QUOTE OF THE DAY…. I don’t usually think of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D) of Rhode Island as an especially aggressive lawmaker, at least rhetorically. I’ve frequently been very impressed with Whitehouse, and appreciate his first-class intellect, but he’s never seemed like a top choice to deliver a real stemwinder on the Senate floor.

But yesterday, Whitehouse didn’t hold back, blasting Senate Republicans for their “desperate, no-holds-barred mission of propaganda, falsehood, obstruction and fear.” He warned the GOP of a “day of judgment” by the electorate, which the senator said leaves Republicans “terrified.”

Whitehouse added, “When it turns out there are no death panels, when there is no bureaucrat between you and your doctor, when the ways your health care changes seem like a good deal to you, and a pretty smart idea, when the American public sees the discrepancy between what really is, and what they were told by the Republicans, there will be a reckoning. There will come a day of judgment about who was telling the truth.”

I’m almost tempted to ask, “Can I get a witness?”

Jillian Rayfield noted that Whitehouse “began his monologue by quoting 1950s intellectual Richard Hofstadter, warning that a right-wing minority could create ‘a political environment in which the rational pursuit of our well-being and safety would become impossible.’” The senator went on to say, “The malignant and vindictive passions that have descended on the Senate are busily creating just such a political climate.”

(It appears that some on the right are throwing a fit about the speech, but their complaints are misguided.)

First, Senate Republicans turn Evan Bayh into a proud Democratic partisan, then Senate Republicans turn the usually-staid Sheldon Whitehouse into a Scripture-citing firebrand.

Works for me.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.