Conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt explained to a skeptical Tucker Carlson why he thought that the silencing of Sen. Liz Warren (D-Mass.) on the Senate floor was a "brilliant move" Wednesday on Fox News.
Senate debate over the confirmation of Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions to be attorney general led to a dustup on the Senate floor Tuesday evening and started a conflagration on social media after Warren attempted to read a 1986 letter by Coretta Scott King in opposition to the nomination of the same Jeff Sessions to a federal judgeship. Warren's reading of the letter was deemed by many senators to impugn the character of Sessions, a Senate colleague, and she was warned not to continue. However, she persisted, which occasioned the implementation of Rule 19, prohibiting Senators from making attacks of a personal nature. The presiding officer then ordered Warren to take her seat. When she appealed the ruling of the chair, the Senate voted do silence Warren for the remainder of the debate over the Sessions nomination.
"So no one disputes this was within and consistent with Senate rules," Tucker began, "but needless to say the reaction was, y'know, 'Mitch McConnell is a sexist, he can't handle strong women.' Was this a wise play politically, long-term?"
"It's a brilliant move by the leader for a couple of reasons," Hewitt answered.
One, he is trying to restore a chamber that Harry Reid destroyed, Tucker. Harry Reid left almost every Senate tradition in tatters. All of the pillars are down and they're at each others' throats. And Mitch McConnell, if you read his memoir, "the Long Game," he really is a traditionalist, he would like to restore the decorum and the process to the Senate. But in my view as a Republican, as a partisan, making Elizabeth Warren the face of the Democratic Party is a brilliant stroke. I mean, if they can tag team her with Bernie Sanders, and you can have a liberal law professor from Massachusetts, and a socialist from Vermont tag-team leadership of the Democratic Party.
Tucker wasn't convinced. "I don't know," he offered, "I mean, I see your point, I think it's a smart point, but I'd also bet money that if Elizabeth Warren had received the Democratic nomination, she'd be the president right now."
"Because she is in line with what Democratic voters think," he added, "she has a worldview, she can articulate it, I don't agree with it, but it's, she's not just an identity politics person, she's got a consistent left-wing economic view that has a lot of support in the country."
Hewitt, after acknowledging Warren's strengths, replied, "Honestly, Tucker, I don't think Hillary Clinton was that bad of a candidate that Elizabeth Warren would have been so much better she would have won. America is a center-right country as noted by those other elections I pointed out, the loss of the Senate, the loss of the House, the loss of the governorships, the 900 state legislators."
Noting that the argument against Sessions was based on accusations of past racial insensitivity and intimidation, Tucker then asked Hugh to chime in on the efficacy of the race-based critique of Sessions from Democrats: "Does this kind of rhetoric even have an effect anymore, do you think?"
That's the key question, Tucker, it's very dispiriting. I've worked for two attorney generals — Attorney General Bill Smith, Attorney General Ed Meese — they're both fine men. Jeff Sessions is arguably the best prepared man to be attorney general in the last 50 years: deputy assistant U.S. attorney; United States attorney; state attorney general; four times the United States senator; on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Everybody in the Democratic caucus knows better than they said, they will tell you that off the record. And it is disgraceful what they said about Sessions. He'll be a great AG, and I just do think all standards have gone, and I blame Harry Reid who by the way also enabled Jeff Sessions to get confirmed by using the Reid Rule to destroy the filibuster.
"But it's Harry Reid's legacy," Hugh continued. "It's a mess. It's a completely uncivil place that I don't know that Mitch McConnell can repair even if he wants to, and I'm not sure we want to repair it until after Gorsuch is confirmed."