Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Let the Whining Begin

You can expect a lot of howls and righteous indignation from the Republicans for this move.

Democrats invoked a rarely used rule today that sent the Senate into a two-hour closed session, infuriating Republicans but producing an agreement for a bipartisan look at whether the Republican leadership was dragging its feet on a promised inquiry into the Bush administration’s use of prewar intelligence on Iraq.

The Senate minority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, caught Republicans by surprise when, with only minutes’ warning, he invoked Rule 21 – a move that Republicans said had not been taken in more than 20 years.


Senator Frist appeared furious over the maneuver, which took place against a backdrop of rising political acrimony here.

“The resort to this, this, this stunt – this political stunt – this scare tactic, is really deeply disappointing,” he told reporters . But “if they want to get in the gutter, I guess that’s what they’ll do.”

It’s about time that the Democrats finally stood up to the Republicans for treating them like a shit for the last five years, and it’s no surprise that the Republicans are acting like the schoolyard bullies who finally get a bloody nose from pushing people around once too often.

It looks like Senator Frist is the one who is going to find his ass in a sling. He’s the Senate Majority Leader. He’s supposed to be in charge. He’s got presidential ambitions…or at least he did.

Senator Frist ended the impromptu news conference by turning to stride back onto the closed Senate floor, saying, “I’ve got to go figure out what we’re going to do.”

The closed session lasted a little over two hours, but, at least to Republican sensibilities, it violated Senate traditions of courtesy and consent, and the high emotions it engendered appeared unlikely to soon be forgotten.

Never before, said Mr. Frist, “have ever I been slapped in the face with such an affront to the leadership of this grand institution.”

After this show of deft leadership, I’d be surprised if Bill Frist can hail a cab.