Friday, September 7, 2018

Cornyn makes Empty Threat (over stupid rule that shouldn't exist in the first place)

"A wicked man hardens his face,
But as for the upright, he establishes his way."
Proverbs 21:29

Oh good grief:
WASHINGTON – A fierce exchange between U.S. senators during a confirmation hearing for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh escalated Thursday morning to U.S. Sen. Cory Booker daring U.S. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn to move to oust him from the chamber.

Cornyn, a Texas Republican and senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, served as the lead spokesman for Republicans on the committee Thursday morning as multiple senators tangled over the confidentiality process within the committee. Cornyn began the day with a warning to Senate Democrats early to not release confidential committee documents from Kavanaugh's time on President George W. Bush's staff unless they had been cleared for public release.

Booker, a New Jersey Democrat and more junior member of the committee, quickly jumped into the fray by echoing previous Democratic complaints about Republican unwillingness to release those records in a timely manner, if at all. But Booker then went further. He announced his office would release a document pertaining to racial profiling as an act of "civil disobedience."
Blah, blah, blah.

Obviously, Cory Booker was a jackass.  Obviously, he's running for President.  Obviously, he was grandstanding.

Who cares?!?

But this quote from Cornyn is instructive:
“And I hope that the senator will reconsider his decision because no senator deserves to sit on this committee, or serve in the Senate in my view, if they decide to be a law unto themselves and willingly flout the rules of the Senate and the determination of confidentiality and classification," he added. "That is irresponsible and conduct unbecoming a senator."

At one point, Cornyn read aloud the Senate rules for ousting a colleague.
First things first: "Conduct unbecoming a Senator?!?"  Shut up.   That has to, by itself, be one of the most smug statements we've seen in awhile.

Next: Does anyone believe John Cornyn would actually follow through on a threat like this?!?

Looks like we have our answer:
And then it all appeared to be for naught.

A Cornyn spokesman emailed reporters later in the day, stating that the restrictions on the documents were lifted early Thursday morning, were made ready for release and senators were made aware of this development prior to the hearing.
So Cornyn caved in under a day.  That's not surprising.  What's mind boggling is that he would make that kind of threat in the first place when everybody knows he won't follow through.

But what's really galling is that such a rule exists in the first place.  While Booker's violation of the rule was self-serving and juvenile, his underlying point wasn't crazy.  With a few narrowly defined exceptions for national security, why should U.S. Senators get privileged access to documents that aren't available to the general public?!?

And, whatever your thoughts on racial profiling, it's certainly not a subject that falls under any proper definition of national security.

So, grandstanding though he may have been, Booker had a point.

Bottom Line: It's bad enough to make a threat when it's widely known you won't follow though.  But to do so over an obscure Senatorial privilege not available to regular citizens is exasperating.  Then again, that's a pretty good metaphor for John Cornyn.

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