Columnist

As I write this, it is unclear what behavior we consider beneath the dignity of the Senate. Is there a standard? Does it depend on your side of the aisle? What is the essential variable? Is it whether you apologize? How grovellingly you apologize? Whether you double down? How incumbent you are? How loudly you chant “Fake news! Tax reform!” over the cries of your accusers? All of the above? None of the above?

If things keep going this way, I fear the Senate of the future will look something like this:

  • Unrepentant Groping Hand Protruding From a Big Stack of Bibles (R-Ala.)
  • Black and White Picture of a Judge Sitting on a Porch (R-Ala.)
  • Six Startled Elk Who Sometimes Demand Money for an Invisible Bridge (R-Alaska)
  • Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)
  • John McCain Delivering a Stirring Address to an Empty Chamber, Accompanied Everywhere by Sarah Palin’s Vengeful Ghost (R-Ariz.)
  • Angry Lobster Brimming With Hatred of Minorities Who Has Taken Jeff Flake’s Seat and Cares Not for the Law (R-Ariz.)
  • Praying Mantis (R-Ark.)
  • Atheist Mantis (D-Ark.)
  • Cool Lady Who Comes to Your High School to Talk About Drugs (D-Calif.)
  • Big Envelope of Money from Private Prisons Under a Pink Knitted Hat (D-Calif.)
  • Ham-Fisted Series of Apologies (D-Colo.)
  • NPR Voice That Has Somehow Gotten Loose (D-Colo.)
  • Human-Sized Lego (D-Conn.)
  • Thread of Tweets (D-Conn.)
  • A Sock (D-Del.)
  • Guy Who Won’t Leave Because He Wants to Stay and Apologize Even Though a Woman Has Been Waiting for His Seat for Eight Years (D-Del.)
  • Little Boy in A Sailor Suit Holding An Oversized Lollipop (R-Fla.)
  • The Rock (D-Fla.)
  • Kid Rock 
  • A Rock (R-Ga.)
  • A Boulder (R-Ga.)
  • Festive Boulder (D-Hawaii)
  • Beautiful Cupcake With a Fondant Flower on It Left Outside Someone’s Door as an Apology and Then Devoured by a Raccoon (D-Hawaii)
  • A Turnip (R-Idaho)
  • Boot Stepping on the Human Face, Forever (R-Idaho)
  • Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.)
  • Limpet (R-Ill.)
  • Wax Sculpture That Exactly Resembles Mike Pence but, I’m Told, Isn’t (R-Ind.)
  • Elegant Gold Skeleton (D-Ind.)
  • Elephant Slowly and Painfully Dying After Being Shot in the Wrong Place (R-Iowa)
  • Man Who Shot It Clad in Ivory Cufflinks (R-Iowa)
  • Series of Restraining Orders That Has Been Taught to Shout “Tax Reform” at Regular Intervals (R-Kan.)
  • Unapologetic Arsonist (R-Kan.)
  • Mitch McConnell, Powerless and Trapped in a Plastic Cell Where the New Members of His Delegation Taunt Him (R-Ky.)
  • Rand Paul, Is He Okay? I Hope He Isn’t Seriously Hurt (R-Ky.)
  • Person Who Refuses to Apologize for Anything Even Though He Is Obviously Holding a Severed Head (R-La.)
  • Touchy-Feely Invisible Hand That Claims It Is Something to Do With the Economy (R-La.)
  • Rock Lobster (R-Maine)
  • Sexy but Problematic Ghost of Franklin Pierce (D-Maine)
  • Pigeon That Had Something the Matter With Its Foot That I Saw Once in Union Station and Cannot Un-See (D-Md.)
  • Swamp Thing (D-Md.)
  • Series of Regulations Wrapped Up in a Coat (D-Mass.)
  • Problematic Disney Heroine (D-Mass.)
  • Six Birds Trapped in a Suit Jacket (D-Mich.)
  • Fifteen Men on a Dead Man’s Chest (R-Mich.)
  • Al Franken’s Old Suit Jacket Stuffed With Frantic Apologies Shambling from Committee to Committee for Decades Without Making Eye Contact (D-Minn.)
