Several Members of Congress are stretching their sea legs today as the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power takes the show on the water for a history-making hearing.
Subcommittee Chairwoman Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) will helm the first Senate field hearing aboard a ship in more than half a century. The last time sitting lawmakers got to inhabit a Navy vessel for a little live politicking was April 1960; that’s when the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy made itself at home aboard the USS George Washington, a nuclear-powered submarine, in order to chat about nuclear security and Polaris missiles.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) is expected to join Shaheen aboard the USS Kearsarge, an amphibious assault ship in operation since 1992, for the off-campus photo op.
While we sincerely hope the entire operation comes off without a hitch, we couldn’t help but reminisce about some of the nautically themed gaffes that have plagued other pols:
- 2004: Then-presidential hopeful Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) was photographed kite boarding and was subsequently excoriated by conservative critics for being completely out of touch with middle America.
- 1987: Then-presidential hopeful Sen. Gary Hart (D-Colo.) was caught cavorting with Donna Rice aboard a yacht dubbed “Monkey Business” after goading reporters to follow him around to disprove rumored infidelity (you can’t make this stuff up).
- 1977: Punk-rock pioneers the Sex Pistols serenade the British Parliament with their screeching rebuke of the Royal Family, “God Save the Queen,” whilst lazily cruising down the River Thames in a charter boat.
- 1908: Former Sens. Marion Butler (N.C.) and Matthew Butler (S.C.), no relation, are hauled before their one-time colleagues and grilled for the untenable crime of wooing sitting lawmakers in pursuit of Navy contracts (or, as modern K Streeters might call it, “Tuesday”).