Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Senate Majority Leader (R-TN) Bill Frist had a snit-fit-and-a-half yesterday. The Senate "has been hijacked by the Democratic leadership," he said. “They have no convictions, they have no principles, they have no ideas…for the next year and a half, I can’t trust Senator Reid.” This is the same Bill Frist, MD, who said AIDs could be transmitted by tears and sweat and then had to admit his statement was not true. This is the Bill Frist who claimed Terri Schiavo was not in a vegetative state though he’d never seen her in person; this is the same Bill Frist who is being investigated by the SEC for insider trading. Republicans whining about trust and hijacked leadership is too funny. The occasion was when Democrat Leader Harry Reid (NV) forced the Senate to close down by invoking the little-used Senate Rule No. 21. After the Senate was cleared, the lawmakers spent two hours behind closed doors and agreed to name three members from each party to assess the state of the Intelligence Committee's inquiry into prewar intelligence and report back by Nov. 14. Harry Reid and the Democrats had had enough of the foot-dragging and obstructionist tactics of the Intelligence Committee that is supposedly investigating the Bush administration’s use of intelligence to justify the Iraq war. WaPo reported that Frist could hardly find words to express his anger, but that he finally said, “This is an affront to me personally. It's an affront to our leadership. It's an affront to the United States of America. And it is wrong." However, the NYT reported that, “Senator John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, the senior Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, questioned Mr. Roberts's (Intelligence Committee chairman, R-KS) commitment to the inquiry. He said that whenever the panel closed in on the sensitive question of administration handling of intelligence, ‘then all of a sudden an iron curtain comes down. ‘I have to say in all honesty that I am troubled by what I see as a concerted effort by this administration to use its influence to limit, delay, to frustrate, to deny the Intelligence Committee's oversight work into the intelligence reporting and activities leading up to the invasion of Iraq,’ Mr. Rockefeller said.” For his part, Harry Reid seems unconcerned that Frist won’t be able to trust him anymore. The NYT quoted Senator Reid saying, "If Senator Frist is upset about my following Senate procedures, then I'm sorry he's disappointed with my following Senate procedures.” Reid added he had "zero" regrets about his maneuver and said “the American people had a victory today”. Yes we surely did have a victory. The Republicans control all three branches of government—judicial, legislative and executive—and yet Harry Reid closed down the Senate and forced the whole lot to act like responsible legislators. Hooray!

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