Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Why Reid's "Rule 21" Action is Huge for Democrats

Sen. Minority Leader Harry Reid (NV) issued a loud wake-up call to Republicans Tuesday by suddenly and surprisingly invoking the Senate's little known and rarely used Rule 21, which forced lawmakers to close off the Senate chamber to staffers, the public and reporters, the first time in over 25 years that one party had demanded a closed session without forewarning the other party. Ok Harry, you've got our attention.

Reid's maneuvering is significant for several reasons. First, it was in direct response to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s "Phase II" promise back in July 2004 at the conclusion of its first phase, to investigate the administration's possible misuse of intelligence on Iraq's WMD programs in order to present its case for war back in 2002 and 2003. Led by Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS), the committee staved off the Democrats' demands for accountability by agreeing to fully explore Phase 2 right after the '04 election. But that never happened, and the Bushies have gotten a free pass. Until Tuesday. I'm just wild about Harry!

"Finally, after months and months and months of begging, cajoling, writing letters, we're finally going to be able to have phase two of the investigation regarding how the intelligence was used to lead us into the intractable war in Iraq," Reid said about the Democrats' success in forcing Majority Leader Bill Frist (TN) to agree to a six-senator bipartisan task force that will report by Nov. 14 on the committee's progress.

Next, what Reid's move also serves to accomplish is to get the Samuel Alito nomination off the headlines and get the Scooter Libby indictment and the Iraq scandal back instead. For once, we've seemed to trump the Bushies, who always manage to have some diversionary news to announce every time they're at their lowest point. This time, we diverted.

And lastly, Tuesday's maneuver signifies that the Democrats are recapturing their mojo; beginning to feel the confidence necessary to stand up to the administration and to the GOP leadership. How ridiculous was it to see Frist, Rick Santorum, Trent Lott and others whining like babies outside the chamber about how the Dem's action was a "slap" to the GOP and to Frist in particular? You want to talk slaps? How about how the Bush administration has slapped every American with its lying about WMD, its rush to war, the 2000 soldiers it killed, and its treasonous cover-up of the truth?

The outcome of the November 14 report is questionable. Ultimately, there may be little the Democrats can do while handcuffed in a Republican-controlled Senate. But more importantly it's a bold message to the GOP that we'll no longer lie down and let it run the country recklessly and without accountability and public scrutiny.

Now let's hope Harry and & Co. can harness the same mojo and aggressiveness when fighting the Alito nomination. There's way too much at stake for America not to. Give 'em hell, Harry!


Anonymous said...

This is great news, but it makes me wonder if someone on the outside had to push them to do this. I'm not talking the constituents, but some one like Clinton or Gore - some one smart enough to know the underlying rules and how to time using them.

Gouda said...

Boy, was I pumped when I heard that. I read Reid's statements he made right before his move to close the Senate doors was seconded:

Some excerpts:

"What has been the response of this Republican-controlled Congress to the Administration's manipulation of intelligence that led to this protracted war in Iraq? Basically nothing. Did the Republican-controlled Congress carry out its constitutional obligations to conduct oversight? No. Did it support our troops and their families by providing them the answers to many important questions? No. Did it even attempt to force this Administration to answer the most basic questions about its behavior? No.

"[The dark cloud that hangs over this Administration] is further darkened by the Administration's mistakes in prisoner abuse scandal, Hurricane Katrina, and the cronyism and corruption in numerous agencies."

This guy put all of this into the Congressional record!

Gouda said...

... and I agree with anonymous above.

All_I_Can_Stands said...

The trap is sprung here folks. If the Dems pursue this their chances in '06 are going down the toilet. Even a mega-liberal like Andrea Mitchell wouldn't go along with this in her reporting knowing what most level headed people know that:

1) The Dems can't get away with this Bush lied garbage because they said the same exact things about WMD. They cannot get away with the statements they made in 1998 about WMD that are public record. If Bush lied, the Dems of '98 did too and that is an indisputable fact.
2) In 2002 when they voted to authorize, the Senate Dems on the intel committee had the same info Bush had. If he was manipulating intel to go to war and they did not call him on it to stop the war - they have as much or more blood on their hands as him (if there was no manipulation then war was the right thing to do and there is no blood)
3) The number of Dems voting for the authorization

The Dems have a chance to save themselves from going over the cliff here, but I suspect they won't. Looks like you guys are helping them go over by continuing the farce.

Gouda said...

SJ RES 45 was never an authorization "to go to war". It was an authorization "to use all means that [the president] determines to be appropriate, including force, in order to enforce the United Nations Security Council Resolutions."

This was a distinction noted by Democrats who voted for the resolution in 2002. People say "they voted for the war." I never understood that to be the case.

Senator Clinton in her speech to the Senate said she was voting for the resolution "should diplomatic efforts fail". The UN had not culminated their diplomatic efforts when the President began to use force.

Regardless of who knew what about WMD in 2002/2003, it was the commander-in-chief who made the decision to go to war, not Congress.

All_I_Can_Stands said...

Gouda, you are correct. Only congress can declare war and that was not done. It is apparently more fashionable in the last 30 years to simply authorize force. SJ RES 45 authorized force and force was used.

"Regardless of who knew what about WMD in 2002/2003, it was the commander-in-chief who made the decision to go to war, not Congress"

Who made the decision is not in question here. The main point is that this "Bush lied" mantra is a joke when compared to the public record of the Democrat's statements; including those on the Intel committee who were in a position to know. Andrea Mitchell in spite of her liberal track record is not willing to sacrifice her credibility to go along with the pack on this.

Anonymous said...

ANYONE that trusted George Bush from the very beginning of this mess is a fool, Hillary, Kerry and McCain included. It was as plain as the nose on your face what this "Bunch" was up to even at the beginning of the election in 2000. McCain got creamed and all by dirty tactics from Bush Co. did he learn? Nooooooooo. Did Al Gore and the party take this band of thugs seriously? Noooooooo. Did Kerry and Edwards think Bush would pull it off again and use sneaky tactics again (swift boat)? Noooooo.

These people are hell bent on destroying this country and will do ANYTHING to get what they want can't people see this? I guess noooot. Well maybe at least a few of the people do and finally the media is waking up from a 5 year sleep. The fact is that the ONLY good thing to happen from Katrina is the blowing up of the skirt of this administration and exposing them for what they really are and the media had to cover it this time live and on TV.

Have you had enough YET?

Anonymous said...

Don't you love the blind pigheadedess of GOP lovers? You can hit them over the head with a billboard and still they don't get it, because they don't want to.

Was it Mark Twain that said - it's impossible to educate the ignorant.

Look up the definition of ignore and presto chango you've got a GOPer! So what's a ignoramos? ;>)

Anonymous said...

an igoramos sorry

Anonymous said...

whoa too much coffee an ignoramos

See? Liberals keep trying to get it right...

All_I_Can_Stands said...

My statements haven't even been hit over the head with a powder puff yet, much less a billboard.

Anonymous said...

still didn't get the subtle comment