Vermont Senator Pat Leahy is in the news this week. As Senate President Pro Tempore, he will be presiding over the second impeachment trial of the Kaiser of Chaos. He was unwell last night and taken to the hospital He’s doing better but when you’re 80 years old any health scare is alarming.
Pat Leahy has long been one of my favorite senators: he’s the epitome of the sort of people we want in elective office. He’s principled, honest, and liberal, which are all qualities I admire and value. We have something else in common: Pat Leahy is a Deadhead.
I did an internal search and was surprised that I’d never written about our shared passion for the Grateful Dead before. That ends today:
Leahy’s oldest son, who attended the University of Vermont, invited his father to join him and his friends at a Grateful Dead show many years ago. Leahy was smitten, and he and his wife, Marcelle, attended several of the band’s concerts.
“Marcelle and I would sit there on the stage right by the sound guy so we could see the whole show,” Leahy said. He recalled one concert in Maryland shortly before Garcia died when the front man asked the Leahys for their favorite Grateful Dead song; they told him “Black Muddy River.” The band hadn’t played that tune in years but chose it for their final encore that night, then Garcia bowed toward the couple when the song was done.
“We were both touched,” Leahy said, “but the crowd went wild. He said, ‘You know, we ought to put that back in our repertoire.'”
I wish Senator Leahy well as he presides over the Trump trial. He’ll have to be patient with Republican senators who argue that the trial shouldn’t even be happening since the defendant is former President* Pennywise. Of course, the then GOP majority refused to schedule the trial while Trump was still in office but that was too soon. Now they say it’s too late. In the great American tradition they want the insurrectionists to take the fall for the Impeached Insult Comedian’s actions. Never punish the CEO when you can punish the office boy has long been the GOP’s mantra.
Here’s to Pat Leahy. I know he’ll be a fair judge and make any rulings based on the law. Senate Republicans do not deserve to be treated well by the presiding officer, but they will be because that’s who Pat Leahy is. The senator is also a Deadhead.
The last word goes to the Dead with one of Senator Leahy’s favorite songs: