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Senatorial Slapstick

The good folks at Netflix have lately been sending us the classic films of Harold Lloyd, the great silent-era comedian, and we’ve been lamenting the demise of the great American sight gag. For pure gut-busting slapstick, though, it’s hard to top a recent effort by Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
The Connecticut Democrat was recently on the platform at an Amtrak station lecturing the public on commuter train safety, which is apparently a subject of some importance to Connecticuters, and for some reason chose to deliver his speech well within those yellow lines that travelers are loudly advised to stay beyond. As if one cue from Hal Roach or some other suitably low-brow comedy director a train speeds by mid-speech, knocking Blumenthal’s visual aids askew, nearly squashing an unidentified man standing even closer to the track, and leaving an expression on Blumenthal’s face that even Buster Keaton would have been hard-pressed to top. In a seeming homage to Lloyd’s famous “Safety First,” the near-death experience occurs just as Blumenthal declares that “safety is paramount.”
Aside from its sheer entertainment value, the awkward moment seems worth briefly noting for a few reasons. It’s the sort of thing that would be endlessly replayed on the late night comedy shows if the Senator were a Republican, for one thing, and it seems only fair to to heap on our small measure of ridicule when it happens to a Democrat. Republicans frequently do similarly stupid things, of course, but we will proudly note it’s not likely to happen while they’re haranguing their fellow citizens about how to not get hit by a train. Most importantly, Blumenthal is among that breed of Democrat that seeks ever great control of our lives, and it’s useful to be reminded that he’s an idiot.

— Bud Norman

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