Political hearing turns into reality TV

I once described my interest in politics as morbid. I compared politics to a car crash – the gruesome kind that stack up rubber neckers for miles.

Now, I will describe politics as a carnival of ridiculousness.

I call your attention to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s questioning of Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez in regard to the president’s possibly illegal wiretapping, carried out by the National Security Agency (NSA). I will avoid the issue itself for now. There was far too much hilarity offered at the hearing to waste space worrying about wiretapping.

The best one-liner of the evening goes to Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).

The committee had been in session for some hours. Gonzales was never sworn in because, obviously, a thing like taking an oath to tell the truth is a supreme waste of time. (The above comment, I would add, is not cynical in the least, as soon will be apparent).

Leahy began questioning Gonzalez. Mr. Attorney General regurgitated the same answers he had been using all day, as expected.

But suddenly, (and here comes the punch line) Leahy became my hero, at least temporarily. I’ll relate the events exactly and let you discover the true depth of the hilarity for yourself.

From the transcript of the hearing:

LEAHY: OK, well, let me ask you (Gonzales) this, then . If the president believed the (wiretapping) program was necessary and legally justified, why did he shut it down?

GONZALES: Sir, you’re asking me about the operations of the program.

LEAHY: Of course, I’m sorry, Mr. Attorney General, I forgot you can’t answer any questions that might be relevant to this.


There. Did you catch that? Better yet: the laughter was actually included in the transcript. That Patrick Leahy. He’s a funny, funny man.

In light of this, I now propose that we remove every politician from his or her post and mandate that they all live together on a Big Brother-style reality show.

Think of it! The comedic implications are beyond imagining. These guys can’t even figure out whether or not to swear in the Attorney General. Just picture them trying to divvy up chores. You could spend an entire episode watching them argue about who should get which bedroom.

Episode 1: Leahy vs. Gonzales. One-on-one. No scripts. No quorum calls.

Hell, I’d watch it.