Amy Klobuchar, giant of the Senate

Former funnyman and current Minnesota Senator Al Franken titled his best-selling memoir Al Franken, Giant of the Senate. He posed for the book’s self-mocking cover. The title and the photograph make a small concession to self-awareness, or to the public relations value of pretending self-awareness, but he deserves credit for the thought. It’s a joke.

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar pretends no such self-awareness. With the active assistance of her hometown newspaper and its equally braindead counterparts on the national stage, Klobuchar holds herself out as a giant of the Senate. She has a certain genius for avoiding outspoken stands on important issues and leading the way on trivial matters calculated to garner broad public support. If she secures a favorable headline or two in the process, it’s no coincidence. It is the true object of her efforts.

Senator Klobuchar is a reliable vote for the Democratic Party line, but she is quiet about it. She doesn’t want to upset anybody. She wants the reputation of a problem-solver who is above nasty partisanship. She wants to be deemed a giant of the Senate, without the irony.

Klobuchar wants more than anything else to preside over an era of good feelings — of good feelings about Amy Klobuchar. Thus she has remained resolutely silent about her purely partisan activities to block the confirmation of Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras from consideration by the Senate and to obtain the appointment by President Trump of a partisan Democrat as United States Attorney for Minnesota.

Where is the Star Tribune on this story? The Star Tribune is in Senator Klobuchar’s pocket.

Senator Klobuchar attaches her name to many bills that don’t amount to much, such as the proposed 2015 bill to resolve the crisis of the detergent pod. It represents the reductio ad absurdum of the vacuity to which she has reduced herself in the service of self-promotion. Klobuchar relies on such vacuity to present herself as the true giant of the Senate.

On Tuesday Senator Klobuchar appeared on the Comedy Channel’s Daily Show. “Daily Show host Trevor Noah gave [her] a gushing welcome Tuesday night,” according to the Star Tribune’s Maya Rao. So you know it must have been bad (video below). Warning: Viewing may induce nausea.

Noah pointed out that Senator Klobuchar had been ranked as the most productive senator in terms of getting bills passed into law. That’s supposed to be a good thing.

Noah had no idea what he was talking about. He was relying on data compiled by Medill News Service from the tracking website GovTrack for the 114th Congress (Jan 6, 2015-Jan 3, 2017). Klobuchar was found to have sponsored or co-sponsored 27 bills that had been enacted into law in the session.

Klobuchar touted her accomplishment in a December 2016 press release. The Star Tribune dutifully followed up in a story by Allison Sherry entirely lacking in analysis.

In terms of “productivity,” Franken ranked right up there with Klobuchar. Perhaps they are both giants of the Senate.

Klobuchar earned recognition with 27 bills that she sponsored or co-sponsored. They are set forth here. Five of the 27 bills concern naming or renaming federal facilities. The late 18-term Eighth District Congressman Jim Obersrtar looms large in Klobuchar’s accomplishment, such as it is. Most of the rest of the bills carrying Klobuchar’s name amount to little more than nothing. Even so, Klobuchar’s bill to resolve the crisis of the detergent pod apparently didn’t make it. (She claimed credit for action taken by Procter & Gamble on its own.)

Trevor Noah’s show is a mainstay of the Comedy Channel. It is supposed to be funny. Noah nevertheless misplaced the humor in Klobuchar’s legislative distinction.

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