25 September 2013

Senator Ted from Calgary, Alberta, Canada  

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Ted is a Senator. Ted was born in Calgary, which is located in the province of Alberta, Canada. I have never met Ted.

Recently, Senator Ted gave a sort of filibuster on the floor of the Senate that attracted a lot of attention (fellow Roberts Rules of Orders nerds: a filibuster is technically a speech delaying action on a bill that could go on indefinitely--as long as the member is able to stand and speak--without interruption. Since he was not actually delaying action on that bill, he would have had to yield the floor when the measure came to a vote the next day.)

There is a lot of high emotional praise being bandied about regarding his time-consuming act. Rather than add to that, I'd like to present some of the good and not-so-good parts of his rhetorical odyssey here. So here is Senator Ted--without spin--in his own words:

"I intend to speak in opposition to ObamaCare, I intend to speak in support of defunding ObamaCare, until I am no longer able to stand...

There is a problem in Washington, and the problem is bigger than a continuing resolution. It is bigger than ObamaCare. It is even bigger than the budget.  The most fundamental problem and the frustration is that the men and women in Washington aren't listening...


Yet I will tell you, Madam President--you and I have both served in this institution some 9 months, not very long, but in the time we have been here we have spent virtually zero time even talking about jobs and the economy. It doesn't make the agenda. It apparently is not important enough for this body's time. We spent 6 weeks talking about guns, talking about taking away law-abiding citizens' Second Amendment rights, and we spend virtually no time talking about fundamental tax reform, about regulatory reform, about getting the economy going. And politicians wonder why it is that Congress is held in such low esteem. This is unfortunately a bipartisan issue, on both sides.


We need to do a better job of listening to the people. If the top priority of the American people is jobs and the economy, I am going to suggest the top priority of Congress should be jobs and the economy...


...In Washington, we pass million-dollar bills, billion-dollar bills no one has ever read, often without even voting on them. We call it unanimous consent. It is only unanimous because they don't let anyone know.


In Washington, we spend $2 trillion more than last year and then tell voters we saved money. The system is deliberately designed to hide what we are actually doing...


Americans have never been people who accept failure. Americans have never been people who accept impossibility. If we look to a ragtag bunch of colonists in the 18th century, the idea that we would stand up to Great Britain, the British Army--the most mighty military force on the face of the planet--was impossible. It can't be done. I guarantee that all of the pundits we see going on TV and intoning in deep baritone voices: This cannot be done--if we were back in the 18th century, they would be writing messages in dark ink and sending it by carrier pigeon, saying: This cannot be done. You can't stand up to the British Army. It can't be done. It is impossible. Accept your subjugation. Accept your taxation without representation. Accept that this is impossible...


...By any measure ObamaCare is a far less intimidating foe than those I have discussed, with the possible exception of the Moon. The Moon might be as intimidating as ObamaCare...


Why is Washington broken? Because you have 100 people, a significant number of whom, on a daily basis, tell their boss, tell their constituents: I am too busy for you...


This fight is not about any Member of this body. This fight is not about personality. Look, most Americans could not give a flying flip about a bunch of politicians in Washington. Who cares? You know, almost all of us are in cheap suits and have bad haircuts. Who cares? What the American people care about is their own lives. What the American people care about is giving their kids a better future...


Some time ago I tweeted a speech Ashton Kutcher gave. It was actually a terrific speech. It was a speech at one of those award shows where he talked about the value of hard work. One of the things I remember he said was this: In my life, opportunity looks an awful lot like hard work. That was a great message. It was a great message to young people...


Do you want to know why Congress is held in such low esteem? It is not that we don't pass enough laws; it is that the priorities of the men and women in this body are not the priorities of the men and women in America. We are not listening to America...


I told the men and women who are watching tonight if they were to tweet the hashtag `MakeDCListen,' which has been, over the course of this, trending No. 1, that I would share some of the tweets they sent...


We have avenues such as FOX News that get out content that the mainstream media won't cover in an effort to provide fair and balanced news. We have talk radio. God bless talk radio..."

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