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Rep. Weiner: Sit!

By Alexandra Petri

People always say that trying to get Congress to do anything is like herding cats. But this excerpt from Rep. Anthony Weiner’s (D-N.Y.) recent rant sounds more like something you could use to train your dog. Just seat Fido in front of the computer screen! In a few hours, he will be a quivering, nervous wreck, but he will never cling to procedure again.

For the full philippic, click here.

It's been a while since I got to use the term philippic, and I have to say: I enjoyed it. As a general point, I believe that there usually isn't enough yelling in politics. The term "philippic" comes from the Ancient Greek days when Demosthenes used to get up and yell about how terrible Philip of Macedon was -- and how he always threw his arms around procedure and stall, stall, stalled and then voted no, and wouldn't sit. I think politics now should be more like that of Julius Caesar, with oratory and people yelling at each other in Latin and the occasional ambush.

I just need a little more warning next time. I'm a quiet soul. My only hobby is waiting until all the members have already spoken and then standing up and wrapping my arms around procedure. What can I say? Sometimes procedure looks like it needs a hug. But after hearing this speech, I'm calling it off. “It’s not you,” I will explain, trying to cheer procedure up. “It’s just that if Rep. Weiner ever sees us together again, he is going to yell at me.” And I just don't have the constitution for it yet.

All I can say is: Please, someone, remix this.

By Alexandra Petri  | July 30, 2010; 2:30 PM ET
Categories:  Petri  | Tags:  Alexandra Petri  
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It is so refreshing finally to see someone from Congress say what they really think. What a wonderful outburst from Cong. Weiner. I wish now that other Democrats would express outrage at the total stonewalling the Republicans have done for 18 months. They should be thrown out of Congress.

Posted by: constitutionsupporter | July 30, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

more like that of Julius Caesar, with oratory and people yelling at each other in Latin and the occasional ambush.

I think if they were expected to commit suicide if they failed to serve the interests of the state, that might be enough.
Of course, failing that, there is nothing like a good old fashioned Roman decimation to instill the proper attitude and vigor in the ancient legions, perhaps that would work in the Senate?

Posted by: dijetlau | July 31, 2010 1:11 AM | Report abuse

Just throw the chairs and be done with it.

Posted by: slatt321 | July 31, 2010 1:20 AM | Report abuse

Wow! Finally! A man with guts and courage to say what needs to be said about the party of no! Good for him! Lets throw a few bucks his way to thank him for having the balls that Harry Reid doesn't have.

Posted by: sandnsmith | July 31, 2010 1:48 AM | Report abuse

Wow! Finally! A man with guts and courage to say what needs to be said about the party of no! Good for him! Lets throw a few bucks his way to thank him for having the balls that Harry Reid doesn't have.

Posted by: sandnsmith | July 31, 2010 1:51 AM | Report abuse

Congratulations, Congressman Weiner!!! How proud I was to see a member of Congress attempt to bring order to the House of Representatives that has been battered by the so-called "Republicans." Those of us who were once Republicans have been so embarrassed by the conduct of the "No" crowd during Congressional sessions. Quite honestly, we don't know where they ever came from! Certainly not from our former party.

Posted by: Formerrepublican | July 31, 2010 6:19 AM | Report abuse

"Guts" and "courage"?? For what?? For raving like a lunatic, and adding drama to his side of the story??

These are the same people who thought it outrageous that someone would call our President a liar...when he lied.

Rep. Weiner lived up to his name.

Posted by: jpmenavich | July 31, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

THIS is the story. Weiner has the VOTES for this 911 Money. He ALREADY has the votes. So where's the bill? Weiner tabled it. He could pass it RIGHT NOW, but he won't. He wants COVER. Because, as usual, the things that the WEINERS of the world want, they can't get in the light of day. So they ATTACH these things to other bills. Bills for MEDICINE for the Poor. Or FOOD for the Starving.
This bill has WEINER STUFF tucked up inside it. FREE HEALTH CARE FOR ILLEGALS, for starters. Now, what does that have to do with the 911 1st Responders' fund?
He has the votes RIGHT NOW. WEINER is the ONLY ONE holding this thing up. PERIOD.

Posted by: GoomyGommy | July 31, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

I cheer Mr. Weiner! I wish we'd see more of it from the democrats - the republicans spew such nonsensical bull crap - it should be exposed for the load that it truly is.

Well done Mr. Weiner!

Posted by: JilliB | July 31, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I appreciate the history lesson. I'll try to work this in at my next cocktail party.
I also hail Rep. Weiner. He showed the sort of backbone Mr. Obama should have been showing from day one.
I recommend Mr. Weiner for the position of White House press secretary. Someone needs to answer the inane questions from Fox "News" in just this fashion.
Bravo, sir.

Posted by: littlejohn2 | July 31, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

WOW, calling someone a Weiner use to be an insult, You can call me a Wiener ANY DAY!

