Sen. Michael Bennet is nothing if not press savvy. Most of his press coverage, it seems to me, has been about the dysfunction and disappointment of the institution he so eagerly joined and not about any accomplishments he’s made while a member.
Not to be distracted by anything substantial he could do between now and his (presumed) attempt at getting reelected in 2016, Bennet has gone on the bipartisan offensive again to mildly criticize his senate peers, to try to seem like he’s doing something productive, and to give more credence to his guiding philosophy that “both sides do it” when it comes to political mis- and malfeasance.
The Denver Post’s Mark Matthews gladly serves up the dish, and helps Cory Gardner not look like a nut at the same time:
On Thursday, Democrat Michael Bennet and Republican Cory Gardner plan to introduce legislation that would impose strict rules — including the possibility of arrest — on the Senate anytime one or more federal agencies were thrown into shutdown mode.
It’s a situation that nearly occurred this year with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and one that impacted the entire federal government in October 2013.
Under the Bennet-Gardner bill, the Senate would be forced to take attendance roughly once an hour — every day — between 8 a.m. and midnight for as long as a shutdown continued.
The rationale, said Bennet and Gardner, was to keep lawmakers in town to negotiate.
“If someone’s idea is to grind the government to a halt, then members of Congress ought to be darn well sure they’re finding a solution together,” Gardner said. “You can’t do it by flying home. You can’t do it by going to your respective political corners. You can only do it when you’re here together, at work.”
And Gardner says he doesn’t really want to grind government to a halt as part of the majority party in both houses with just that recent and destructive record. It just kinda happened. So that’s how the Post will portray it.
And what else?
For more than two centuries, the Senate has had the ability to compel attendance, but the Colorado legislators’ bill would make clear that an arrest warrant is the penalty for skipping town during a shutdown. “It’s using existing procedure,” Gardner said. “(But) this procedure is a little bit of a hammer.”
So it uses existing procedure. Anyone who’s watched CSPAN for more than 5 minutes is likely to have heard “I call for a quorom” from someone on the floor of the senate. And because Bennet or Gardner clearly do not want to be accountable for holding their fellow senators accountable, they issue a press release instead and pretend they’ll pass a law to do what they won’t do while they’re standing on the floor.
It’s a dirty job, but someone should be willing to do it; if they want to be bipartisan so bad, they could take turns!
A showy bill
Without question, the bill is a bit showy.
But both lawmakers said they’ve been working on the legislation for months — and that aides have spent hours with the parliamentarian to ensure they got the rules right.
So admittedly it’s a showy bill. Destined for failure. Not gonna happen.
But the Denver Post writes it up. And Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner get to be bipartisan while pretending both sides are threatening a government shutdown and both sides are equally responsible for the current dysfunction in our government.
Well, both sides, no, all sides, did it in this case: they perpetuated a lie with some of the most lazy and irresponsible governing and reporting possible. And Michael Bennet gets a headline once again while doing nothing for his stature, and nothing for the people he represents.