The topics Reps. Rob Simmons and Zoe Lofgren are charged with considering are among the gravest - homeland security, national intelligence, government wiretaps.
Lately, though, the exchange between the House intelligence subcommittee's top members and staffs has been straight from the schoolyard.
Simmons, the chairman, is "wimpy," says Lofgren, the panel's top Democrat.
Lofgren, D-Calif., "would rather debate in the sandbox," counters Todd Mitchell, Simmons' chief of staff. "What's she going to say next, that Rob has cooties and gives wedgies?" (Lightman)
I don't know about you, but I'd rather not receive a wedgie from an ex-CIA officer.
What's worse is that there is a very serious issue underlying this apparently ridiculous fight:
Their clash began in earnest in January, about six weeks after news broke about the National Security Agency electronic eavesdropping on civilians in this country without first seeking court warrants.
Lofgren ... wanted a hearing and called the subcommittee's inaction on the NSA reports a "failure."
Simmons and King countered that he does not have the power because other committees, notably Judiciary and Intelligence, had authority over NSA spying and were pursuing the matter. Homeland Security, he said, does not have jurisdiction.(Lightman
I guess it could be worse. In 1856, Rep. Preston Brooks of South Carolina objected to Sen. Charles Sumner of Massachusetts delivering a stidently anti-slavery speech, in which he insulted a South Carolina senator.
So Brooks beat the crap out of him on the Senate floor.
Things aren't that bad yet. But they certainly aren't good, either.
Lightman, David. "Californian, Simmons In A Squabble." Hartford Courant 5 July, 2006.