By Will Chapple and Sally Newman
Hi dear everyone - today was our second day on the Hill hanging out with the senators. Will got here a couple nights ago and has been a great, and hardworking, and smart presence. As his new banner says, "Real Men Make Peace"!
We have a special place where you can catch Senators hustling by, and flag them down to talk to them. Senators are SO interesting. Did you know that that with a little training, you can identify them by posture and dress? And and...well, sex age and race, obviously. And did you know they have a hand-shaking reflex? Like a newborn baby will automatically grip a finger offered to them, in a life-preserving instinct, a senator will automatically shake your hand if you touch theirs. Neat.
Anyway, we don't want to give away all our special lobbying tips, but with some helpful guidance from Desiree, Will and Sally were able to catch and talk to a dozen plus senators. (at least Sununu, Burr, Hagel, Thune, Stabenon, Inhofe, Bond, Dorgin, DeMint, Nelson, Isakson and Lieberman). They were all varying degrees of rude, but we still got in some good eye contact and (very) brief conversations. Lieberman especially - on our first talk with him, he said he'd just gotten back from Iraq so we asked whether he ever left the Green Zone. We were met with sulky silence from the Senator and his five aides, and when we repeated the question one of them (not sure if it was an aide or Lieberman himself) laughed and snapped sarcastically, "Oh yeah! Waaaaay out of the Green Zone." Ouch. When the war supporters find leaving the Green Zone laughable, things ain't good.
Joe Lieberman: Disarmingly Cute. Alarmingly Militaristic.
When Lieberman came by a second time, Sally walked and talked with him for a few minutes. They spoke about the meaning of "success" in Iraq, which the Senator believes has to do with Iraqis governing themselves, and she spoke to him about how Iraqi legislators are so frustrated with overly aggressive and humiliating "security" enforcement by Americans that dozens of them walked out of Parliament last week. Then they talked about the effect of war on American veterans. (Sally: Six thousand Iraq veterans committed suicide in 2005. Lieberman: That's not true. Sally: CBS says it is). Anyway, when the aides started elbowing her and the Senator got tired - "OK, that's enough dialoguing!" she left him alone. Don't want to wear anyone out with facts. (sidenote: this was better than when Lieberman spoke at Sally's college a few years ago and she got bored and wandered off before he finished. Politicians are so much better one on one)
The rest of the day was senate hearings (sidenote: discussions in the Commerce committee on climate change are officially five or ten years outdated) and then evening discussions on tomorrow's Supreme Court habeas hearings and the administration's aggression against Iran (at Georgetown Law and George Washington University). Learning and lobbying, it's like the best Civics lesson EVAH.
Tomorrow - constituents breakfast with Baucus and Tester (Sally's from MT), more senate hearings, a Supreme Court vigil and fast, the Capitol Christmas Tree lighting, and then a potluck (and end-of-fast, for some of us at least).