Human Gut

The Case of the Gutless Senators

Throughout much of today, large numbers of Americans have been watching the televised coverage of the Judiciary Committee of the Senate conduct hearings featuring Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused him of sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager. The purpose of the hearings is to aid the Committee in deciding whether to recommend that President Trump’s nomination of Judge Kavanaugh for the vacant seat on the Supreme Court be approved. 

At every previous such hearing, the Senators themselves have asked their own questions of the nominee and of any other witness called to appear before them. But not today. During Dr. Ford’s hearing, the Republican senators were apparently struck with some terrible disability that apparently made it impossible for them to communicate with her. It must have been a terrible contagion, because not one of them was able to push through it when the time came for him to ask his questions. 

But it must have been one of those illnesses that comes in waves, like some sort of gastro-intestinal infection. For Senator Grassley did somehow manage to communicate with Dr. Ford at the opening of her hearing. He even managed to ask her some questions about coffee and appropriate times for adjournment. So apparently he wasn’t allergic to questions. He and his colleagues just lacked intestinal fortitude. 

So what viewers saw during the morning hearing was some peculiar game of “pass the parcel” without the musical accompaniment. A specially-hired (female) prosecutor asked Senator Grassley’s questions for him, then we moved to Senator Dianne Feinstein, and then back to the prosecutor for her to ask questions on behalf of Senator Orrin Hatch. This is the same Senator Hatch, by the way, whose own website declares that he “has long been on the front lines of legislative battles.” Today, however, he was struck quite dumb. Not so much front lines as backed out. 

And so we went on: next, a Democrat Senator, then back to the prosecutor for Republican questions. Not one of the poor Republican chaps could rouse himself sufficiently to do what we have long come to expect: actually ask their own questions for themselves. 

One might have thought that it would have been more appropriate to have postponed the hearings until the poor souls recovered. But, miraculously, they all returned after lunch with their powers of speech restored to talk to Judge Kavanaugh without the aid of their prosecutorial nurse. 

Mind you, having witnessed, during Judge Kavanaugh’s hearing, the explosion formerly known as Senator Lindsey Graham, I did wonder whether she had slipped him something naughty. Better out than in, I suppose. It’s just a shame that he did that in public. That’s the trouble with severe infections of the gastro-intestinal tract.