Donald Trump campaigned on a pledge to “drain the swamp” in Washington, DC. He was talking about drastically reducing government waste, lobbying and corruption, but with that comes the vow that it will no longer be “business as usual” when it comes to partisan fighting.
Traditionally, the U.S. Senate has been a model of decorum. Senators try to adhere to strict, ancient parliamentary rules about how to address one another. However, too often these rules are overlooked by Democrats, and Republicans have let them get away with it, not wanting to “stoop to their level.”
However, it is time that Republicans fight back, and emboldened by Trump’s leadership style, they are finding their voice. This was perfectly illustrated in a small but revealing move this week:
Senate Republicans passed a party-line rebuke Tuesday night of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) for a speech opposing attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions, striking down her words for impugning the Alabama senator’s character.
In an extraordinarily rare move, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) interrupted Warren’s speech in a near-empty chamber, as debate on Sessions’s nomination heads toward a Wednesday evening vote, and said that she had breached Senate rules by reading past statements against Sessions from figures such as the late senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and the late Coretta Scott King.
“The senator has impugned the motives and conduct of our colleague from Alabama,” McConnell said, then setting up a series of roll-call votes on Warren’s conduct.
The Democrats have been doing everything in their limited power to slow down the plans of the Trump administration, putting roadblocks in its path each day.
These delaying tactics include boycotting votes and now impugning a Senator’s character.
(Recall: These are the same Democrats who complained that Congressional Republicans weren’t sufficiently “cooperating” with President Obama’s agenda.)
Elizabeth Warren in particular is fond of these sorts of grandstanding stunts. It is important for Senate rules against personal attacks be upheld at all times, to help retain the dignity and even legitimacy, of this branch of government. The Republicans are firmly establishing a new tone and it is long overdue.
Source: Washington Post