June 27, 2007

Watching The Sausage Being Made From Clay Pigeons

I'm watching C-SPAN 2 at the moment, a fascinating exercise in official boredom. Today, however, the lunacy outweighs the ennui. As Michelle Malkin notes, the clay pigeon had to fly back to its coop this afternoon after a rushed reading by Senate staffers found a plethora of mistakes and at least one serious omission. That leaves the Senate debating a bill that no one has read, and that no one has put in its final form, which means that everyone on the floor has blathered about nothing at all. It's almost as ironic as Seinfeld -- and we're paying for it.

Brian Darling appeared on CQ Radio yesterday to talk about the outrageous back-room maneuvering this bill has taken already. Today he e-mails Kathryn Jean Lopez at The Corner to revise and extend those remarks:

Someone once said not to watch how sausage or legislation are made. Today especially I prefer to be at the sausage factory.

As if the Senate floor situation could get any worse, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s staff is now rewriting the Clay Pigeon amendment behind closed doors. It is the intent of the Majority Leader to bring this new unread Amendment up without the Republicans seeing the language. Yesterday Senator Reid did not have his massive 373 page amendment ready when he started debate on it and mistakes were made in the initial drafting. This fact was not discovered until Republicans objected to waiving the reading of the bill, and the Senate Clerk had nothing to read. Shockingly, Reid scrambled around, put the floor in morning business for a few hours, and then allowed Kennedy’s staff make final changes to the amendment. The language was finally made available around 5:30 pm and Reid “graciously” gave Republicans the night to go through it before moving to it this morning.

This morning Republicans announced that Reid’s amendment did not include the Sessions EITC provision in the touchback section, despite the fact that all previously passed amendments were supposed to be incorporated in the bill and the Clay Pigeon amendment. This oversight is the only mistake so far found, yet there may be other mistakes and intentional omissions in the 373 page amendment. This morning Reid put the floor back in morning business and sent his staff off to rewrite the mega amendment once again. Today, “the most deliberative body in the world,” is left to debate legislation that they do not have a copy of…

Thus far, the finest deliberative body has voted on two amendments, one from Kay Bailey Hutchison and the other from James Webb. The former has been tabled, which in the US means it's dead, and the latter appears well on its way there. Hutchison voted against cloture yesterday, but Webb voted to bring the bill to the floor.

Webb lost on his amendment, 79-18. Will that move him to a Nay on the next cloture vote?


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Comments (20)

Posted by FredWM | June 27, 2007 12:50 PM

If it's not even printed, how does that effect its supporter's position that it really is a wonderful bill and its critics have never bothered to understand it properly?

Posted by AnonymousDrivel | June 27, 2007 12:59 PM

Somehow we're supposed to trust this institution to act with integrity and honesty to represent the best interests of the states and the nation?

This isn't sausage. This is carnage. They're killing representative democracy.

Perhaps someone will submit an amendment that is just a blank sheet of paper, and they can "represent" their constituencies by voting on that. Just another useful parlor trick to highlight the shenanigans we're all coming to appreciate... appreciate just enough to welcome one hundred new employees in 2008.

What a spectacle and a shame.

Posted by AnonymousDrivel | June 27, 2007 1:07 PM

Oops. Technically, not one hundred new employees. That would be wishful thinking. Let's start with thirty-three in '08 and go on from there.

Posted by Immolate | June 27, 2007 1:29 PM

The next cloture vote is the one that matters. The odds of the bill passing muster at cloture but being voted down by a simple majority seem ridiculous.

I understand that, if the bill is killed in the House, the offending senators will probably get away with their betrayal with most people. But they won't get away with it with everyone.

But that puts me in a quandry. I voted for Martinez, knowing that this acorn didn't fall far from the tree (or the Bush if you prefer), and that he would support any immigration bill that was proposed if it benefited and was favored by his south-florida constituency, regardless of how his conservative voters felt about it. Do I punish him because he did as I knew all along that he would do? I do intend to support any insurgent primary candidate worth his salt that runs against him, but you know how that works with an incumbent--it doesn't. So do I vote for him anyway?

