In 1979 pugnacious and annoying Democrat Rep. Jim Mattox, D-Texas, walked on the floor of the U.S. House wearing a short-sleeved shirt without a tie, made his way to the front row of the chamber and demanded to be recognized by then-U.S. House Speaker Thomas "Tip" O’Neill.
Mattox was objecting to the 78-degree temperature in the House chamber mandated by Pres. Jimmy Carter’s energy rationing edict.
Not only did Speaker O’Neill refuse to recognize Mattox, he also ordered Mattox off the House floor. O’Neill could afford to do that: he had a 120-seat majority in the House.
Forty-four years later U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is having dress code problems too; his response was to surrender to political necessity.
That’s because Schumer doesn’t have a majority in the Senate.
He has 48 Democrats — one fewer than the Republicans! — and three independents.
The independents are Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., everyone’s favorite faux Socialist; Sen. Angus King, I-Maine (make that "independent") - that's so his voters can say they vote the man and not the party; and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., always something of a wild child who may be ready to start double dating along with Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo.
The three independents caucus with the Democrats and thereby give Schumer a paper thin one vote majority. Schumer can’t afford to lose a vote and that’s why he abolished the Senate dress code, but just for senators.
This isn’t so much another milestone in the nationwide collapse of western civilization’s standards as it is recognition that a senator who dresses like a junior high loser has Schumer over a barrel.
Two members of Schumer’s tenuous majority have what can politely be termed "issues."
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is currently on the glidepath to well-beyond-advanced old-age and has given her daughter power of attorney over her affairs.
Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., was never an intellectual powerhouse before his stroke, but is now inhabiting a shadowland that doesn’t include the concept of maturity.
Both are reliable Democratic votes when they are physically on the Senate floor, it’s getting them on the floor that’s the problem.
Feinstein doesn’t have any haberdashery hangups that we know of, it’s her health that's purportedly uncertain.
When she’s in the hospital or bedridden at home there’s not much Schumer can do about it.
Fetterman’s physical health, after the stroke, appears reliable enough.
For him it’s seemingly his mental status.
His juvenile obsession with dressing like he’s going to the less-than-savory part of town to score has made accommodating some of his votes simply ludicrous.
According to AP (Associated Press), "The senator even found a workaround to the legislative body's dress code rules by voting from the doorway of the Democrat cloakroom or the side entrance, making sure his vote is recorded before ducking out."
Schumer’s worry that someone this immature may decide to take his vote and his baggy shorts and go home just when Chuck needs him the most.
Therefore, the dress code for senators has to go so the vote for Democratic priorities will stay. As we wrote earlier, the new code only applies to senators.
While Sen. Fetterman flaunts his hood-wear, leans his chair back and puts his sneakers up on the desk; the little people in the Senate gallery will still be required to wear a coat and tie or dress.
Perhaps depending on that day’s individual gender identity preferences.
Schumer keeps his majority for the time being and the federal government continues its descent into the realm formerly occupied by Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey.
Michael Reagan, the eldest son of President Reagan, is a Newsmax TV analyst. A syndicated columnist and author, he chairs The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Michael is an in-demand speaker with Premiere speaker's bureau. Read Michael Reagan's Reports — More Here.
Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher for the League of American Voters, and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian's Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)" Read Michael Shannon's Reports — More Here.