The Diddly Awards

By Hitt, Jack | Mother Jones, November 2005 | Go to article overview

The Diddly Awards


Hitt, Jack, Mother Jones


THE AARON BURR AWARD FOR CONSTITUTIONAL DEVOTION By Jack Hitt

NOMINEE Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) 1 lost his temper during a summer hearing on the Patriot Act. In the midst of sworn testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, which he chairs, he denounced the proceedings as "irrelevant" and angrily gaveled the meeting closed, in violation of the "unanimous consent" rule. As the floor erupted with protests from witnesses and oppo sition party members, Sensenbrenner's staff turned off the microphones and then walked out.

NOMINEE Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-III.), 2 who, as House speaker, is ultimately responsible for forcing Rep. John Conyers into a basement room described as a "large closet" to hold hearings on the Downing Street Memos. During the time that Conyers called witnesses to testify, Hastert scheduled ii floor votes to keep members from attending.

WINNER! Rick Santorum, for explaining to television interviewer Barry Nolan that America's "entire culture" was focused on something that was "harming America." Reaching for just the right words, Santorum boasted of his knowledge of "our founding documents" before hitting upon the precise phrase to describe what is destroying the land: "the pursuit of happiness. …

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