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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Feingold's Censure Resolution Exposes Senate Democrats

This excerpt from Dana Milbank’s column in Wednesday’s Washington Post does an excellent job of summing up the thoughts of senate democrats toward S. Res. 398, the Feingold resolution to censure President Bush for the warrantless wiretapping program.

Democratic senators, filing in for their weekly caucus lunch yesterday, looked as if they'd seen a ghost.

"I haven't read it," demurred Barack Obama (Ill.).

"I just don't have enough information," protested Ben Nelson (Neb.). "I really can't right now," John Kerry (Mass.) said as he hurried past a knot of reporters -- an excuse that fell apart when Kerry was forced into an awkward wait as Capitol Police stopped an aide at the magnetometer.

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.

So what’s the problem? If the wiretapping program is illegal, as so many Democrats have claimed, then they should put their vote where their mouth has been. They should vote for S. Res. 398. They should vote for censure.

So far, only one democrat has said that he would join Feingold in voting for the resolution if it comes up: Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa.

The problem for democrats is that Feingold has inadvertently exposed the political game his colleagues on the left side of the aisle have been playing. They’ve been blasting the President all over the media for “illegal wiretapping,” but when push comes to shove, they have to admit, as Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said, "Most of us feel at best it's premature. I don't think anyone can say with any certainty at this juncture that what happened is illegal."

Can’t say that it’s illegal? That’s not what we’ve been hearing, is it? So now the truth comes out; senate democrats have once again been wasting everyone’s time and money trying to pin some stupid, trumped-up charge on the President.

This is the party that thinks it’s going to regain control of Congress this year? It might help them if they would spend at least a little bit of their time trying to do something like – oh, I don’t know - govern.

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