I've never been one to throw out the baby with the bathwater, but what else can I do to express my displeasure? And how does that square with my earlier vote that helped elect him? Bah... it's like a pewp sammitch.

Posted by onlineanalyst | June 27, 2007 1:46 PM

KLo at "The Corner" has an even more dismaying update:

The Grand Bargainers are playing "hide the ball." We are not seeing language - they are trying to move this thing through without allowing full review and debate. 373 pages thrown together yesterday - AND AILA, a liberal advocacy group, gets to see it before fellow Republicans? What a slap in the face...

Now - the Grand Bargainers are trying to roll through "tabling votes" to make some attempt to show strength in support of / or in opposition to various amendments to keep their deal "cobbled together."

When we get to cloture tomorrow - any Senator who votes in support of Cloture will be voting in favor of this sham process and against fellow Senators who are trying to shine light on this bill. There is no excuse for votes in favor of this process - it is undemocratic, it is unfair and it tells you everything you need to know about the strength of this bill if light is allowed to shine on it...

Posted by Bill Faith | June 27, 2007 2:16 PM

I just added a link to my 2006.06.27 "No Illegal Left Behind" Roundup , where I express my feelings on the matter in terms that would get my comment deleted if I posted them here and call for the creation of a Red Dog Republican movement.

Posted by Nate | June 27, 2007 2:37 PM

So where can one move to live in a true democratic republic these days? You know, where the elected representatives actually represent the will of the people (or at least pretend to)?

I just downloaded the forms I need to become a former republican, not, apparently, that anyone cares. Screw these bastards.

Posted by Papa Ray | June 27, 2007 2:51 PM

Tomorrow, the American public will get to see if the Republic's Senators are going to do what is right or what is wrong for this Nation.

The most terrible thing about this crisis is that the majority of Americans know what is happening, yet can't seem to make their representives understand that it is wrong, totally wrong.

Our Senators are treating us (and even saying) that we are nothing more than ignorant bigots and racists and to leave the business of these United States to them, because they know best.

I'm sure that there have been crisis in our government in the past that were as bad as this one, but this is the first I believe where the American public was so informed and involved.

Yet, that fact appears to not make any difference.

I guess the only way for the American public to make a difference is at the ballot box.

Remember the names, how they vote, what they have said.

Then deliver them a message via your vote that they will have to understand.

Teach them and those that follow a lesson.

Papa Ray
West Texas

Posted by The Plumber | June 27, 2007 3:11 PM


If one an handle less amenities: former Soviet-bloc countries. They're more "American" than most Americans.

Posted by Jack Bauer | June 27, 2007 4:59 PM

I keep hoping that this is simply an episode of 24 where they are doing the "kidnap the family to coerce someone to do bad things" plot. Should we check and see if the Amestiests' families are safe? Perhaps inspect Lindsey Graham's ear for an earpiece that is sending him instructions from his family's captors??

Because that is the only reason I can think that these GOP Senators are so willing to go along with this concerted effort to spit in our faces.

Posted by NahnCee | June 27, 2007 5:57 PM

Remember back in 1957 when they were trying to desegregate the schools in Little Rock, Eisenhower sent in the National Guard to stand guard over the black students integrating white schools. And again in 1963, Bobby Kennedy acting as Attorney General did the same thing in Alabama.

During those episodes, the American government was FORCING a certain segment of American voters to do something they had absolutely no intention nor desire to do. The government in both cases was saying in effect, "we know what is best here, and we *insist* that you American voters obey the law(s) that we have passed ... or we will shoot you".

I don't know how long it would have taken for America to have integrated even as far as we have come if the government had not INSISTED and bullied us into doing "the right thing". I've considered whether this immigration issue is another example of the government forcing us to do the "right thing" even though 80% of us are opposed to it. It doesn't seem like it, though, because (1) there is no current law that Americans are breaking in opposing illegal immigration, (2) there *is* current law that the illegals are breaking by doing what they are doing, and (3) the government is busy making up some new laws which currently don't exist to force the rest of us to their will.

