Everyone knows the story of Nebraska Senator Roman Hruska's defense of Nixon failed Supreme Court nominee, racist G. Harrold Carswell in 1970. During the confirmation debate, George McGovern said that "I find his record to be distinguished largely by two qualities: racism and mediocrity." Unable to defend the long, ugly record of racism, Hruska stood up and blurted out his anti-Semitic defense: "Even if he were mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren't they, and a little chance? We can't have all Brandseises, Frankfurters and Cardozos." That pretty much sunk the nomination. Carswell later ran for the Senate and was badly defeated and spent the rest of his life causing men's rooms and being beaten up and arrested for trying to have oral sex with me urinating. Republicans are so weird.
Anyway, speaking of mediocre, Hruska was a fine example of a mediocre senator, and hardly the only one-- then or now. Now of course, we have so many, it would be hard to count them all. Some say Marco Rubio (R-FL) is the most mediocre member of the Senate. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) is beyond mediocre but John Boozman (R-AR) certainly would give Rubio a run for his money. And so would several Democrats, like Maggie Hassan (NH), Dianne Feinstein (CA), Jacky Rosen (NV), Frackenlooper (CO)... In a recent interview Rubio was asked if replans to run for president again. "You can be the world’s greatest surfer and you can show up to the beach with the best surfboard you can imagine. But if there’s no waves that day, there’s nothing you can do about it." Alan Grayson, who launched his campaign against Rubio today with the video below, noted that "This explains why Rubio missed all those votes: he was at the beach" and told me that it will be even worse for Rubio if there's a progressive wave next year.
This morning, Jonathan Chait's New York column, Joe Manchin’s Incoherent Case for Letting Republicans Destroy Democracy, knocks the self-contradictory Manchin for his "inscrutable whims" and calls on him to tell the voters what the hell he wants.
A few hours earlier, on MSNBC, Mehdi Hassan, very convincingly, made the mediocrity case for Joe Manchin, the conservative Democratic senator and GOP cat's paw from West Virginia:
The problem with Manchin's refusal to pass the legislation in a partisan manner "is it's already been done in a partisan manner," Hasan said. "At least 14 states have enacted new Republican laws this year, placing restrictions on the casting of ballots out of at least 389 bills as of mid-May in 48 states."
"Manchin thinks voting is fundamental. He says voting is fundamental. But he doesn't want to do what needs to be done to save it," he added.
...Meanwhile, Republicans in numerous states-- including Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia and Iowa-- have launched campaigns to enact new voting restrictions, which Democrats allege will make participating in elections hard for their voters.
"It's not partisanship, it's not both sides restricting voting or preventing the securing of elections, it's only Republicans. And it is not partisan to want to undo that damage," Hasan said. "Why should federal action be bipartisan when Republican action at a state level is totally partisan? It makes no sense."
The host goes on to challenge Manchin's intelligence.
"Maybe, as I've said on this show before, Manchin's just not very bright. Maybe simple math is beyond him. Maybe he doesn't understand what's happening at a state level. That may be the most charitable explanation," he said. "I would have loved to have asked him but he's repeatedly turned us down when it comes to an interview."
Manchin went to West Virginia University on a football scholarship but banged up his head and couldn't play. He graduated with a business degree and ran his family grocery store before being elected to the West Virginia legislature where he was... very mediocre.
This morning, Trump called into Fox Business News to praise Manchin for blocking the whole Democratic agenda. "It's a very important thing. He's doing the right thing, and it's a very important thing." Who recalls how often Trump used to excoriate McConnell for not abolishing the filibuster when he was occupying the White House?