Three (More) Stooges

Late Tuesday afternoon we got word that Speaker Mike Johnson had negotiated with the Democrats and thanks to the adults in the minority party, he had a new continuing resolution to keep the government open until after the holidays. Although it isn’t perfect and doesn’t address funding the wars in Ukraine and Israel, it’ll keep the government functioning until the next continuing resolution.

Congressional Republicans have largely given up all responsibility for running the government. Here’s how they spent their time with just 4 days left before a government shutdown.

House Republicans, freed from any job duties, spent their time performing for the cameras. At a GSA oversight hearing, Jared Moskowitz decided to bring up the loan that President Biden made to his brother years ago, which has been the focus of the investigation led by the committee chair, James Comer.

“It has come out in the public, that you also do business with your brother with potential loans,” Moskowitz continued. “And so, since you have framed that and manipulated that with the American people, that Joe Biden did something wrong when he wasn’t in office, I just would like to know if you would like to use some of my time—”

“I would love — I would love it,” Comer retorted. “You retweeted that story, completely false. I’ve never loaned my brother one penny. My father, who was a dentist, had some farmland. He died, and my brother couldn’t afford — he wanted to sell it, but he wanted to keep it in the family. So, I bought it from my brother. That story that you tweeted, also said I had a shell company. That is bullshit.”

The Florida Democrat later tried to reclaim his time, which then was followed by the two congressmen going back and forth in a fiery exchange.

“You look like a Smurf, here, just going around and all this stuff,” Comer at one point said to Moskowitz, seemingly referencing his blue suit and tie.

Just a grown-up doing his job.

Outside the hearing room, ousted Speaker Kevin McCarthy got physical with Tim Burchett, one of the representatives who was part of the ousting. It’s disheartening and annoying to walk through the specifics of adults acting like children, so I’ll let this image sum that story up:

And if you think that the Senate was the voice of peace and adults doing their jobs, you’d be wrong. Markwayne Mullin, an asshole from Oklahoma whom I only learned about a few weeks ago (when he was acting like a tool over something else) used his time at a hearing on labor issues to complain that Teamsters president, Sean O’Brien, had said some mean things about him on Twitter (always Twitter, never X), and it quickly became a chance to fight for real:

Bernie’s Sanders’ attempts to stop the fight immediately made me think of this:

I also immediately thought of the Sumner/Brooks affair back in 1856 and so did Mullin (although not by name), who had more to say later:

Of the incident, Mullin sought to normalize it—by citing the duel culture of pre-Civil War America.

“This isn’t anything new,” he insisted, claiming that Andrew Jackson “challenged nine people to a duel when he was president and he also knocked one guy out at a White House dinner.”

It’s unclear where Mullin obtained those figures.

“There have been canings before in the Senate, too,” Mullin continued. The most infamous one was in 1856 when pro-slavery Rep. Preston Brooks of South Carolina beat abolitionist Rep. Charles Sumner, who was seriously injured and did not return to the Senate full-time until three years later.

“Maybe we should bring some of that back, and, you know, keep people from thinking they are so tough, and make us sit at a table so we could actually work out our differences without poking at each other and want to run at cameras and call people names,” Mullin said.

“Maybe if we had some type of respect because we know there’s going to be some kind of consequences for your actions, then maybe we could move on with this, I don’t know, jargon that happens in this place.”

You know what I say? Maybe if we had some Republican politicians who would call out the stupidity and childishness of their fellow Republicans we would have fewer Republicans acting like this in the first place.

I’ll add that I thought of the Sumner/Brooks affair because my college US history professor taught us about it and then told us who pulled the 2 of them apart:  his ancestor, Asa Burlingame. Funny how some things stick in your head.

I am mocking these jerks because they deserve it, but I have to tell you that it’s increasingly less fun to mock them and increasingly more annoying to see these people we pay refuse to do the people’s work. The world is a serious and dark place right now and they are simply indifferent to all of it.

I should end with something somber, but this also immediately popped into my head when I read about the Mullin incident and so I’ll close with it:

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