Posted by: Jersey_Boy | July 31, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Another WaPo straw poll and Rep. Anthony Weiner WINS!

Posted by: knjincvc | July 31, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

"A Simple Desultory Philippic

(Or How I Was Robert McNamara'd into Submission)

I been Norman Mailered, Maxwell Taylored.
I been John O'Hara'd, McNamara'd.
I been Rolling Stoned and Beatled till I'm blind.
I been Ayn Randed, nearly branded
Communist, 'cause I'm left-handed.
That's the hand I use, well, never mind!

I been Phil Spectored, resurrected.
I been Lou Adlered, Barry Sadlered.
Well, I paid all the dues I want to pay.
And I learned the truth from Lenny Bruce,
And all my wealth won't buy me health,
So I smoke a pint of tea a day."

A barely desultory philippic, M. Alexandra Petri.

I'm with Wiener.

Monte Haun

Posted by: mchaun | July 31, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Gee, I would hope that Petri had a better understanding of what happened on the House floor before popping off with a column praising Weiner for acting like a weiner. (Or just showing off arcane knowledge.)
Weiner had more than enough votes to pass a bill for medical care for 911 First Responders - had he not included provisions that included illegal immigrants.
A bill like this requires a simple majority - BUT under those rules, the GOP or moderate Democrats who opposed it would have been allowed to offer amendment. That would have precipitated a fight on immigration in an election year.
It was a lot more fun to CHANGE the rules so the bill required a 2/3 majority,meaning NO amendments could be offered, forcing a vote that the Democrats hope can be used against the GOP in the November elections. Petty trick that escaped notice in the drama Weiner created with his tantrum.

This was a cynical and partisan ploy. Weiner didn't care about the First Responders. He cared about politics.
Weiner's unseemly rant was aimed at NY GOP Congressman Peter King who voted FOR the bill and was simply trying to point out Weiner's hypocrisy.

Posted by: parkbench | July 31, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

I was glad to hear Rep. Wiener open up on the Republicans who tried to block funds for the firefighters and other citizen heroes who responded to the 9/11 disaster--especially in view of the fact that it was the inattentiveness of a Republican administration that enabled the 9/11 terrorists in the first place. I'm glad that Wiener had the courage to challange their hypocracy--and to do it loudly and forcefully.

Posted by: elprimojpvh1 | July 31, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

@parkbench: thank you for pointing out the facts and context of Mr. Weiner's grandstanding. I admire Mr. Weiner as an adroit advocate and if I ever needed a mouthpiece, he would be my man. His skills are better suited to a criminal courtroom than in a body that gets to spend $3.4 TRILLION of our money this year.

Posted by: LibertyTom | July 31, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Something tells me that if Jesus himself came back and asked for a vote to go to Heaven the GOP would instinctively vote NO. Well done Rep. Wiener, someone needed to call these hyper-partisan republicans out their obstructionism.

Posted by: hansenthered | July 31, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

My neighbor once had a chihuahua that had tiny little ears, a bony muzzle, and eyes that popped out. Whenever it wanted something, it yipped, yipped, yipped in a high-pitched annoying way.

No one could ever figure out what it wanted, but everyone hated to hear it -- and after a while, to see it.

Posted by: spamagnet987 | August 1, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Many Democrats in Congress never seem to learn a basic lesson. They think if they never rock the boat, people will like them and return them to office. They keep doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. When we get reps with spines, like Weiner or Barney Frank, they are excoriated by the press and told to "sit." Even in the minority, Republicans drive the debate and the narrative. Give me Weiner any day over the myriad of b**l-less ones roaming the halls of Congress, collecting a paycheck for being afraid of standing up to their own convictions.

Posted by: Sandydayl | August 1, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

"a CLEAN bill"- one that has no poison-pill amendments about arcane or unrelated issues- that was what the vote was for.

First responders' health care- not something added for the upcoming election sound bites to attack Democrats with.

The GOP is decidedly a dishonorable, disloyal opposition, content to destroy this country in order to embellish the campaign lies they need to win anything in American politics.

They'd be pitiful if they were not so treacherous.

Posted by: rowens1 | August 1, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

This was nothing more than political theater. His fanatical screams were directed at Rep. King, one of the architects of the bill. While attacking the Republicans as the "party of
no", the Democrats pull a last-minute procedural maneuver to keep the Republicans from submitting amendments to the bill. Should we give the Democrats the tag "My Way or the Highway"?

Posted by: bethg1841 | August 1, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I also appreciated that Congressman Wiener, even though angry, was entirely articulate. In an age of mealy-mouthed incoherence, that was truly delightful.

Posted by: fran426 | August 1, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

This Weener character looks and sounds like a demented version of Soupy Sales.

White Fang and Black Tooth shoulda been there to complete the act. Itwoulda been funnier.

Pookey too!

Posted by: battleground51 | August 1, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

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