As Republicans used their control of the Senate to waste the month of June on a series of pointless debates — over gay marriage, flag burning, the estate tax, and the like — their Democratic Party colleagues countered with the one tool left in their arsenal: sarcasm.
When one Democratic senator had the floor during one of these ridiculous sessions, another would rise to ask if his or her distinguished colleague would yield for a question. Certainly, the first senator would say.
Here are some of those questions from the past month — no answers necessary.
Henry Reid (D-NV): “I ask my friend, he being involved in Government in one way or another most of his adult life, does he remember the Republicans at one time standing for States rights?”
_asked of Richard Durbin (D-IL) , June 6, during Marriage Protection Amendment debate
Durbin: “Isn’t it interesting, I ask the Senator from Nevada, that when [Republicans] were facing all this grief over Tom DeLay and ethical questions, they raised the Terri Schiavo issue, and now we find them raising the gay marriage issue because polls are so low and the election draws near?”
_asked of Reid, June 6, during Marriage Protection Act debate
Edward Kennedy (D-MA): “Would the Senator not agree with me that the time for talking has ended and the time for action ought to be now?”
_asked of Reid, June 26, during immigration-reform debate
Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ): “Is the Senator also aware ... that if we weren’t busy giving tax breaks to the very wealthiest among us, to people who don’t need the tax breaks and often don’t even want them, we would have the funding necessary to do research on all kinds of things?”
_ asked of Tom Harkin (D-IA), June 28, during morning business (open debate)
Durbin : “I ask the Senator from Iowa, would we have a better chance calling the embryonic stem cell issue to the floor if we made it a constitutional amendment? It appears those are very popular.”
_asked of Harkin, June 28, during morning business (open debate)
The Republicans finally caught on at the end of June, when Judd Gregg (R-NH) had the floor on June 28, speaking on federal budget reform:
Durbin: “Will the Senator yield for a question?
Gregg: “No, I won’t yield. I think I have heard a significant amount from the other side of the aisle that has been irrelevant, inaccurate, and incorrect.”