He is 71 and a little infirm at the hip, but oh, how Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.) can swat the dingbats and loonybirds when they buzz the Senate chamber.
Goldwater was thoroughly fed up Thursday after his colleagues had gone more than 10 hours adorning the continuing appropriations bill with little favors for the folks back home.
Majority Leader Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) and Appropriations Chairman Warren G. Magnuson (D-Wash.) were pleading with the Senate to stop sweetening the bill and get on with passage.
Then Goldwater stood up. It is late, admittedly, but what he said is worth the reading. Some of the verbatim tidbits:
"I call the attention of my colleagues to the fact that we are supposed to be the greatest deliberate body in the world, and, frankly, we are looking in a hell of a shape."
"I would like to suggest that we look at every amendment we have and ask ourselves, do we have to have this? Election is two years away. We do not have to start kissing this and rubbing that to get elected next time. And, thank God, I do not have to do it ever again." [Laughter]
"We have been here now since 9 o'clock this morning. It is 7:20. How can anybody or any group -- in business or politics or family -- sit around for 12 hours and argue about stupidity and not come out with the result total stupidity?"
"I have to admit, Mr. President, that the Republicans have been more guilty of extraneous, rather useless, amendments than have the Democrats. It has been a long time since I could do that."
"Please, I implore you. It is not that I am acting bachelor and have to go home and cook my own dinner. It is a pretty good dinner, too. But let us get some sense to this operation. . . . Can we not realize that we are not going to go home tomorrow night or the next night? And those of us who live out in the Rocky Mountain West, and beyond, cannot get airline reservations because of that wonderful thing we did, deregulate the airlines, which screwed them up more than anything else since the balloon." [Applause]
Maybe it worked. Within an hour, the amendments had been shut off and the bill was passed.