The Comedy of the Senate
Al Franken was presiding over a sleepy session of the Senate yesterday afternoon and took what AP calls “the unusual step” of denying unanimous consent to allow Joe Lieberman to finish his remarks.
Franken was presiding over the Senate Thursday afternoon as Lieberman spoke about amendments he planned to offer to the bill. Lieberman asked for an additional moment to finish — a routine request — but Franken refused to grant the time.
“In my capacity as the senator from Minnesota, I object,” Franken said.
“Really?” said Lieberman. “OK.”
Lieberman then said he’d submit the rest of his statement in writing.
Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona came to his friend Lieberman’s defense, saying he’d never seen such a thing occur.
“I must say that I don’t know what’s happening here in this body but I think it’s wrong,” McCain said on the floor.
McCain said such antics harm the “comity of the Senate” but Michelle Malkin is right: “comedy” is the appropriate word choice here. She chronicles the rest of the session and let’s just say the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body did not live up to its billing.
There seems to be bipartisan consensus on this front, with TPM’s Rachel Slajda calling this “a fun bit of drama.”
Think Progress‘ Faiz Shakir thinks “John McCain (R-AZ), flipped out, erupting in anger at Franken’s move.” Readers can watch the video and judge for themselves. In an update, Shakir notes that “A Senate staffer tells ThinkProgress that the reason Franken cut off Lieberman is because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) office has been asking all presiding chairs to enforce the 10-minute rule for both sides. Franken was simply following the direction of leadership.” That would have been my guess, anyway.