As Paul reported earlier, Jeff Sessions waltzed through his confirmation hearing today. The Democrats’ questioning was desultory, and none of the Democratic Senators laid a glove on the nominee. Only the inept Al Franken even tried. As Byron York put it, the anticipated “showdown fizzle[d].”
But perhaps the Democrats had the last laugh. All they had to do was send their talking points to the television networks, and they got the stories they were looking for, without having to deliver anything in the actual hearing. Kyle Drennen has the story at Newsbusters:
On Tuesday, the network morning shows were thrilled by the prospect of Democratic lawmakers testifying against Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions during the confirmation hearing for the Donald Trump cabinet pick.
On NBC’s Today, correspondent Hallie Jackson predicted a contentious hearing: “You are seeing a GOP blitz today to try to boost support for Jeff Sessions….Already, Sessions facing fire from gay rights advocates, worried about his record, and high-profile Muslim-Americans, like Khizr Kahn, with the toughest questions aimed at Sessions’ civil rights record.”
Jackson reached back three decades to promote left-wing partisan smears against him: “That’s Sessions in 1986, defending himself in his bid to become a federal judge. A bid derailed by accusations of racism. Senator Patrick Leahy voted against Sessions then and is still skeptical now.”
Wrapping up the slanted report, Jackson touted: “He is getting support, now from, for example, the Senate’s only African-American Republican [Tim Scott] and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. But Democratic Cory Booker plans to take the unprecedented step of testifying against a fellow sitting senator. Also on the witness list, Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis.”
ABC’s Good Morning America followed the Today show’s lead as correspondent Mary Bruce announced: “First up…Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General. You can expect his record on immigration and civil rights to take center stage. 31 years ago before the same panel Sessions was rejected for a federal judgeship over concerns he made racist remarks those are charges he has passionately denied…”
While she acknowledged that Sessions would “have his fellow senators testifying on his behalf,” like Jackson, Bruce highlighted: “…in an unprecedented move, Democratic lawmakers will be testifying against him.” She noted: “Senator Cory Booker says he has to speak out because Sessions’ comments are a call to conscience.”
It goes on and on. Politics must be a lot easier when all you have to do is mail your talking points to the networks, and they will do your smearing for you.
Of course, those who rely on television for their news won’t learn that just eleven months ago, Booker–who for some reason is now being treated as a sort of moral arbiter–said he was “blessed and honored to have partnered with Senator Sessions” in a civil rights initiative. The two men co-sponsored legislation that awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to “foot soldiers” of the 1965 Voting Rights Marches.
I assume that Cory Booker has a conscience of some sort, but it can’t be a very powerful one.