Friday, March 23, 2007

Unhinged Republicans Can't Even Get Their Insults Straight

By Matt Taibbi,

Republicans ran Congress like a basement cockfighting ring for years, and now they are freaking out at the civility that the Democratic majority is extending them.

I turned on C-Span the other morning, expecting to watch the latest chapter in the purification-by-fire of Alberto Gonzales, and saw an amazing thing. It was so amazing and so hilarious that I coughed hot coffee all over my new laptop. Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Republican of Florida, was howling on the House floor about the lack of "openness" demonstrated by the new Democratic leadership.

"In bill after bill after bill," he shouted, "the minority is closed out!"

Diaz-Balart ... you really have to see this guy to believe him. His public speaking method is something truly awesome to behold. Imagine a Mummenschanz dancer trying to pass a drunk test after downing a bottle of strychnine, and you've got Diaz-Balart explaining himself in congress. He waves his hands and head spasmodically as he talks, and sometimes actually adds words to match his twitches and gestures that make no sense and do not necessarily relate to the subject at hand.

"It's not theory, not height, not almost closed -- it's a closed rule!" he shouted, demonstrating the nonsensical added word "height" by making a "high-low" gesture with his hands.

The issue at hand -- the reason the esteemed Florida congressman was addressing the House floor -- was the failure of the Democrats to allow an "open rule" in the matter of the Gulf Coast Recovery Act, an aid package directed to hurricane victims. An "open rule" is a bill that is sent to the House floor without any restrictions on the number or type of amendments majority or minority members might want to tack on. For instance, a few years ago, when the reauthorization of the Patriot act was sent to the House floor, Vermont's Bernie Sanders submitted an amendment to restrict government access to citizens' library records. The Republicans who controlled the Rules committee at the time rejected that and other amendments, and sent a closed rule to the floor.......

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