This morning, Cassandra wrote about the childish argument between the junior Senator from Oklahoma and the President of the Teamsters Union. The Senator in question has a silly first name, Markwayne. Senator Mullin seems to have confused himself with Bobby Kennedy Sr. and Sean O’Brien with Jimmy Hoffa.
The RFK-Hoffa feud has become the stuff of legend. It was, however, about substance, not personalities. In Hoffa’s day, the Teamsters were mobbed up. It is widely believed that the mob killed Hoffa to prevent his return to power. His successor Frank Fitzsimmons was even closer to the wise guys than Hoffa. It was a political clusterfuck with neither heroes nor villains.
Mullin and O’Brien both have a bad case of arrested adolescence. Fortunately, there was a grownup in the room, the chair of the HELP committee, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
Bernie ordered the overgrown boys to stand down and shut up. He brought down the hammer on these two mooks. Did I say hammer? I meant gavel:
“In his initial response to O’Brien’s tweet, Mullin offered to fight him for charity. In Tuesday’s hearing, Mullin finished reading the tweet, then told O’Brien: “You want to run your mouth? We can be two consenting adults, we can finish it here.”
O’Brien said: “OK, that’s fine, perfect. I’d love to do it right now.”
Mullin said: “Then stand your butt up then.”
O’Brien said: “You stand your butt up.”
Mullin stood his butt up – and began to advance.
Sanders took action, shouting: “No, no, sit down! Sit down! You’re a United States senator!”
Mullin sat down.
The two men continued to squabble, Sanders banging his gavel.
O’Brien said: “Can I respond?”
Sanders said: “No, you can’t. This is a hearing. And God knows the American people have enough contempt for Congress, let’s not make it worse.”
Truer words have never been spoken. I really dig Bernie’s closing shot:
“If you have questions on any economic issues, anything, go for it,” he said. “We’re not here to talk about physical abuse.”
Thank you, Senator.
The only way this would have been better is if Sanders had told Mullin to put on his jacket and stop acting like Gym Jordan.
Longtime readers know that I didn’t support Bernie Sanders for president in either 2016 or 2020. But I’ve come to respect and admire him since his exit from the 2020 race: He understood that a second Trump term was an existential threat to our democracy and campaigned accordingly.
Since Biden’s election Sanders has been a team player who plays a constructive role in the Senate. Yesterday, his crankiness came in handy. He was the adult in the room.
Repeat after me: Fuck yeah, Bernie.
The last word goes to The Tubes: