How barbaric! You almost should have a word with him.

  8. - LN - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 2:35 pm:

    I think the “most exclusive club” line says it all. When I was a Senate Page in 2005, one of the first things I picked up on was how much everyone involved with the Senate looks down their noses at everyone else–including the House. Senators are coddled with so many perks (private hallways, back rooms, dining rooms, bathrooms, hideaways in the Capitol, etc.) and are insulated with so much staff that they rarely interact with the voting public, save the weekly “Constituent Breakfast”. It gets worse with the lower your seniority is, too; the majority party always makes the most freshmen members preside over the chamber. I have seen senators literally sit up there and do crosswords. Their decorum rules won’t even let cell phones on the floor. ‘Tis a different world, indeed.

  9. - John Galt - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 2:36 pm:

    Agreed. A croc. And agreed, send Hollywood to Capitol Hill for a few months–he would have been far more entertaining (and perhaps effective) than Burris.

    And I can’t see how the US Senate is so shocked at Kirk. First, his behavior isn’t that outlandish. Second, he’s been a veteran of The Hill for well over a decade. Ten years as a congressman and I believe several years as a staffer before that. It isn’t like the guy parachuted in from nowhere…

  10. - Fed-Up - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 2:46 pm:

    “Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) told POLITICO after chiding Kirk on the Senate floor. “I saw what he said…..”

    How does one see what someone else says, did Kirk have to write it out for him because of a hearing disability?

    I know I’m probably being absurd but these guys take themselves far too seriously!

  11. - Amuzing Myself - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 2:47 pm:

    Perhaps if the body had to be present during debate, a fresh, new, rookie Senator would display a little more reverence for the place. But since there usually aren’t more than a handful of members in either chamber during virtually any debate, that’s not likely. After all, they would all have to be doing their jobs instead of raising money from and trading favors with lobbyists.

  12. - Obamarama - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 2:47 pm:

    I agree that calling it a controversy is a bit much. That being said, the Senate does bill itself as the greatest deliberative body on the planet. It isn’t a big deal but a little respect for the institution wouldn’t hurt. This is the kind of thing that happens on the house side of the ILGA all the time though.

    P.S. I would rather send Bill Black to DC for a week than Hollywood.

  13. - shore - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 2:49 pm:

    1. first time in kirk’s career he’s not on a foreign relations committee, although he could be on foreign operations or something.

    2. the writer, jonathan allen is a hack who was once a communications advisor to a democratic congresswoman named debbie wasserman schultz who ran part of the democrat campaign committee which spent years trying to get rid of the senator.

    3. In a decade of bad politicians alaska has been unique in it’s ability to produce such winners as sarah palin, the bridge to nowhere congressman, ted stevens and now this dunce so being on his opposite side is to me a plus.

    4. the key for the state is that in a time of cuts on capitol hill it will now be one of the few states with TWO senators on the appropriations commuitttee.

    5. I’ve lost count of how many stories politico has botched in recent weeks. It’s the national enquirer of washington journalism in terms of what sort of stuff they’re willing to publish.

  14. - Responsa - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 2:51 pm:

    Aw, Begich prolly just misses his buddy Roland. The Trailblazer knows decorum. Heck, he could write a book on decorum.

  15. - waitress practicing politics. . - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 2:52 pm:

    I didn’t know Jesse Jackson was french…

  16. - chiatty - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 3:13 pm:

    I’m no fan of Kirk, principally because of the many lies/distortions/exaggerations on his “resume”, but I do think he’ll wind up being a pretty good senator when he gets his sea legs under him. He does seem to care about the job and I think he’s capable enough to do a good job. This anecdote is pretty meaningless to me.

  17. - amalia - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 3:17 pm:

    Really Dems, this is all you’ve got? you just emphasize what Captain Kirk and company found with your goofy comment Sen. Begich. move on. fix things. slam dunk the Repubs on other things, not this clubby Senate nonsense.

    You want to know why the public thinks Washington is so out of touch? cause things move pretty fast in thereal world of internet and podcast and you guys are mucking around with big wordy bills with obfuscated outcomes and you engage in silly posturing. all that means a hill of beans to a person who has personal debt and wants to get their kids in a good school. wise up. get back to work.

  18. - Ben - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 3:20 pm:

    @LN Fun fact–our Senate delegation is the only one to host a constituent breakfast jointly. (Although I don’t know if that tradition will continue with Kirk).

    Kirk’s remarks were kind of obnoxious, but I agree with Vman for once–its small potatoes when compared with the conflicts of old. Past Congresses were never more civil than current Congresses–in fact they were probably worse.

