Michael Gerson, one of the Washington Post's growing stable of Bush administration officials-turned-columnists, is upset at Sen. Al Franken, taking to the Post's op-ed pages to denounce the Minnesota Democrat as an "ideologue" who has become an "embarrassment." The source of Gerson's ire is Franken's remarks to the American Constitution Society last week, writing that Franken "has tried to control his bile addiction, at least in public," but his ACS speech was a "relapse."
Most of the traditional elements of a Franken rant were employed against Chief Justice John Roberts and conservatives on the Supreme Court. The attack on motives: The "Roberts court has consistently and intentionally protected and promoted the interests of the powerful over those of individual Americans." The silly hyperbole: "What individual rights are so basic and so important that they should be protected above a corporation's right to profit? And their preferred answer is: None. Zero." The sloppy, malicious mixed metaphor: The Roberts court is putting not a "thumb" but "a fist with brass knuckles" on the "scale" of justice. Franken was clearly summoning all his remaining resources of senatorial dignity not to say something like Roberts is a "lying liar who lies along with his lying lackeys for his lying corporate lying masters."
You get the sense that about halfway through this paragraph, Gerson realized that his examples of "bile" weren't particularly bilious, so he delves into Franken's psyche to tell us what he was really thinking and invents a supposed train of thought that quite (un)cleverly plays off Franken's book, Lies: And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them.
Gerson goes on to attribute some more invented opinions to Franken, claiming that the senator's view is that "judges should be more like the Committee of Public Safety during the French Revoltuion -- an unelected group of super-legislators who issue binding verdicts based on their advanced conceptions of justice and class warfare." This is obviously ridiculous, particularly since Gerson's column is based on the premise that Franken engages in "silly hyperbole" and spouts "bile." And yet here's Gerson claiming that a sitting senator thinks judges should be akin to the infamous revolutionary body that directed the Reign of Terror in France in which tens of thousands of people were killed.
Now that's "bile."