Dick Durbin vs. IL GOP chair: Oh, snap!

August 15, 2011

On Thursday, August 4th, Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin appeared on Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show," mostly to vent about the debt ceiling brouhaha, which had just wrapped up.

Starting at about the 7:30 mark in the above video, Durbin claimed that Republicans "like" war, but don't want to raise the debt limit to pay for it. Stewart seemed a bit startled and said he "didn't see [Durbin's comment] coming." They briefly explored that subject further in part 2 of Durbin's interview.

In a statement released on Monday, August 8th titled "Durbin's bizarre appearance on 'The Daily Show,'" Illinois Republican Party Chair Pat Brady teed off on Durbin's remarks:

“Senator Durbin’s over the top rhetoric is a sorry attempt to distract voters from his party’s dismal economic record. While Senator Durbin spats off with his partisan talking points on Comedy Central, Illinois voters aren’t laughing at the 127,500 jobs lost since his party took back the White House. The notion that Senator Durbin believes this debt crisis is to blame on Republican’s love of war, is absolutely absurd, and truly shows how out-of-touch the senator is with his big spending policies that put us in this position in the first place.

"You know that your talking points are off the wall when you leave Jon Stewart speechless, but Senator Durbin did just that. Perhaps we could all take Senator Durbin a little more seriously on our pressing fiscal issues if he and his Democrat colleagues in the Senate could get around to finally passing a budget, after all it’s been well over 800 days since they’ve accomplished that most basic responsibility of governing.”

To be fair, Durbin just said Republicans "like" war. He didn't say they "love" it. But the point's the same.

Durbin today appeared in Elk Grove Village to endorse Tammy Duckworth in her congressional bid. As the press conference wound to a close, I asked Durbin about Brady's remarks, specifically those related to his comments about Republicans and war. Here's what Durbin said:

"It took Pat Brady about 5 or 6 days to TiVo 'The Daily Show,' and then to issue some criticism which I have not read. The point I made is this: Members of Congress who vote for war and want to extend the war should be willing to step up when President Obama says, 'I need to borrow money to wage this war,' and stand behind their president. But they want it both ways. They vote to extend the war in Afghanistan, that costs $10-billion a month, and then say, 'But we won't give the president the authority to borrow the money needed to fight the war.' I don't believe that that's honest."

Did Dick Durbin just question Pat Brady's TiVo abilities? I called Brady for a final retort.

"Out of respect for the troops killed in Afghanistan [that following weekend], we thought it was inappropriate to comment immediately [after Durbin's appearance], as pathetic as it was. But this is typical of the current Democrats. They can't talk substance. They just have to shoot the messenger."

A couple minutes later, Brady called back with an addition:

"Nobody uses TiVo anymore. That's ten years old. Thats how out of step Dick Durbin is."

I thought about calling Durbin for a response to Brady's response to Durbin's response to Brady's response to Durbin's comments. But this post is getting a bit long. If they'd like, they can take this fight to the comment section below.