Sunday, March 11, 2012 | 3 a.m.
The transcript of the first U.S. Senate debate shows why 2012 will be a long, annoying, painful, perhaps unbearable year:
Moderator: Welcome Congresswoman Shelley Berkley and Sen. Dean Heller.
Berkley: You mean “unelected” senator, I think.
Heller: At least I didn’t vote for Obamacare, congresswoman.
Berkley: Pelosi made me do it. Kidding. It’s a great law. Really. But I’d prefer to talk about your war on women, senator.
Heller: I’d prefer to talk about Obamacare. And then Obamacare a little more.
Berkley: I bet you would. But Nevadans want to know why you won’t sign my petition to get Rush Limbaugh fired for what he said about that university student.
Heller: I won’t agree to stifling free speech, congresswoman. Even the Gazette-Journal criticized you for trampling on the First Amendment.
Berkley: Who cares what some Carson City paper says, unelected one?
Heller: The Gazette-Journal is in Reno, congresswoman.
Berkley: I know that. My staff made me say it. But you can’t blame your staff for your war on women, war on women. Did I say that twice? You probably want to repeal the 19th Amendment, Appointed One.
Heller: Is that Obamacare?
Berkley: No, short-time senator, that’s the amendment that gave women the right to vote. Not surprised you don’t know what that is.
Heller: I was joking. I am a jokester, you know.
Berkley: Well, your war on women is no joke.
Heller: But Obamacare is a joke.
Berkley: You would deny women basic rights, unelected one. Access to basic medical services. You and your pal, Rush, just don’t like women. Hence, the war.
Heller: You know, congresswoman, you Democrats are always whining about Republicans talking too much about social issues. Now that’s all you want to talk about.
Berkley: Whining! How sexist! The war on women continues!
Heller: Let me be blunt, congresswoman.
Berkley: Oh, I know you love the Blunt amendment. That is the Fort Sumter of the war on women.
Heller: Oh, please. I will be clear: That vote was about religious freedom, which you seem to oppose as does the president and of course it is embedded in ... Obamacare. Would you be offended if I just knelt down and prayed now, congresswoman? Talk about a war — a war on religion.
Berkley: Not if you prayed for an end to the war on women. That would be fine. But this has nothing to do with religion, appointed one. This has to do with your ilk not respecting women and their health. You and your kind would set us back decades.
Heller: That’s nonsense, congresswoman. This is about you desperately trying to hurt me with women by pushing this issue over and over and over and over again. How many times can you and the Democrats send the same attack?
Berkley: You will find out. It seems to be working, based on your panic and the numbers we see in polls. And now that you distanced yourself from Rush Limbaugh’s comments after we pounded you, you might even get a primary challenge from your old friend Sharron Angle. I will pray for that.
Heller: Oh, Sharron and I are friends. I am sure she will endorse me. Any day now. Really.
Berkley: I’m not sure what would be worse to be in Nevada if you are elected for the first time — a Latino or a woman? And I can’t imagine what life would be like if you happen to be a Latina. The horror.
Heller: Just because I was scared that one time because you had a camera at the Latin Chamber doesn’t I mean I don’t like Hispanics, congresswoman. I met with Hispanics in Politics. I spoke a little Spanish, ate a few tortillas. We’re good.
Berkley: Oh, I’m sure they are thrilled you want to end Medicare as we know it. Especially the older ones.
Heller: The only thing that will end Medicare as we know it is Obamacare. Obamacare is killing America and killing the recovery here in Nevada. This is the Obama-Reid-Berkley recession.
Berkley: Maybe you didn’t notice, unelected one, but job growth is continuing, unemployment is falling and your party can only talk about letting the housing crisis play out. Yes, people are hurting. But we are trying to help while you engage in a war on women.
Heller: Will you please stop saying that?
Berkley: Frustrating, isn’t it? But if I get women, Latinos and old people, you get to move back home. Wait, did I say that out loud?
Heller: And I’ll just keep talking about Obamacare, hope the economy doesn’t get too much better and try to finesse the other issues as best I can. Oh, and hope the Republican Party here doesn’t hurt me too much. Wait, did I say that out loud?
Moderator: Now where was I in the introductions?