In the midst of an intense hearing for Alabama senator and U.S. Attorney General appointee Jeff Sessions, there was a surprising bit of silliness: Jeff Sessions is a big fan of “Schoolhouse Rock!”
During the hearing, Republican Sen. Ben Sasse said that there was a “civics crisis” in the U.S. and asked about Sessions’ thought on Obama’s use of executive orders. While arguing that Obama’s use of executive power was an overreach, Sessions said that he felt “Schoolhouse Rock!” was “not a bad basic lesson in how the government is supposed to work.”
This isn’t the first time Sessions has voiced his appreciation for the animated education series from the 70s on Capitol Hill. During a debate over an immigration reform bill in 2007, Sessions gave a three-hour speech against the bill in front of a poster depicting one of the cult show’s most famous characters: the bill from “I’m Just A Bill.” Sessions used the famous cartoon to criticize the immigration bill, claiming that it had not gone through the proper approval process and betrayed the clean, organized system extolled by the little bill that sang about his dreams of becoming a law.
But “Schoolhouse Rock!” has also been used against Sessions. In the spring of 2016, Sessions was one of several Republican politicians who received VHS tapes of the cartoon’s civics episode from Generation Progress, the campus outreach division of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress. The tapes were sent after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the Republicans would refuse to consider any nomination made by President Obama to replace late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
In addition to “I’m Just a Bill,” songs from “Schoolhouse Rock!” about U.S. civics include “The Campaign Trail,” a song about how elections work, and “The Preamble,” a song about the Constitution. But a more appropriate one for this election might be “I’m Gonna Send Your Vote To College,” a song created in the wake of George W. Bush’s election in 2000 to help kids understand the electoral college vote.
Or perhaps the biggest lesson Sessions’ beloved show might impart to kids is the song that explains how the three branches of government work … by comparing Washington politics to a circus.