SEN. REID LEADS CHARGING PARTY
The imagery and narrative is provocative. The downtrodden Democrats--defenders of civility and honor--gallop into the Senate and closed it down until the Republicans relent and action is forced on the adminstration's pre-war intelligence.
Of course, that's the romanticized version of what happened today in the Senate. In what Republican Sen. Bill Frist called a "stunt", the Minority Leader, Harry Reid motioned for a rare closed session and was seconded by Sen. Dick Durbin. This clever bit of senatorial procedure was all that was needed to clear the Senate. Sen. Reid used the occasion to force the Republicans hand in continuing and being more forthright in investigating the Bush administration's reasons for war.
Not since Bill Clinton has the Democratic Party had a clear and precise story to tell the American people. Reid's action today was, indeed, a stunt. A simple one that plays on the country's disatisfaction with the path the country is heading, soldiers dying in Iraq, and the universal feeling that the public was bamboozled into a foreign war with scant evidence and poor leadership.
The story seems heroic. A "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington-type" scenario, where the stonewalling and secretiveness of the Bush administration is cleary highlighted.
From today to election day, November 2006, it is now clear that the Democratic Party will vigorously hammer every Republican running for a seat in the House and Senate with every remnant of the CIA leak investigation. Invariably, it is likely to force every Republican candidate to distance themselves in various amounts of severity from the President.
In another sense, this bold and aggressive move by the Democrats is saying loud and clear: We will use the nuclear option with the newest Supreme Court nominee, if provoked. It's no coincidence that this option was taken a day after the President unwisely drew the battle lines by nominating a wingnut conservative in Samuel Alito.
Now, if the Democrats could only come up with some equally bold ideas, too.