WASHINGTON -- Today's Senate is such a dysfunctional mess that it has become a joke even to the beleaguered man tasked with running it.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) mocked the upper chamber during a brief speech Tuesday evening at a book party celebrating the release of "The Fox Effect: How Roger Ailes Turned a Network Into a Propaganda Machine," written by David Brock, Ari Rabin-Havt and the staff of Media Matters.
Reid told the assembled audience that he was "looking forward to this book, because if there's anyone who needs to feel good about someone else beating up on Fox, it's me. And I know the intellect Ari has, I know how well David writes and I know how well Ari writes, and this is good." Rabin-Havt is a former Reid staffer and helped compose Reid's 2008 memoir, "The Good Fight."
But from there, Reid turned his attention to the Senate.
"We're having our usual productive time in the Senate. Monday, no votes. Tuesday, no votes. Wednesday, no votes," he said. "But I'll tell you, we're going to have a great Thursday morning. I finally figured out a way to -- [the Republicans have] been stalling for a long time, since February 7, when we tried to move the highway bill. They've been holding this up because of contraception. They wouldn't bring it up, couldn't work anything out. So I did. I filed the -- I brought the amendment up myself, and we're going to vote on that on Thursday and get rid of that, and we'll be able to do a highway bill. So, you guys, thank you very much for all you do."
In terms of Washington cocktail circuit toasts, "we'll be able to do a highway bill" is unlikely to go down as one of the more resounding kickers. But Reid, as always, stayed true to what was on his mind.
Earlier that day, he had accused Republicans of living in the past.
"It's hard to understand why my Republican colleagues think this topic deserves to be debated in the first place," Reid told reporters. "Once we put this extreme, distracting proposal behind us, I'm hoping my Republican colleagues will stop living in the past and join us this year, 2012, and help us create jobs."
Under ever-evolving Senate rules, 60 votes are currently required to do much of anything. Reid doesn't have 60 votes for much of anything, even routine matters. So the Senate sits.