Thursday, October 21


I shouldn't have done it. Here I was in a great mood, cruising home after a long but satisfying day at work, and I had to go and turn on the radio. It was set for a Dallas right-wing talk radio station, and good old Sean Hannity was on, lambasting Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) for her incredibly rude and ignorant Democratic response to his interview with VP Chain-gang, which Landrieu characterized as "an infomercial for the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign." Hey Mary, good shot! Hannity was his usual unbearably indignant, hypocritically oily self, citing Landrieu's "cheap shots -- I wasn't going to take that from a Senator with a total lack of any legislative record," he told a call-in listener. "Name one bill she has ever authored and seen passed!" Since this is exactly the same charge often lobbed at John Kerry by Republican operatives, let's take a look at just what Senators are elected to do.

A short and simple tutorial on the duties of Senators:

The primary duty of Congress is to write, debate, and pass bills, which are then passed on to the president for approval. Other congressional duties include investigating pressing national issues and supervising the executive and judicial branches.

In addition to the duties cited, the Senate also has special jobs that only it can perform. It must:

* Confirm or disapprove any treaties the President drafts.
* Confirm or disapprove the Presidential appointments, such as the Cabinet, officers, Supreme Court justices, and ambassadors.
* Hold a trial for a Government official who commits a crime against the country.

Authoring legislation is relatively simple, given the staff resources that are provided to Senators. SEEING IT THROUGH PASSAGE is much more difficult and depends upon many factors, especially and particularly bi-partisan support, which has surely been in short measure since the Repugs took over the House. Kerry, as we know, has excelled in the investigation responsibilities of the Senate, getting to the bottom of the Iran-Contra scandals in which Reagan administration officials were proven to be trafficking with Islamic terrorists and Central American death squads, and spearheading the investigation and ultimate downfall of the giant banking institution BCCI, which laundered terrorist funding money (his prosecutorial experience paying off, hey?).

Wow. I just popped over to Media Matters For America, which has a summary of the interview. Read it and throw up.


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