Gail Collins writes today about the dysfunctional Senate and the rank hypocrisy of Republicans who blocked the defense spending bill (imagine if Democrats had done that under Bush) because they don't want to end discrimination against gay people in the military and don't want to help immigrant children. Collins closes with Arkansas's Sad Sack Senators, who joined the Republicans in obstructionism:
The only people more patently evasive about their motives than the procedural-purity Republicans were the two Democrats who refused to vote to end the filibuster. Both are from Arkansas, and they said they were impelled to break with their party because, um, the system is broken.
“I have heard my constituents loud and clear, and I will continue working to ensure that we do things in an open and transparent way. I opposed the motion to proceed because we all need to listen to our constituents and provide time to fully debate and consider the issues they care about,” Senator Blanche Lincoln said in a statement.
She is in a very tough race for re-election and must have been trying to show Arkansas voters that she is an independent thinker. But it was a terrible plan. The poor woman is way, way behind in the polls. Give it up, Blanche! This is not the moment to try to woo the alienated independents with a strange and obscure press release. You should have voted with your heart, spoken your mind and gone out with a bang.
Ah, well, there’s always the procedural whimper.
Pryor pretty clearly has no heart for helping gays or immigrants It's a pity. But I get it. He's up for election in four years. Lincoln, however, is more of a mystery. She canceled a planned appearance at a fund-raiser Monday night by Stonewall Democrats because she said she had to get to Washington for the cloture vote. She told those gay and lesbian Dems that she was proud to be heading to D.C. to be the 60th vote for human rights. The Stonewallers are more than a little hacked off at the turn of events.
I'm still scratching my head. She's made the progressive end of the Democratic Party even more put out with her than it already was, if that's possible. Yet she continued to declare her support for the measure, earning her no points with the neanderthals. Some information is missing here. Clearly, by the time she voted, it was known the measure was not going to pass because not a single Republican would sign on, though several support the controversial amendments. Yet she chose Tuesday to show by her vote a disgust at the Senate's procedural follies, after years of same? Some statement, to further punish victims of invidious discrimination.
Whatever the missing link to this mystery, one thing is clear: It was another embarrassment for Lincoln, who's had plenty enough already.