Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, who was too racist to be confirmed as a federal judge by politically correct Senate Republicans back in 1986, has finally achieved his dream of really being in a position to turn back the clock on civil and voting rights after being confirmed as Attorney General by the Senate on an almost party-line vote of 52-47 Wednesday. He was just racist enough to win the nod from all the Senate’s Republicans plus one Democrat, Joe Manchin, if he even counts anymore. (Sessions himself, ever the Southern gentleman, voted “present.”)
Before the voting got underway, Democrats took to the floor of the Senate to let Mitch McConnell know exactly what they thought of his silencing Elizabeth Warren Tuesday for having the temerity to criticize a fellow Senator with the words of Coretta Scott King. A string of Senate Dems criticized McConnell for selectively enforcing a little-used Senate rule against ever saying anything bad about other senators, especially if Democrats object to an old bigot like Sessions. Several focused on McConnell’s “explanation” of why he had to quiet the uppity lady: “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” As the Washington Post notes, McConnell’s comment wasn’t without its up side:
Outside the Senate, liberals gleefully thanked McConnell for elevating Warren, one of the Democratic Party’s biggest stars, and handing her a slogan for a potential 2020 presidential bid.
Not to mention a snazzy Wonkette t-shirt design. But inside the Senate, Dems were careful not to be too grateful to McConnell for putting his foot in his beaked mouth, calling for McConnell to apologize and expressing outrage that he’d invoke a Senate rule to quiet criticism of a cabinet nominee who happened to also be a senator. Just to make sure the record included Coretta Scott King’s argument against Sessions, several Democrats read excerpts from her 1986 letter against his judicial nomination, which magically was not a violation of the rules when read by boys. Somehow, Sessions survived the brutal historical dressing-down, in which King said “Mr. Sessions has used the awesome power of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters” and warned that a federal judgeship would allow Sessions to pursue “with a federal prosecution what the local sheriffs accomplished twenty years ago with clubs and cattle prods.”gutting of the Voting Rights Act was “good news for the South” and insisted, “If you go to Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, people aren’t being denied the vote because of the color of their skin.” He simply doesn’t think there’s a problem, because for heaven’s sake, Republicans do keep getting elected, now don’t they? Sessions has never shown any inclination toward protecting voting rights, except of course for fluffing his resume by claiming to have been more involved in civil rights cases than he actually had been. So at least he’s vaguely aware that trying not to look too racist is important, or at least was before the Trump Era. Once he’s sworn in, for all we know, he may add Pepe the Frog to the official seal of the Civil Rights Division.
Anyway, Sessions won, Warren is now the frontrunner for 2020, and Mitch McConnell wants everyone to know that with this extremely narrow confirmation of Jeff Sessions, and Tuesday’s sad spectacle of allowing Betsy DeVos to become Secretary of Dismantling the Department of Education, the Senate has now “come together” and overcome all that nasty partisanship, and now it’s time to stop all the divisiveness and vitriol that has been such a problem since that Kenyan fellow was president, the end.