Monday, June 13, 2005

It's My Party And I'll Leave If I Want To

Ah, Democracy in action. The spirited debate, the parry and thrust, the back and forth, the stomping out when you can't get your own way.

Following repeated Democratic criticism of the Bush administration, House Judiciary Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. on Friday gaveled a hearing to a close and walked out. "It was a perfectly legitimate thing to do," said a spokesperson for Sensenbrenner. "The democrats were bringing in people who were questioning the policies of our president. It's like they thought it was a hearing or something."

"We ought to stick to the subject," the chairman said. "Sure the suspension or deferral of certain rights at home created a climate for these abuses elsewhere, but why do we care what happens to brown people?"

Congress is debating what changes it should make when reauthorizing the USA Patriot Act, "Well, 'debating' may be too strong a word, "Sensenbrenner's spokesman, Jeff Lungren said. "We're just killing time until the vote." The hearing had lasted two hours and "the chairman was very accommodating, giving members extra time. And then the batteries got low on his iPod," according to Lungren.

Sensenbrenner, who is known for a brusque insistence on decorum, said he considered putting his fingers in his ears and going lalalala, I can't hear you, but opted for walking out instead because he felt "that was more in keeping with the great traditions of this deliberative body."

C-SPAN 2 continued televising the proceedings for six minutes after Sensenbrenner had departed. "We thought he had just gone to pee or something," A C-SPAN 2 spokesperson said." But when one of our production assistants saw him heading down the hall with his golf clubs we knew the hearing was over."

"We are lecturing foreign governments about the conduct of their behavior with regard to opposition," James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, said, "I'm really troubled about what kind of message this is going to teach to other countries in the world about how they ought to conduct an open society that allows for an opposition with rights."

"That was a completely inappropriate thing to say," Sensenbrenner said after his round (he shot 82). "It's not like I ordered any of the Democrats shot or anything. I mean what does he think this is, Iraq?"

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