  • Grumpy Newsman (R-Minn.)
  • Quentin Compson (D-Miss.)
  • Old Plantation House Full of Hideous Secrets and Unthinkable Lies (R-Miss.)
  • Man Politely Vacating His Seat for a Woman but Not Just Yet (D-Mo.)
  • The Word “No” (D-Mo.)
  • Actual Pharmaceutical (R-Mont.)
  • Contrite Reformed Satyr (D-Mont.)
  • Preschool on Cursed Burial Ground (D-Neb.)
  • Bright, Promising Young Man Who May Someday Make Something of Himself (R-Neb.)
  • Slot Machine Spitting out Apologies to the Wrong People (D-Nev.)
  • Lobbyist Who Fell Into a Swamp and Ate a Mysterious Squash and Now He Can See the Beginning and End of All Things and You Too Can Try the Squash but Be Warned That It Will Pronounce a Verdict on You and You Will Know for Once and All If You Are Good or Not (R-Nev.)
  • Woman Who Is Bad Somehow (D-N.H.)
  • Granola With Love in It That Was Not Licensed by the FDA (D-N.H.)
  • Good Apology (R-N.J.)
  • Bad Apology (R-N.J.)
  • Succulent (D-N.M.)
  • Alien Bursting out of a Human Stomach With a Hideous Shriek (R-N.M.)
  • Demand That Someone Else Apologize (D-N.Y.)
  • Crude Child’s Drawing of the Empire State Building (D-N.Y.)
  • Human Typo (D-N.C.)
  • Animatronic Confederate Statue (R-N.C.)
  • A Big Fish That Looks Statesmanlike (R-N.D.)
  • No Apology (R-N.D.)
  • Boil (D-Ohio)
  • Invasive Exam That the State Senate Decided All Women Should Have (R-Ohio)
  • Sexy Rosie the Riveter Costume (R-Okla.)
  • Ghost Who Is Trying to Help (D-Okla.)
  • Series Of Hedging Statements (D-Ore.)
  • Large Adult Son (R-Ore.)
  • Suspicious Man in a Trench Coat Who Keeps Bumping Into Russian Affiliates but It’s Definitely Fine (R-No One Can Say)
  • Pokemon Go to the Polls (D-Pa.)
  • Little Green Ghoul (R-Pa.)
  • Murderous Gourd (D-R.I.)
  • That Feeling You Get When You Step Into a Room and Something’s Been Moved (D-R.I.)
  • Scorpion Asking for a Ride Across a River (R-S.C.)
  • Mint Julep With a Cigarette Holder Resting on the Rim (D-S.C.)
  • The Night King (R-S.D.)
  • Many of Hand-Written Apology Notes Addressed to the Wrong Person (D-S.D.)
  • Vile Cloud Periodically Haunted By Bob Corker’s Ghost, Full Of Good Advice, But Unable To Make Himself Understood (R-Tenn.)
  • Wedding Cake With a Man and a Woman on Top of It, by God (R-Tenn.)
  • Thing That Appears in Your Mirror If You Light a Candle and Speak Unholy Words (R-Tenn.)
  • Rick Perry’s Glasses All by Themselves Making a Run for It (R-Tex.)
  • Lifelike Replica of Ted Cruz (R-Tex.)
  • What Remains of Mitt Romney’s Soul After That Dinner With Trump (R-Utah)
  • Hive That Has Been Struck With a Stick From Which an Enraged Buzzing Can Be Heard (R-Utah)
  • Granola Without Love in It (D-Vt.)
  • Bernie Sanders’s Glasses and Hair (I-Vt.)
  • Big Teddy Bear You Got at the Dentist’s Office (D-Va.)
  • Animated Windsock With Strong Opinions About Corruption (D-Va.)
  • Still Not Enough Women (D-Wash.)
  • Controversial Coffeemaker (D-Wash.)
  • Enormous Pile of Coal Formed Into a Crude Facsimile of a Man (R-W.Va.)
  • Ghost Who Won’t Say Sorry (R-W.Va.)
  • A Glass Tube That Contains a Thousand Voices Crying out in Terror (R-Wis.)
  • Cheerful Cow With No Policy Experience (D-Wis.)
  • Vegan Bear (R-Wyo.)
  • Regular Bear (R-Wyo.)

Here is what the presidency will look like:

  • Donald Trump.