Sen. Shelby can pick up any slack

Cherokee County Herald - - VIEWPOINTS -

You know the re­sults of Tues­day’s pri­maries for our U.S. Se­nate seat. I had to go to press be­fore the vote. How­ever, the as­sump­tion was that there would be a runoff in the Repub­li­can pri­mary. It is safe to say that the win­ner of that runoff on Septem­ber 26 will be elected as our next ju­nior U.S. Se­na­tor. We are such a re­li­ably Repub­li­can state that win­ning the GOP Pri­mary will be tan­ta­mount to elec­tion in De­cem­ber.

It may sur­prise you for me to say that it re­ally makes very lit­tle dif­fer­ence as to who ul­ti­mately wins this seat. Which­ever Repub­li­can pre­vails will vote no dif­fer­ently than the other.

De­spite all the money spent, name call­ing, and cam­paign­ing, who­ever the Repub­li­can pri­mary victor is will vote con­ser­va­tively right down the line. They will have the iden­ti­cal con­ser­va­tive voting record as Jeff Ses­sions. They all would vote right on the lit­mus test hot but­ton GOP is­sues like abor­tion, im­mi­gra­tion, bal­anced bud- get, pro mil­i­tary, pro gun and pro agri­cul­ture. Who­ever wins will sup­port Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and the most con­ser­va­tive Supreme Court nom­i­nee avail­able.

There­fore, your choice is Twee­dle Dee or Twee­dle Dum. Your only choice is which per­son­al­ity you like best. It is like whether you like right wing vanilla or right wing straw­berry ice cream. Which­ever Repub­li­can you choose out of this batch of ice cream you will still have an ice cream sand­wich who will vote for the right wing con­ser­va­tive agenda.

There­fore, will one be able to be more ef­fi­cient? Prob­a­bly not. Se­nior­ity is what dic­tates power in the Wash­ing­ton Con­gres­sional peck­ing or­der and guess what — our new Ju­nior U.S. Se­na­tor will rank 100th in Se­nior­ity in the 100 mem­ber U.S. Se­nate.

Their path to power is also lim­ited by their age. If the ul­ti­mate victor is one of the pro­jected fron­trun­ners, they are get­ting to the Se­nate at too old of an age to be a player or make a dif­fer­ence. Roy Moore is 70, Luther Strange is 64, and Mo Brooks is 63. Who­ever be­comes the Se­na­tor will be fin­ished be­fore any­body in Wash­ing­ton knows who they are and none of them will ever chair a com­mit­tee. There­fore, it re­ally doesn’t mat­ter which Repub­li­can ul­ti­mately wins.

How­ever, do not be dis­mayed, we have a se­nior U.S. Se­na­tor who can pick up any slack. Folks, our se­nior Se­na­tor is Richard Shelby. We do not even need a sec­ond se­na­tor when we have Shelby.

Richard Shelby, be­cause of his se­nior­ity and sen­a­to­rial prow­ess and pres­tige, is eas­ily one of the three most pow­er­ful mem­bers of the United States Se­nate.

Se­na­tor Shelby is the Chair­man of the Se­nate Rules Com­mit­tee. Folks, what that means is that be­fore any law, any bud­get, or any Supreme Court nom­i­nee gets to the floor of the U.S. Se­nate, Se­na­tor Shelby has to ap­prove it. This makes him about as pow­er­ful as the Pres­i­dent. I am not say­ing that Shelby trumps Trump in power. How­ever, I am say­ing that there are about 95 Se­na­tors who need the Pres­i­dent. There are about five Se­na­tors that Trump needs more than they need him. Shelby is one of them.

Most spe­cial in­ter­est groups and re­ally any­body or any en­tity like the NRA who want any­thing done in Wash­ing­ton would rather have Richard Shelby on their side rather than Don­ald Trump.

Richard Shelby has reached a pin­na­cle of power never be­fore seen in Alabama’s rich po­lit­i­cal lore of U.S. Se­na­tors.

We have had some great Se­na­tors. The names of John H. Bankhead, Lis­ter Hill and John Spark­man are leg­endary. How­ever, Richard Shelby has sur­passed those giants in power and what he has done for Alabama.

Richard Shelby is in his 31st year of rep­re­sent­ing us in the U.S. Se­nate. He has chaired the Se­nate In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee, the Se­nate Bank­ing Com­mit­tee, and now the Se­nate Rules Com­mit­tee.

Within two years, he will break John Spark­man’s 32- year Se­nate ten­ure record. Shelby will prob­a­bly make a lat­eral move to chair the Se­nate Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee. If you think he has brought home the ba­con the past three decades, you ain’t seen noth­ing yet.

Do not fret about who our ju­nior U.S. Se­na­tor is go­ing to be. It re­ally does not mat­ter when you have Richard Shelby.

Steve Flow­ers is Alabama’s lead­ing po­lit­i­cal colum­nist. His weekly col­umn ap­pears in over 60 Alabama news­pa­pers. He served 16 years in the state leg­is­la­ture. Steve may be reached at www.steve­flow­ers. us.

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