I think if our government is blithely willing to overlook the law, that should be a sign that we can overlook them too. Citizen reaction could include refusal to pay taxes, refusal to buy car insurance, refusal to cooperate with the police, and starting to take potshots at anyone named Jose just on general principles.

I seriously think the lawmakers in DC have not thought through the consequences of THEIR refusal to follow our mutually agreed-upon laws, especially since the only thing we can all be certain of is that there are more guns in America than there are Mexicans.

Posted by AnonymousDrivel | June 27, 2007 6:43 PM

More insights into the "thinking" of a senator. I just don't know where to begin to adequately describe the shortcomings and failure elucidated from Hannity's interview.

This country is in trouble.

Ignorance is bliss, so they say. I'll say it's dangerous. Thankfully, I guess, an increasingly informed public has new tools to keep an eye on these shysters. To know that such a noble creation as the Senate could operate the way it does with the current inhabitants filling its aisles and performing at its current level of dishonesty and ineptitude is a travesty. Actually, knowing about it isn't the travesty. That's the silver lining. The travesty is that the contemporary process and players exist.

Posted by Mike | June 27, 2007 8:14 PM

It was Mark Twain who said that anyone who appreciates the law or sausage should never watch either being made.

Posted by grognard [TypeKey Profile Page] | June 27, 2007 9:22 PM

Mike, it was Bismarck that made the remark.

Posted by Mark | June 27, 2007 9:23 PM

What a bunch of losers. No wonder their approval rating is 14%. In touch with the American public my arse.

Posted by Rose | June 28, 2007 12:44 AM

Posted by: Immolate at June 27, 2007 1:29 PM

When women clean house in the Spring, they throw out a lot of things that are no longer useful, may never have been useful, in fact, which looked like the best idea AT THE TIME THEY WERE BROUGHT INTO THE HOUSE.

But when it is time to clean house, you better clean - or else in a short period of time, there won't even be a path left to walk inside.

Posted by Rose | June 28, 2007 12:50 AM

Posted by: Immolate at June 27, 2007 1:29 PM

And do not mistake a load of mud or tar for the baby, and try to keep the mud.

Posted by Rose | June 28, 2007 12:56 AM

Michelle Malkin:
6:30pm update. Tom Coburn on the floor. Typing as fast as I can here:

“We have failed to instill the confidence in the American people in the Congress that we are about doing what is in the best long-term interest of our country. It’s not about being against immigration or for immigration. It’s not about being against or for an ethnic group. It’s not about liberal or conservative. It’s about the worry the American people have about the concept we call liberty…There’s worry that the thing that gives us liberty, which is the rule of law, is somehow being tinkered with in a way that undermines our confidence and security in what the American Dream is all about.”

Couldn’t say it better myself. ( said Michelle)

Posted by Rose | June 28, 2007 1:11 AM

Posted by: NahnCee at June 27, 2007 5:57 PM

There is no cause on the planet so just that it justifies resorting to DICTATORSHIP to get it through - our founding fathers said RESORT TO EDUCATING THE MASSES.

Any cause that is willing to lend itself to the methodology of Dictatorship has just lost ALL credibility.

Even if the whole majority are totally wrong, if that course is what they agreed upon, it is the right course for THEM.

Leadership have a responsibility to guide the people to CHOOSE to do right. Much of the segregation was NOT chosen by the MAJORITY, either - but was the result of the INTIMIDATION of the community by a few beligerants, i.e. KKK Democrat members.
Democrats were furious at Bobby Kennedy and his upstart ways bringing Civl Rights into the party, and if you go find old comic albums from that generation, it is perfectly clear.

NOBODY thought JFK and Bobby had greater enemies in America than the Democrat party.

Posted by Herkeng | June 28, 2007 6:26 PM

What happened to all the postings from this morning? We were discussing this prior to 12:50 PM. They seemed to have vanished.

Herkeng USAF (Ret)
2nd generation Legal American