  19. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 3:26 pm:

    They really do roll that way in the Senate, though.

    It requires all sorts of time-consuming, insincere puffery to get to your desired soundbite for the TV news.

    One time, I watched Bob Dole praise Ted Kennedy for 10 minutes on either side of a “If the Senator from Massachusetss wants a fight, bring it on” quote he was desperate to get on the news when he was running for the GOP presidential nod in 1988.

  20. - Ugh - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 3:33 pm:

    Great, Rich. So your message to others would be: Do whatever it takes and act in whatever manner you please as long as you get ahead. This guy is somehow ‘good’ because he achieves personal accomplishments by being an arrogant (blank.) That’s really sad, moreso that you would endorse it than the fact that he would get ahead by doing it. Come on.

  21. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 3:35 pm:

    Yeah, right, Ugh. I just endorsed complete, total anarchy and the overthrow of the federal government. Perhaps I should be arrested as a traitor.


  22. - ANON - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 3:38 pm:

    I hope he breaks into the Icky Shuffle next time. That’d really ruffle their feathers.

  23. - Responsa - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 3:47 pm:

    Next Politico headline?: Senator X accused of inappropriately and disrespectfully slipping off shoes during long Senate session.

  24. - Adam Smith - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 3:50 pm:

    Remember when Obama was dressed down by McCain during his brief tenure in the senate? This is an old story written every two years about a new senator who is seen as too eager and too self-confident. Every up-and-comer has to be “shown his place” by the senior senators.

    Peter Fitzgerald got his wrist slapped by the old guard plenty. The senate BS that is called “decorum” by the veterans was one of the factors that made him throw in the towel after one term.

    Kirk won’t buckle.

    Just like the smartest kid in the class got on your nerves Kirk can easily rub people the wrong way at times. That is why so many of his detractors reveled in resumegate last year. They wanted to see him brought down a notch.

    But Kirk will be an excellent senator just as he was an excellent congressman because he is smart, because he does his homework, because he knows how the place works, because he is aggressive and because he is ambitious. And he doesn’t care if political insiders don’t like it.

  25. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 4:07 pm:

    –And he doesn’t care if political insiders don’t like it.–

    Yeah, his resume (the real, confirmable one) shows he’s a real James Dean rebel.

  26. - Stones - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 4:08 pm:

    Rickey Hendon would definitely shake up the US Senate. I bet some of the “old timers” on this board that remember Jack Knuppel would pay to see him stir up the building too.

  27. - Louis G. Atsaves - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 4:11 pm:

    I believe “Progress” Illinois got into a huge tizzy over Kirk’s behavior as well.

  28. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 4:18 pm:

    ===Among Republicans who privately complained about the episode, one called it “amateurish.”===

    That’s from the GOP, so it isn’t really a partisan issue. It’s more like hazing, and as Adam Smith pointed out, Kirk isn’t the first freshman Senator “welcomed” in Senate style.

    Much. Ado. About. Nada.

  29. - Jaded - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 4:21 pm:

    Actually I thought being arrogant and self-aggrandizing was a pre-requisite to being elected US Senator. The junior senator from Illinois is just trying to be one of the guys (no slight intended to the arrogant and self-aggrandizing gals in the Senate).

  30. - Champaign Dweller - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 4:50 pm:

    A little less decorum and a little more work getting done, please. If it takes shaking up the old guard, I’m fine with that.

  31. - chicagoexpat - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 5:46 pm:

    Ado about nothing? — or –

    the shape of things to come

    this indicates that Kirk will be the gift that keeps on giving for his 6 year term, if he lasts that long. & given the recent politics in the last couple of years, his tenure is hardly a sure thing.

    But we can be sure that in the spirit of his inane defense from the campaign where he puffs up his records, pundits will enjoy many gifts from this doofus

  32. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 27, 11 @ 9:48 pm:

    =Yeah, lock him up and throw away the key.=

    Eh, they can try. I’d bet good money that he’d figure a way out.

  33. - BOB - Friday, Jan 28, 11 @ 7:36 am:

    I am waiting on Kirk’s announcement of his secret mission to Mars.

  34. - Bakersfield - Friday, Jan 28, 11 @ 2:42 pm:

    Rich, if you didnt link to Ward Room, would anyone actually read it?
    Yeah, didnt think so.

    I think the newbies like Kirk need to be very careful how they tread, afterall sitting members of congress are incredibly popular right now.

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