Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Fun With CSPAN

One of the benefits of watching long hours of CSPAN is the comedy that usually transpires. It never fails, if you watch it for a sufficient period of time, strange things happen. This goes for call-in shows, press conferences, speeches, hearings, parliamentary procedural debates, whatever they happen to be showing. I suppose it's a function of the human condition. We are all imperfect beings, subject to error. And politicians seem to be even more gaffe prone than average. Thanks to the miracle of CSPAN's video library, here are some things I saw this week.

From the House Session on December 20, the distinguished representative from Houston, TX takes to the well of our nation's congress to deliver the following urgent address:

Quiz time, what was Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee talking about in this speech?

A) what we have to look forward to next Christmas when using the new compact fluorescent bulb Christmas tree lights

B) the need for a $15 billion program to fight the scourge of Christmas tree fires breaking out across the country, but disproportionately in Democratic districts

C) the dire consequences of Republican attempts to extend the payroll tax holiday from 2 months to 12 months

Unfortunately for the Republic, the answer is C. All that fiery, violent rhetoric in support of a shifty procedural maneuver that will solve the problem for all of 60 days. Hyperbole thy name is Sheila Jackson Lee. And she shall now be known as Sheila Jackson Hyperbole.

Next, a short clip from a triumphant press conference with the House Democratic caucus on December 23. Yes Virginia, they saved Christmas from the inferno planned by the GOP and reduced that extension of the tax cut from 12 months to 2 months. While the entire press conference is a spectacle to behold (how they keep a straight face while claiming to look out for the average tax payer by truncating the tax holiday is a wonder), the ending of 85-year-old Rep. John Dingell's statement was of particular note. As I watched this LIVE on Friday morning (9:30 AM central time), it was the cause of a minor coffee spit take.

And good night nurse! Either the distinguished gentleman from Michigan doesn't recognize that flaming orb in the sky as being associated with daytime hours or he's heading off to bed after an exhausting 2 hour day at the office. Ladies and gentleman, your ruling class.

Finally, a quick one from a recent Mitt Romney Town Hall Meeting in Bethlehem, NH. During the meet and greet before his remarks, he glad-handed an older gentleman who had this observation on Romney's wife:

And that's why Mitt Romney will be the GOP nominee for President. In response to a guy calling his wife a "young one" (a subtle shot at Romney's age), he responds with a congenial "yes I do, thanks for coming". Whereas, if you asked a sharp tongued devil like Newt Gingrich this question, you'd get a response like "compared to you gramps, Betty White is a young one."