Santorum: Everyone should calm down about rebuke of Warren

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No one needs to explain the rules of the Senate to Rick Santorum — and the former two-term Senator insists that no one needed to explain them to Elizabeth Warren, either. “Rule XIX was brought up when I was on the floor going after some folks,” Santorum told the panel on CNN’s New Day, which included fellow new-hire Jen Psaki, former White House spokesperson. ““The whole reason for these rules is to keep the temperature down.”

So what did Santorum do to earn a rebuke within Rule XIX? “I don’t want to revisit those days,” Santorum laughs:

Former Sen. @RickSantorum says he's also been shutdown on the floor of the Upper Chamber and its not a big deal https://t.co/R7xx2cDqVf

— New Day (@NewDay) February 8, 2017

Psaki then goes on to argue that this was an emboldening moment for Democrats, and framed it as an attack on the late Coretta Scott King. There was a distinction, however, that Psaki elides a bit. When Warren was challenged on her use of the letter in regard to Rule XIX, she affirmed that she was embracing King’s personal attack on Sessions — which Santorum points out. “In the case of Elizabeth Warren,” he says, “she didn’t back off. She made those comments, she said she agreed with those comments and she suffered the consequences.”

Perhaps GOP worry that Psaki’s interpretation would take hold explains why Sen. Tom Udall was allowed to quote from the letter later this morning:

Sen. Udall reads letter from Coretta Scott King on Senate floor that Sen. Warren was stopped from reading last night https://t.co/G7juuw3be2

— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 8, 2017

Chris Cuomo has a point about the impact of the enforcement of the rule, at least in the short-term tactical sense. No one would have bothered to comment on Warren’s speech or even recall it from the overload of the overnight session had Mitch McConnell not invoked Rule XIX. Now Warren can steal a news cycle or two claiming to be the poster woman for speaking truth to power or something, regardless of how well she earned that rebuke. However, as Duane noted earlier today, setting a precedent on enforcement of Rule XIX has some longer-term strategic and tactical implications for Democrats — which may also explain why they want to make this a bigger deal than it is.

At its core, this is all nonsense anyway. Democrats had already started dismantling the comity of the Senate as far back as the confirmation hearings of Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas, and continued to do so through the 2005 blockade of judicial appointments all the way to Harry Reid’s 2013 nuclear-option move that has now blown up Democrats’ faces. Democratic obstruction might thrill Psaki, but it’s not going thrill the rest of the nation that considers the 2016 election settled. I’ll have more on that later.

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