Fuzzy Filibuster Math

Posted April 15, 2008 at 6:44pm

As the sage Barbie once said, “Math class is hard!” Senate Democrats seem to be in accord with the sentiments of the plastic, blond babe.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was on the Senate floor Tuesday accompanied by a large made-for-C-SPAN sign propped up on an easel declaring that Republicans have mounted 65 filibusters this year. But wait — wasn’t it just a while back that Reid was complaining of 72 GOP-led filibusters? Yep, it was. Back on Feb. 29, Reid was on the floor with a similar sign decrying 72 Republican f-bombs.

[IMGCAP(1)]Which, according to HOH’s math (we’re with Barbie on this one), would mean that in the past month and a half, Republicans have launched negative-seven filibusters.

Reid spokesman Jim Manley wouldn’t get into the math behind the Democrat’s signs. But he accused Republicans of trying to muddy the issue by focusing on the details, not the big picture. “After more than a year of record-shattering slowing, stopping and stalling, Republicans have found another way to waste valuable Senate time: semantics,” Manley tells HOH. “If they want to argue the number, be my guest, because the fact is, that they would still have broken in one year the two-year record for filibusters.”

It’s not the first time Democrats have had trouble with fuzzy filibuster math: HOH reported this past November that Democrats miscounted GOP filibusters in a sign Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) toted to the floor.

But Republicans were still chuckling over the number trouble on the other side of the aisle. “We’re never really sure how Senate Democrats come up with their stats, but we plan to consult the Senate historian to see if negative-seven filibusters is a record of some kind,” said Josh Holmes, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Dodd’s True-Blue Ear. The mystery surrounding the case of Sen. Chris Dodd’s blue ear has been solved. The Connecticut Democrat was the subject of Comedy Central funnyman Jon Stewart’s barbs on “The Daily Show” Monday night, with Stewart showing footage of Dodd’s appearance at a Sunday night benefit in New York aimed at raising money for autism. At the Comedy Central-sponsored event, called a Night of Too Many Stars, Dodd shared a stage with big names such as Ben Stiller and Adam Sandler — but the Senator was sporting an unusual look, with one of his ears apparently covered in blue paint.

Stewart theorized that Dodd was secretly blue, a fact that he’s been hiding all these years to better fit in among his colleagues. “He’s actually blue, but in the Senate, he has to paint himself white,” Stewart jokingly posited.

A Dodd spokeswoman explains that her boss wasn’t showing his true colors in the clip. Dodd had used an onstage phone that had previously been used by a member of the Blue Man Group — and the grease paint the Blue Man left on the phone rubbed off on the Senator’s ear.

At least the paint was blue, as in the color of Democratic states, or else Dodd might have some ’splainin’ to do to his colleagues back in Washington.

Myrick Goes to the Mat. Rep. Sue Myrick apparently likes her men in spandex, fur-lined robes and feathers. The North Carolina Republican took to the House floor Tuesday to pay tribute to her “friend and constituent” Ric Flair, of WWE fame, in honor of Flair’s recent retirement from the, er, noble sport.

The 16-time World Wrestling Champion is best known as “The Nature Boy,” but he’s apparently so much more to Myrick.

“He will forever be known as an innovator, a pioneer, and perhaps the greatest that his industry has ever seen,” Myrick said during a one-minute speech on the House floor Tuesday. “By any standard, Ric Flair is a living legend.”

Myrick went on to appreciate Flair’s signature move, the “Figure-Four Leglock,” although to HOH’s disappointment, she didn’t demonstrate the technique.

Dewing the McCain Thing. Anyone watching Sen. John McCain address The Associated Press on Monday had to be wondering what the Arizona Republican was talking about when he alluded to “the amusing eating and sleeping habits of my friend, Lindsey Graham.”

Of course HOH wondered what the mysterious habits of the South Carolina Republican were, and we made it our duty to track them down. Unfortunately for us, Graham’s dietary indulgences aren’t quite as scintillating as one might have hoped. No red herring (figuratively or literally) here, folks.

Instead, McCain was referring to Graham’s penchant for sugary sodas, according to Graham spokesman Wes Hickman. “[McCain’s] talking about Graham sucking down Mountain Dews to regain energy,” Hickman said.

The soda known for its jitter-inducing caffeine content (36 milligrams in an 8-oz. serving) and cavity-causing sugar (31 grams) apparently helped Graham make it through those all-nighters and long bus rides with nosy reporters hoping to score a late-night scoop from a sleepy Senator.

Golf to the Fore. As if the game of golf doesn’t get enough love from Members of Congress, a few of them want to designate a national day devoted to the sport of whacking little balls off sticks. Florida Reps. Ron Klein (D) and John Mica (R) are sponsoring a resolution that would designate April 16 National Golf Day.

Mica and Klein are joining golf-industry bigwigs at the National Press Club today to tee off the effort. Even though neither Floridian is an avid golfer himself, it’s no wonder they’re links boosters: Florida has more golf courses than any other state.

HOH hears that about 10 Members have signed on to the legislation at last count. But don’t look for it to come to a vote anytime soon, since it looks like Congress has bigger fish to fry this week — like naming post offices.

Briefly Quoted. “Let me tell you, when the horse got lame, you took it out of the harness and put it in the barn. Sometimes, if it could not get well, you would simply have to dispose of it.”

— Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), on the Senate floor Monday, likening the U.S. tax code to a glue-factory-destined horse.

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