WHEN MCCAIN’S BAD MEMORY AND MCCAIN’S HYPOCRISY COLLIDE…. In a memorable exchange yesterday, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) was pontificating on the Senate floor when he his allotted time elapsed. He asked Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who was presiding over the Senate at the time, for an additional minute. Franken, somewhat sheepishly, declined.
As it turns out, Franken had been instructed by the Senate leadership to run a tight ship yesterday, and not let senators exceed their allotted times. It wasn’t personal or ideological — Franken was following the leadership’s instructions because of a very limited, pre-holiday schedule.
These pesky nuances (i.e., reality) are apparently lost on conservatives. Fox News bashed Franken today. And Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) took to the floor yesterday to express his outrage.
“I’ve been around here 20-some years. First time I’ve ever seen a member denied an extra minute or two to finish his remarks…. I just haven’t seen it before myself. And I don’t like it. And I think it harms the comity of the Senate not to allow one of our members at least a minute. I’m sure that time is urgent here, but I doubt that it would be that urgent.”
As it too often the case, McCain didn’t know what he was talking about. He was complaining without knowing about the instructions from the leadership, and worse, he made it seem as if Franken was the first to presiding officer to deny a senator additional time when other senators had also been denied additional time earlier that same day.
More to the point, Faiz Shakir found this great example.
Unfortunately, McCain’s memory is suffering. In fact, McCain has engaged in the very same behavior that he was criticizing Franken for yesterday.
On October 10, 2002 — just ahead of the looming mid-term elections — the Senate rushed a debate on a war authorization giving President Bush the power to use force against Iraq. The resolution ultimately passed the Senate after midnight on an early Friday morning by a vote of 77-23.
During the course of the frenzied floor debate, then-Sen. Mark Dayton (D-MN) spoke in favor of an amendment offered by Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) that would have restricted Bush’s constitutional powers to wage war against Iraq. After a minute and a half, Dayton ran of time.
When Dayton requested 30 additional seconds, McCain refused. It wasn’t personal; McCain was “strictly adhering to the rules” because of time restrictions.
McCain, in other words, lashed out at Franken for doing something routine — which McCain himself has also done.