To cleanse the palate, are we sure we want sticks being used in the Senate? That hasn’t worked out so well in the past.
It didn’t work out so well this time either.
Coons and King were part of a group of at least two dozen senators who began meeting late last week in the office of Sen. Susan Collins to broker a deal to stave off a shutdown — much like the effort that the Maine Republican led in 2013.
To try and keep the peace, Collins wouldn’t let any senator in the room talk unless they were holding a “talking stick” — which one aide later said was a Maasai leadership stick that Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) gave Collins a few years ago. At one point, Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee forcefully tossed the stick toward Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia after Warner interrupted him, nearly shattering a glass elephant belonging to Collins, according to two people briefed on the throw. After that incident, Collins suggested using a small rubber ball, and Alexander also brought his own basketball “because it’d be safer than a stick,” an aide said.
A “talking stick” is a cutesy way to lighten the mood during tense bipartisan negotiations … annnnnnd also a potential murder weapon given the state of relations between the two parties and within the two parties, frankly. Had sticks been available circa 2013, there’s no way Ted Cruz and Mitch McConnell would have escaped without head injuries. Cory Booker looked like he was ready for a talking sword, frankly, at that DHS hearing last week.
As innocuous as this is, I wonder how many people who watched the segment on CNN this morning sit through endless meetings day after day at work and manage to communicate civilly with others without needing a gimmick to reduce the rancor and make sure everyone present can he heard. It’s called “being an adult.” You would think The World’s Greatest Deliberative Body (giggle) could swing it. Exit question: An anarchic parliament run by children really should use a conch instead, no?