Censure sense: skipping Dem caucus
by blogswarm, Thu Mar 16, 2006 at 09:06:06 AM EST
In the big picture, I think the best Democratic Party progress is going on in the states. But we need progress in DC and I think it is increasingly clear our best offense will continue to happen with bold action for the right thing, not consensus incrementalism in the caucus. Remember last November when Leader Reid made many of us proud with his bold move to invoke Rule 21 and force the Senate into closed session. Charles Babington's wrap up in the Post reported:
The final decision to employ the tactic, which infuriated Republicans and exacerbated partisan animosity, was made in the Democratic leader's second-floor Capitol office Monday night, in a small gathering of his lieutenants. Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) considered the strategy to be so sensitive that only four of his colleagues knew what he intended when he entered the Senate chamber at 2:25 p.m. Tuesday, party aides said yesterday. [...]
But even though Reid attended a private lunch for all 44 Democratic senators Tuesday, he did not mention the plan to anyone else before springing his surprise on the Senate floor moments later.
At the time, the story sounded much like this week:
Reid's aides said yesterday that their boss decided on the dramatic, attention-grabbing ploy because he was weary of GOP foot-dragging on a promised inquiry by the Senate intelligence committee into the Bush administration's handling of prewar intelligence on Iraq. "We'd had enough press conferences and requests, public and private," Reid spokesman Jim Manley said. "Now it was time to act." [...]
In an interview yesterday, Schumer said the group decided on the closed session out of frustration over the Bush administration's "stonewalling" and their anger over the White House's failure to apologize after senior aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was indicted Friday on perjury charges connected to claims that prewar intelligence on Iraq was manipulated.
"There's nothing more poisonous to a democracy than the refusal to listen to facts," Schumer said.
Indeed. Was Schumer listening this week:
So nonplused were Democrats that even Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), known for his near-daily news conferences, made history by declaring, "I'm not going to comment." Would he have a comment later? "I dunno," the suddenly shy senator said.
What about Senator Clinton?
Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) brushed past the press pack, shaking her head and waving her hand over her shoulder. When an errant food cart blocked her entrance to the meeting room, she tried to hide from reporters behind the 4-foot-11 Barbara Mikulski (Md.).
"Ask her after lunch," offered Clinton's spokesman, Philippe Reines. But Clinton, with most of her colleagues, fled the lunch out a back door as if escaping a fire.
This was a perfect opportunity for the hawks to show that they fight with strength, instead of just talking about strength. Senator Bayh was in Georgia for a speach where he said that Republicans, "are not unbeatable". The headline was Republicans aren't invincible, Bayh says. And here is what he had to say about censure:
Before he spoke, Bayh told reporters that he does not support efforts by Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., another potential 2008 presidential candidate, to censure Bush for authorizing domestic eavesdropping. Bayh said it's not clear whether the law requiring court approval before surveillance was broken, and he instead favors revisiting and possibly updating the law.
In other words, if Bush did break the law the problem was the law not the lawbreaking. How does this make Bayh look anything but weak?
"It's a threshold issue for us, and it's a threshold issue for America," Bayh said. "People aren't going to trust us with anything else if we first can't convince them to trust us with their lives."
How can people trust Bayh when he seems to think that acting like a wimp and talking strong will convince people that he can protect them?
This came one weak after Pelosi cowered in fear, deciding to sell out a Democrat rather than stand up against the GOP Culture of Corruption. All to protect the "ethics truce" in DC.
Luckily, we are at a time of changing political economies. Political moves don't have to come from the top down. In this new era, the Establishment DC Democrats appear to be an impediment to progress with circumvention being the solution.